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Don't let your lobby let you down

First impressions matter.

They are why you go to an interview in a suit. They are why you lock in a firm handshake

when you meet a prospective client. They are why you scrub three layers of skin off before a

first date. But for some absurd reason, working on creating a great first impression seems to go straight out the window at a lot of good karting tracks - even some great ones - and it's hurting track owners' reputations and their bottom line.

The conversation about first impressions came up when a guy on a conference call asked

Fastline CEO Simon Heap if he could ask him about the lobbies at karting centres. The two

standard responses to someone asking if they can ask you a question are 'yes' or 'no'!

Simon's answer? "Rubbish!"

"Is it me," said the guy, after being prompted to ask the question anyway, "or are the lobbies

in most karting centres... well, I genuinely was going to say rubbish!"

Don't get us wrong. It isn't that they're dirty or dilapidated or leaky. Customers don't have to

wade to the front desk, holding their nose, after having a couple of precautionary vaccinations. But so many lobbies create such a poor first impression that much of the hard work done behind the scenes and on the track is undone - or worse: people don't even bother to stick around to experience it.

You can have the fastest karts, the best mechanics, the nicest receptionist, the coolest

track, the most powerful sound system and the most authentic race gear. But if people take one step inside your building and the first word that comes out of their mouth is not 'Wow!' or 'Cool!' or 'Awesome!' then you're missing out. And the worst part is, if the first word isn't one of the above (or similar) then more often than not, the first sentence goes something along the lines of:

"Errrr... Is this it?" "Did you check the address?"

"Is it even open? Hellooooo?"

"Why is there nothing and no-one here?"

Now, if you've ever been to Disneyland, you'll know what a proper first impression is. Before

people have even handed in a ticket, got their pass, or met a staff member, they have a smile

on their face. Because the experience starts the second they enter the park grounds. To Disney, the first impression is paramount.

So, we reckon it's about time more karting tracks took their customers' first impressions seriously.

And the great thing is, it's dead simple. Fix your lobby. And when we say fix it, we mean make it SPECTACULAR! With a little extra racing gear, a lick of paint and some creative nous, any

racing centre can provide its customers with an authentic racing atmosphere from the second they walk through the door to the moment they leave. One of the best we saw was Roskilde Racing Center in Denmark (You can check it out yourself in the video below).

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Put a spare kart (or three) in the lobby.

  • Buy two brand new race suits, frame them and wall-mount them.

  • Put a 'podium' of shelves on the wall (in between the race suits) and spray paint some helmets with gold, silver and bronze paint.

  • Set up a 'memories' photo wall and let your customers add to it.

  • Put a TV on the wall and play racing films.

  • Buy a couple of arcade racing machines.

  • Pick up some authentic motorsport memorabilia and display it proudly.

  • Look at your lobby in a clear light and ask yourself if it inspires and excites customers. Does it create a great first impression? If not, maybe it's time to put the pedal to the metal on a fancy new refurb!

  • Man it with a bright bubbly personality to warmly welcome customers.


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