Richmond Raceway is leading the charge among International Speedway Corporation tracks with a new ticket sales strategy that includes growth and improvements to its ticket office and staff to better serve NASCAR fans. Richmond was also the first ISC track to shift to the new Tickets.com platform, which includes mobile ticketing technology.
One of the key modifications Richmond made was building out its ticket sales staff to have more dedicated support for inbound and outbound sales support.
Previously, inbound calls would go through the Daytona call center, but over the past 18 months ticket sales calls come directly to dedicated account executives in Richmond.
The strategic goal is to offer more personalized, in-market support for consumer ticket sales.
With inbound calls coming to Richmond first, and the debut of the new Tickets.com, along with new ticket sales-focused track website in 2017, Richmond’s account executives are establishing a more personal relationship with customers.
“I think the main reason we did this was to get back to 15-20 years ago where you were talking to a group at Richmond, a group that knew about the track and its ins and outs,” said James Hall, senior director of ticketing sales and consumer marketing. “When people are buying tickets, they want recommendations. What better way to do that than to get info from someone who works at the track? Our RICHMOND NATION season ticket holders now have a personal ticket rep assigned to them, too.”
Richmond’s ticket sales account executives do not just reach out to consumers when it is close to race time or time for renewals for Richmond’s NASCAR race weekends. They also reach out every 60 days to stay in contact.
The staff sends handwritten notes to grow the personal touch and conducts a “thank you” campaign following the NASCAR season.
The campaign is not about selling, it is about showing gratitude to fans and asking for their feedback to continue to grow the fan experience. These efforts add more dimension to an already growing personal relationship.
“Our team knows the track, which truly helps make it a personal experience. Fans know what they’re getting and have a familiarity with our property before the race weekend(s),” said Hall. “We get them what they want, whether it’s a recommendation on the FanGrounds or a view of pit road.
In an effort to help its ticketing department from both a sales and training standpoint, Richmond has taken advantage of the new ticketing system, ProVenue via a partnership with Tickets.com, and also the ISC Sales Academy.
Tom Canello, managing director of customer engagement services for ISC, has been instrumental in rolling out the new system, which will eventually be implemented at all ISC tracks.
ProVenue is fan-friendly and allows ticket holders to use digital tickets; it also streamlines the renewal process. The ISC Sales Academy allows individuals to receive proper training before heading to an ISC track to begin a career in ticket sales.
Regarding Tickets.com and ProVenue, Canello stated, “We put a focus on analytical modeling that would make our outbound strategies more efficient. We wanted to implement an enterprise model knowing that some of our fans go to different tracks on a yearly basis.”
One of the best things about the ISC Sales Academy, according to Canello, is that it allows ticket agents to receive training on how to sell tickets and gain familiarity with the ISC properties before graduating to a full-time position.
“James and I came up with the idea of a sales academy in 2017,” said Canello. “Some of the issues that the tracks were having was finding and training personnel. The sales academy helps ensure that the tracks will be hiring a person ready for the job. We took some of the burden of finding people off the shoulders of the tracks. We brought in people with Minor League Baseball and NBA experience to help train sales associates so that they’re ready from day one at the track.”
Richmond has gotten great feedback about its new ticketing efforts from race fans, but also the NASCAR community. Richmond president Dennis Bickmeier believes the track has a better opportunity to control its own destiny regarding ticket sales.
“When we restructured, we really focused on three main ticketing areas: Outbound sales, group sales and a personalized customer service model,” Bickmeier said. “We know our facility better than anybody. We can answer questions, troubleshoot issues, and do whatever it takes to make the fans experience at Richmond fantastic. I like the opportunity to control our own destiny.”
An additional benefit that Bickmeier sees is having the ticket agents located just inside the front doors of Richmond’s administration offices. Hearing the phones ring and tickets being sold, according to the track president, is energizing.
“When the phones are ringing off the hook, positive energy filters its way through the office,” he said. “Our ticket sales account executives are on the frontline. It’s been fun to have the energy permeate through the hallways with the improved physical space built for the ticket sales team.”
Leave it to Hall to sum up the new foundation of Richmond’s ticket sales strategy best.
“NASCAR is a community. We get to call back fans personally after the race and continue our relationship with them to make their Richmond Raceway experience one they will not forget. We want them to continue coming back and marking our race weekends as a regular holiday on their calendar.”