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Data and your visitors – selling in advance

Hear from Sarah at Musselburgh Racecourse about their use of data to improve sales.
There were loads of insights. I think to start with we worked on the basic kind of, what’s the sort of age breakdown of our customers? Where are they coming from? What sort of economic background do they come from? what, why do they want to come racing? But it’s now become very much more detailed you know, so we know when they’re interested in booking, we’ve looked at the tie, the pricing of our fixtures and also our pricing strategy has changed, to reflect when people want to buy. So that we can raise the awareness of the fixture well enough in advance, so that we can maximize sales for the event.
So that’s been a big shift in our strategy and we now sell most of our events all year round. But we change the pricing, dependent on when we think that the biggest level of interest will be generated and for our biggest fixtures that can be six months ahead of the event, for our quieter fixtures it can be just a week before. But always incentivizing, kind of buying earlier, which then generates the word of mouth, which then generates a greater level of interest and ticket purchasing closer to the event.
So that’s really been a fantastic journey for us and I think it adds, delivers, great value for the customers that are loyal, because they hear about the sort of the tickets first. But it also means that we can communicate with them for a longer period of time, hopefully they then arrive knowing more about what to expect and can enjoy their day. So I think that just a communication around the pricing strategy, started to show that we needed to increase that awareness, so that people could see the value of signing up to our newsletter, so they would be the first to hear about the best price.
I think that that took time and it took a certain, there was a certain risk for us to change the sort of pricing strategy and have these different steps when the pricing would increase, but that two three years down the line is really reaping rewards. So it’s been worth it. The first price, best price strategy, only works with data, because you need to be able to communicate to your customers who are loyal to you, to give them the opportunity to buy at the best price and that would be impossible if we weren’t able to gather the data in the first place. So that’s been the most valuable result that we’ve had, because obviously commercially the pricing strategy has to work.
We can’t afford to sell all our tickets at the cheapest price, but the growth in the ticket sales is now coming through, as a result of introducing five pounds, ten pounds, sort of discounts. We try not to use the word discount, we try to use first price, best price, to return value to our loyal customers. But ultimately they are able to buy a ticket, sometimes up to fifteen pounds cheaper, by buying it six months in advance, than leaving it to the day. Now, that has a significant benefit, not only does it increase word-of-mouth and therefore the ability to grow the sales in the lead up to the event.
But we’re an outdoor event and obviously weather has a huge part to play in, in the success of our sales. But by encouraging race goers to buy in advance, even if it rains on the day, we’ve kind of got those sales in, you know in before the weather has… can destroy the event, which you know twenty years ago, a wet wet Sunday was you know, all our sales would have been walk-up and so you just you’re constantly trying to safeguard your event, through the use of data and early ticket sales.
Which has is definitely working, weather still plays a part, but we have now shifted the majority of our sales to advanced sales now and the percentage of walk-ups is smaller and smaller every year.

A first source of data in any business is often the customer information you have. In this video you will hear from Musselburgh Racecourse about how they used visitor data to improve their sales by introducing a “first-price best-price” strategy.

While watching the video, focus on what Sarah says about:

  • How visitor data has informed this strategic shift.
  • The risks and rewards of advanced sales.
  • Why data is crucial in the pursuit of a selling in advance strategy.
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