Hong Kong Jockey Club was honoured with the “In-store Customer Experience of the Year - Hong Kong Award” at the Retail Asia Awards 2023

The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC)’s Retail network, being the Off-Course Betting Branches (OCBBs), played a critical role in serving its racing fans and entertaining Hong Kong people with the thrill and excitement of racing as a sports event. 

To cope with the changing customer needs for retail experiences, since 2020 HKJC started the transformation journey to reformat its physical retail branches into Experience Shops, appealing to a wider audience for sportainment needs coupled with a holistic social and lifestyle experience.

The Club’s first Off-Course Betting Branch (OCBB) was opened in 1974 to serve mass customers’ wagering demand through physical channels. For almost 50 years of establishment, OCBBs are deep-rooted in an image of mature customers for a mere transactional purpose. Such an image especially in the digitised world, is unable to appeal to and engage with the new generation of customers. 

Starting in 2020, the Club launched five Experience Shops, each with its own unique designs and innovative elements to reposition its retail branches, focus on customer experience, and offer customer-centric designs and events that can fully immerse customers in the enjoyment of the sports events. Space redesign includes an events/ activities zone, live-broadcasting theatre, communal zone with board games, gaming hub with an opportunity to understand the training life of a jockey - through practising the riding skills on the horse riding simulator, and the chill-out area with a variety of magazines. Dine-Watch-Play is an important concept in Experience Shops; thus, restaurants with diverse catering options, customised party room packages with complete elements of good food, games and watching exciting events is a unique option for friends’ gatherings. 

With the new format of Experience Shops, KOLs and Racing Specialists are now able to host a wide range of events and parties at retail shops. Since opening, there were 250 lifestyle events held in these Experience Shops, including KOL talk shows and fans parties, live broadcasting events, lifestyle DIY workshops with exclusive themes, and other social events, utilising the shop’s space and facilities as a gathering hub. Many customers also booked these party rooms for their own social and gathering events, and the Experience Shops have become a popular social hub for customers to gather and enjoy.

During the 2022 FIFA World Cup Tournament, customers were able to enjoy live broadcasted matches in Experience Shops all the way to the final match. Football fans flocked to these Experience Shops, enjoying the live broadcasted matches on big TV walls with a special menu of food and drinks.  There were KOL-hosted parties where they could interact, cheer for their favourite teams, and exercise a good warm-up with the Football Simulator games in-branch. 

During the World Cup period, over a thousand football fans have joined the live broadcasted matches and football parties in-branch, while the online streaming of these events has yielded over 10,000 online hit rates. These shops operated until 2 am during the final match of the World Cup for football fans to gather and support their favourite teams. There were 19 Party Room reservations and over 1,600 seat bookings during the World Cup campaign. 

To promote the long-time loved Hong Kong Derby and "4-Year-Old Classic Series" horse racing campaign during January to March, the Experience Shops launched a series of initiatives with the aim to provide more information to customers whilst cultivating new rising stars. The "Derby Treasure Hunt" provided fun facts and racing knowledge to customers, whilst games and competitions with KOLs on horse riding simulators allow customer participation on real racing journey tracks.

Good food is an integral part of the whole customer experience enhancement. The Experience Shops with a diversity of F&B elements, also initiated the Catering Program to further promote in-branch restaurants during the major race series and encourage customer revisits. This has been proven to be an appealing format to attract the young adult generations to come and enjoy a Dine-Watch-Play experience.

Apart from Experience Shops, there were also initiatives launched in transaction branches to further enhance the experience for mass customers. TV Enhancement Project launched in over 50 transaction shops since September 2022 has improved the viewing experience with new and better Smart TVs. 

The transaction branches have also created an additional 12 High-Value Zones with almost two hundred seats available, to serve priority and high-value customers in a private and comfortable environment. There were complimentary amenities and facilities like drinks, light refreshments, magazines and newspapers, mobile chargers and iPads on loan to customers to create an exclusive experience for VIP customers in the retail branches.

All-in-all, after 2 years of undertaking the Retail Transformation Journey, successful results are proofing that the Experience Shops with a more effective use of space, allow the opportunity for a wider audience to enjoy the sports and are able to provide better information to customers through a variety of experiences. There were exceptional results regarding accounts opening in Experience Shops, where the quality of such accounts is also shining. The improvement of retail experience in both Experience and transaction shops yields rising customer participation at the Club’s retail channel, encouraging direct customer feedback.

Under the Retail Transformation objective to provide a better customer experience at HKJC’s Retail networks and to serve a wider customer segment, HKJC will continue to strengthen its customer-centric approach and maintain an innovative spirit by listening to the voice of the customers, and stay close to customer needs to offer a delightful experience, hopefully, to maintain racing sports as an all-time-love of Hong Kong people and continue to carry its heritage for the years to go, thus persist to contribute to the welfare and development of the Hong Kong society. 


The Retail Asia Awards is presented by Retail Asia Magazine. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2024 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's exceptional products or initiatives in the retail industry, please contact Jane Patiag at [email protected].

Follow the link for more news on

Join Retail Asia community
Since you're here...

...there are many ways you can work with us to advertise your company and connect to your customers. Our team can help you dight and create an advertising campaign, in print and digital, on this website and in print magazine.

We can also organize a real life or digital event for you and find thought leader speakers as well as industry leaders, who could be your potential partners, to join the event. We also run some awards programmes which give you an opportunity to be recognized for your achievements during the year and you can join this as a participant or a sponsor.

Let us help you drive your business forward with a good partnership!