Chester Racecourse has been named one of the top 10 racecourses for raceday experience in England and Wales.
The accolade for the world’s oldest operating racecourse comes courtesy of The Racecourse Association’s (RCA) Quality Assured Racecourse Scheme (QARS), which gives every racecourse the opportunity to have its raceday experience assessed by a trained assessor from VisitEngland Assessment Services (for England and Wales), with racecourses in Scotland assessed by VisitScotland.
The assessments analyse all guest touchpoints including pre-raceday information, the ticket buying process, the on-course experience and post-raceday communications.
Chester was one of six racecourses to retain a place in the top 10 from 2022, highlighting its consistent commitment to providing racegoers with the highest quality raceday experience.
2023 saw the average score achieved by racecourses rise 5% to 81%, and an increase in the award of RCA Excellence Accolades, which are bolt-on awards for specific areas of exceptional quality. Chester received an RCA Excellence Accolade in the Taste of Racecourses: Bar category.
Steve Davies, Chief Operating Officer at Chester Racecourse, said:
“We strive to positively impact people’s lives through our passion for horseracing, events and hospitality and have continually invested in the overall guest experience.
“The results of this assessment are testament to that, as well as the hard work and dedication of colleagues, who are committed to delivering memorable and immersive raceday experiences for every guest who visits Chester Racecourse.
“As one of the best days out in the North West, we received some amazing feedback throughout 2023 and can’t wait to excel further when welcoming guests back for all our exciting, themed racedays again this year.”
Paul Swain, RCA Head of Raceday Experience & Communications, said:
“We are delighted to share results of this long-standing scheme to recognise exceptional customer experiences. Working alongside globally recognised assessors of quality VisitEngland Assessment Services and VisitScotland allows racecourses to receive a genuine barometer of their raceday experience, an area of vital importance as we collaborate to grow the sport.
“The increase in overall scores plus the additional Excellence Accolades awarded are testament to the investment put into raceday experience by racecourses, and the RCA will continue to work alongside its members to maintain this positive trend.”
Simon Numphud FIH, Managing Director, AA Media Limited, commented:
“The professional assessments undertaken by VisitEngland Assessment Services once again demonstrated a high level of consistency in the raceday experience. It reflects the hard work of teams across racecourses and the focus they place on customer experience and delivering a fantastic day out. It was a pleasure to see so many of these courses recognised at the annual showcase event at Aintree back in November and our congratulations go to the top ten courses.”
VisitEngland Assessment Services, responsible for all assessments in England and Wales, confirmed the top 10 racecourses for raceday experience in 2023 were (in alphabetical order):
Newmarket (Rowley Mile)*
*Newmarket (Rowley Mile) and Newmarket (July Course) are assessed on alternate years, as a result the July Course was not assessed in 2023.
Meanwhile, in Scotland, where racecourses were assessed by VisitScotland, Musselburgh Racecourse, operated by Chester Race Company, retained its five-star visitor attraction rating, increasing its impressive score year-on-year.