Warwick Racecourse general manager Andre Klein has promised New Year’s Eve racegoers a significant improvement in 2019 after admitting they “fell well short of the mark” last month.
The final meeting of the year drew a crowd of close to 7,000 but large queues at the gate, toilets and food and drinks outlets drew criticism from many people who attended, including an editorial in this newspaper.
Warwick were braced for a large turnout, providing a record number of food and drinks concessions as well as introducing extra toilet facilities.
However, Klein admitted more needed to be done to preserve the feelgood factor which has built up around the racecourse.
“Some key areas of our operation were not up to the high standards we have set ourselves, whilst we have been enjoying the resurgence in the popularity of the racecourse,” he said.
“I think we have clearly done a good job over the year, done a good job on marketing but we fell well short of the mark on New Year’s Eve in many ways. It’s annoying because I don’t want to see our hard yards undone.”
Quick to respond, the racecourse have already drawn up a number of improvements to be implemented on December 31.
Among these are the introduction of a new enclosure, a reduction in capacity and additional space for vendors and toilet facilities.
“We’ve taken a good hard look at what we can do next New Year,” said Klein.
“The first outcome is that we have negotiated with the Caravan Club to take back the site earlier than contracted.
“This opens up a new concourse to us. So a new cheap but fun, enclosure, for 1,500 people maximum – marquees, ample bars, food vendors lots, toilets lots, the barn for additional cover, live music, Tote and bookmakers and existing scaffold grandstand.
“Then, a maximum of 5,500 people on the grandstand side with 1,500 tickets reserved for owners and hospitality guests.
“Tickets will then be released 1,000 at a time, with a tiered pricing structure increasing in price with each release.
“If we sell out pre-race day, there will simply be no tickets available at the gate.
“This significant drop in attendance on this side should relieve a lot of pressure and absolutely improve the customer experience, which is essentially all we really want to do.
“Additionally, on the grandstand side we are speaking to Racetech, whose trucks occupy valuable space, to secure permission to put food vendors and a bar in front of their units.
“And, down the far end of the concourse, beyond the marquee, we have altered the space there to enable us to install a bank of toilets.
“Rest assured we are doing our best and that racegoers who come in 2019 will witness a significant improvement.”