Gulfstream Park Races into the Future with Progress
When it came to its website and online customer experience, Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, FL, a premier South Florida tourist destination, faced an identity crisis. Gulfstream Park had undergone a dramatic transformation from a thoroughbred horse racing facility to a state-of-the-art entertainment complex complete with a casino, a variety of dining and shopping options and a full schedule of special events including concerts, classes and family-oriented events.
“Gulfstream Park was going through a total rebranding,” explained Michael Nyman, Director of Marketing for Gulfstream Park.” We needed to create a website that would be more invigorating, more user friendly and able to readily convey the vast amount of information we need to get to our patrons, from highly-detailed racing data to promotions for upcoming events.”
It quickly became clear its Drupal 6 system could not keep pace with the rate of change at Gulfstream.
“The Drupal-based site had a lot of limitations,” said Alex Barrera, Creative Director and Media Specialist for Gulfstream Park. “It was difficult to manage at the backend and so difficult to use at the front-end that only very technical people could make content changes to the site.
“We needed something fresh and new that could actually take us into the future and we needed to find the right company to help us do that,” he continued.
Gulfstream set out to find the premier website provider in its industry.
“Choosing a provider wasn’t difficult because we restricted our search only to firms who had experience in horse racing,” Nyman said. “We did not have the time to take somebody that wasn’t familiar with our business and get them up to speed.”
Nyman and the Gulfstream search committee quickly honed in on Progress® Sitefinity™ partner Americaneagle.com. “We had seen Americaneagle.com’s work with other race tracks in New York and Tampa and were very impressed with it.”
Americaneagle.com has built many sports and entertainment sites on the Sitefinity platform, including web properties for the Green Bay Packers and New York’s MetLife Stadium. “Knowing that Progress Sitefinity was a tool we had at our disposal for Gulfstream really took the technology part out of the equation,” said Americaneagle.com Sales Director Craig Briars. “With Sitefinity, we could really focus on solving their business needs and challenges.”
The first task, and one at the top of the list for Gulfstream, was combining two disparate sites—one for gaming that covered racing and the casino, and second for the Village at Gulfstream Park, the facility’s shopping and dining complex.
“A significant part of the rebranding campaign was to pull it all together with one logo and one color scheme,” Nyman said.
With that accomplished, Gulfstream was able to turn its focus to transforming the customer experience.
The list of what Gulfstream Park has accomplished is extensive. One standout feature is the ability for marketing to deliver relevant content, helping its various constituents easily get the information they are looking for.
“Racing customers, for example, have easy access to live racing feeds and footage from past races, and those new to either wagering or the casino can download from a library of how-to videos. People looking for general information about the park or special events have that information at their fingertips and can register for events online in seconds,” Barerra said. “Sitefinity allows us to accommodate multiple apps, media and options to customize and innovate as our industry keeps growing.”
To remain viable and competitive, the racing industry is seeking to broaden its demographic. “We are always looking at new innovations to bridge the gap between our older and younger demographics, keeping them engaged with our product as well as provide them content on media they are accustomed to,” Barrera explained. “Whether it’s desktop, mobile or tablet, Sitefinity delivers a responsive experience on the devices of their choice.”
By empowering business users, Sitefinity has enabled Gulfstream to present up-to-date, dynamic content, increasing customer engagement as shown by increases in traffic.
“We’ve been able to train people on Sitefinity from every level and in every department,” Nyman said. “Each department within the company is able to put up, protect and take care of their own area, making sure information is current, updated and correct.”
When it comes to digital marketing, Nyman believes that Gulfstream is now at the leading edge.
“We’ve been very progressive and at the forefront of converting traditional advertising to digital,” he said. “With Sitefinity, we’ve been able to push out our digital programs and have our customers interact with the website, sign up for events, purchase tickets—they can now readily accomplish whatever they are looking to do.”
And when it comes to the numbers, it appears the Gulfstream team is getting it right.
“Our traffic results exceeded expectations; what it showed us was remarkable,” Barerra said. “Since converting to Sitefinity, we’ve had a 110 percent traffic increase in racing, 114 percent on mobile and 797 percent on social. That proved to us we were definitely doing everything right.”