THE level of professionalism of the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) in terms of the way they go about managing all aspects of racing under their jurisdiction is staggering.
The club's attention to detail ensures the effective delivery of their product in a form which at once both satisfies and strengthens its position on a daily basis, yet the club never stops working on the next required improvement which they identify by continually monitoring and researching racegoers needs.
My point is, by almost any point of reference, the HKJC can serve as a role model for other racing jurisdictions not travelling as well and who are prepared to learn to do better.
Yes I know the "we haven't got the money" chorus will now come in on cue when I suggest that Racing Queensland should be one to take up that challenge, but I always cringe when I hear that because I am certain a huge step forward can be made by improving aspects of racing administration that do not need a "money-fix".
When HKJC Director Richard Cheung delivered a presentation detailing HKJC's customer engagement at the recent Asian Racing Conference, he stated that in 2009/10, 75% percent of the club's customers were aged over 50 and that, at that time, the club had a perception challenge to overcome as the younger generation considered racing to be complicated.
Cheung stated the HKJC has since followed a clear strategy of customer segmentation based on in-depth customer analytics of the club's current and potential customers.
"Our strategy starts with segmentation," said Cheung, who emphasised those segments are importantly coupled with segment-specific levers to connect with customers.
"We identified four levers: an ambient racecourse; digital connection; big-data innovation; and shaping racing as popular culture, with the result so far being growth in turnover season on season.
"The HKJC had engaged in a clear aim to promote racing as a lifestyle with its innovations targeted at each specific segment."
Did you notice how many times the word "customers" was used? That is a key word as the "customer's value" to racing is paramount!
The HKJC broke customers into segments and initiated segment-specific levers to "connect with customers" … a key phrase if ever there was one.
So the HKJC has already done most of the research. Even allowing for differences, the four segment strategy identified and implemented by the HKJC will have immense add-on value if correctly adapted to the local situation … and yes, at the end of the day money will have to be spent but that could then possibly be done in a confident risk analysis setting.
There is obviously a lot more involved but, instead of trying to muddle our way through under acknowledged, extremely difficult conditions, why not take a model that works?
What have we got to lose?
*Graham Potter is the Managing Editor of the popular website horseracingonly.com.au