Located in the parklands of Scone Palace in Perthshire, Perth Racecourse is known primarily as Scotland’s most northerly racecourse. However, it is also an events venue hosting in excess of 120 events each year from large conferences and weddings to smaller meetings and team building activities. The venue began working with Dunedin IT in late 2016 to upgrade its connectivity and ticketing facilities; Dunedin IT has since also taken over the venue’s IT contract.
Perth Racecourse was regularly seeing crowds of up to 10,000 on race days and, in winter 2016, the team recognised that it needed to upgrade its ticketing facilities. At the time, the ticketing system was convoluted and costing close to £20,000 in materials and postage each year: pre-booked tickets were printed and mailed out to guests in the form of badges to wear. They also had to staff and manage on-site kiosks for day-of ticket purchases and printing at an additional expense.
The badge system meant ticket “collectors” were visually checking hard copies of tickets which risked people without tickets entering as part of a larger crowd. The venue also struggled to know exactly how many people were in each enclosure at a given time, which brought safety and security issues.
Additionally, the rural location of the racecourse with no Wi-Fi connection meant visitors to Perth Racecourse struggled to connect to the internet. The limited connection that was available was very slow, with an average speed of 4MB/s. This negatively impacted on the visitor experience, something the venue sought to change.
Perth Racecourse and Dunedin IT worked together to identify the goals of the new ticketing operations, primarily to improve venue safety and reduce the cost of producing the tickets. The venue also wanted to improve the overall visitor experience by introducing free public Wi-Fi.
Dunedin IT helped the venue identify what it needed, and then developed and installed a full site fibre network to key entrance gates to support the scanning of e-tickets. This in turn removed all printing and postal costs, as well as staff time required to print and mail the badges.
The new system also allowed the venue to sell to the permitted capacity of each enclosure and know exactly how many people were in an enclosure at any time. This improved security and safety. The venue also used this insight to better manage facilities including knowing how many toilets and food stands to open in each location, which in turn improved the overall visitor experience.
The free public Wi-Fi installed by Dunedin IT was designed to reach speeds of 100MB/s, a more than 2,000% increase from the previous connection speed, providing an improved experience for visitors. Dunedin IT also upgraded Wi-Fi at additional onsite buildings including The Lodge Hotel and the stables, and installed a fibre connection to the Perth Races office building to improve business productivity. In addition, a Dunedin IT engineer is always onsite on race days to ensure the technology runs smoothly and any issues are immediately addressed.