Howard Watson, Foulridge Social Club
Howard Watson Club Secretary, Foulridge Social Club, Colne, Lancashire answers questions on how his club managed to increase turnover by 125% during The Cheltenham Festival this year.
What do you do to attract new members/customers?
We e-mail all our 250 existing members encouraging them to invite their friends, we distribute mail shots to the village every two months to encourage new members to sign up. We get quite a lot of new customers on the back of our marketing activity to the local villages in which we list forthcoming attractions, promotions and events, like the big race meetings. Our racing fans are our bread and butter so we ensure we look after them by showing all the races they want to watch. On a Saturday afternoon in particular, we can get 20-30 people all in to watch the horses.
How does horse racing and Racing UK add to the club?
Horse racing and Racing UK has a huge impact on our business, which is why we have been subscribers for three years. Racing is a big pull for customers at both the big meetings bringing in a large crowd and midweek evening meetings with Kempton racing. I think it is important to be consistent so our members know we are going to be showing what they want, when they want it.
What advice would you give to a club looking to actively promote horse racing?
It is important that your members know that you are going to be screening what they want to see and they will keep coming back. For big meetings we also put on complimentary pies and sandwiches and sell reasonably priced beer. This ensures enthusiasm is not lost and the members feel like they are getting something back from their membership.
What are your five top tips Howard for boosting business?
1. Actively seek out new members; it is important to look after your locals, that is your bread a butter, but to grow you have to be proactive in finding new custom so use the Racing UK promotional material;
2. Generate enthusiasm for your members. If you subscribe to Racing UK you have always got the interest from members to come to the club, enjoy a reasonably priced pint whilst watching some good racing;
3. Be consistent year in year out. Our Cheltenham success didn't happen over night, you have to be dependable and have the facility for a number of years and then you can reap the dividends;
4. Keep beer at a reasonable price and offer complementary food to generate a friendly atmosphere;
5. Promotions - we are supported by our breweries Carlsberg and Thwaites who provide us with great offers with which we can entice members in.
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