A digital experience to stop the nation
How do you add value to the digital space of Australia’s biggest race?
Victoria Racing Club is the largest member-based horse racing club in the world, and is responsible for the delivery of one of the most iconic weeks in Melbourne’s event calendar, The Spring Racing Carnival. Spanning eight days, the event culminates in the “race that stops the nation” – the Melbourne Cup.
Calico’s experience working with large scale, ticketed cultural events meant we had a wealth of experience to draw upon when tackling the unique challenges presented by the Victoria Racing Club.
Out of the starting gate
Building off the work Calico had undertaken to deliver cupweek2020.com.au the year prior, the VRC continued its strategic pathway towards implementing standalone infrastructure and a revised positioning.
Their goal was to move away from centring the location of “Flemington”, elevating the brand positioning of The Club itself to become the leading element of the brand.
We wanted to leverage the power of Umbraco and Microsoft Azure to deliver a powerful technical architecture, while improving CMS usability and component use across multiple sites.
Going the distance
We hit the ground running, with site architecture established and tested early. A rapid approach to design and prototyping was adopted, to establish visual examples for signoff at a brand level.
Once the site architecture and territory were clear, establishing the look and feel for navigation and key site componentry was prioritised.
We implemented a component-based build, future-proofing the site to allow for greater flexibility in content creation and management.
Once key components and their respective site templates were developed, we then used paper-prototype testing on-site to identify usability problems and finalise template structure and flow.
To add greater value to the user’s experience, we implemented several useful and niche assets, implementing a custom API integration with two different weather and wind data providers.
We also integrated with Racing Victoria’s API to poll race day information, like race acceptance and jockey silk data.
An audio feed from TuneIn was added as an approved radio feed to bring the racing experience to life.
On the homestretch
Due to the flexibility of Umbraco, throughout the build we were able to reuse components that were built for cupweek2020.com.au the year before, while applying modified frontend styles to freshen up the site.
This ensured content management required only minimal additional training, assisting with a smooth transition to the newest iteration of the site.
With a refreshed site and updated functionality, the end-game was to drive traffic to the site, with this data to be the key metric to measure our success.
From October 1st to November 8th 2021, the improved VRC site attracted 250,000 unique visitors and over 1.1 million page views.
At the core of our success was the Calico trifecta – being responsive, committed and empathetic to the client’s needs. Using our people-powered approach to development, we delivered a digital solution worthy of any trophy.
Visit the Victoria Racing Club site now to discover the full experience Calico developed.