Raceway Park is getting back to the basics, and so far the report card is straight A’s.
Business at the Toledo, Ohio racetrack is up double digits in both attendance (21 percent) and handle (25 percent) since the track's opening day on April 12, bucking a trend that has seen other Ohio tracks struggling with declining business.
While the centerpiece of business at Raceway Park, in Toledo, remains harness racing, track management has enhanced the experience.
"We want to make the experience of coming out to the park fun again," says John McNamara, Director of Marketing and Guest Services. This starts with providing exceptional customer service from the moment our guests enter the parking lot, adding as much value as we can to our guests' dollar and giving them a pleasant environment to relax and have fun."
The value-based theme can be seen in every area of Raceway Park. Sundays are "Dollar Days" with admission, programs, hot dogs and draft beers available for just $1. The first Friday of every month is "Free Stuff Fridays" with free admission and a free gift for all guests. The track's Crazy Horse Clubhouse offers all you can eat buffets priced at $8.95 to $12.95 for themes including prime rib and seafood, comfort food, Italian, Mexican and Barbecue.
Starting Memorial Day, Raceway Park will offer live concerts and cookouts on summer Saturdays in their "Party at The Park" with a trackside view.
"We know all Ohio racetracks face fierce competition for the public's leisure time and discretionary dollars," says Raceway Park's General Manager, Bill McLaughlin. "There are many options out there, but we want to make sure Raceway Park offers the best possible value for the dollar."
McLaughlin says the recent off season was busy with education for staff, website overhaul and improvements to the track's physical plant.
"Over the last several months, we've made a major effort to educate all our staff in how to provide the best possible service to our customers," he says. "That is the centerpiece of everything we do. As a Penn National Gaming property, we've benefited from the customized training program they've developed specifically for racetracks.
“We even have a ‘secret shopper’ program to find out where we need to improve. We look at every detail through our guests' eyes. For instance, we re-striped the parking lot in the off season. Seems like a small detail, but it helps make a good first impression. We're recognizing our best customers this year for the first time, also, through our Players Club, which offers perks like free programs, concession items, gift cards, wagering vouchers. Our guests seem to appreciate the changes we've made and we are energized by their response."
Raceway Park will conduct live racing on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in May. Post time is 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; 6 p.m. on Sundays.