As the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo opens, GF Strategies’ tracking system continues to be in place for 23rd year at the Show.
It began in 1996 when Winning Ticket Strategies, now known as GF Strategies, was engaged to bring to one of the major events in North America a sales tracking system. The system that was first implemented by the firm at the Oregon State Fair in Salem, Oregon, in 1992 would have its biggest test ever.
“Until we worked with the Houston Livestock Show we were a regional consulting firm,” said company President Greg Flakus. The show would see Flakus work with an all-volunteer group of tape reviewers that were part of the first team at the Show to track all sales as garner a percentage of gross sales from all food and beverage vendors. Prior to that time the show had charged vendors a flat fee for their space.
The show enjoyed major increases in sales after putting in place the sales tracking system.
“I have two very good memories from our first year at the show,” Flakus said. “The first was the group of volunteers who came every day committed to our job. This team is still known today as the Z team. And, of course, the major increase in show revenue from vendors under the new system.”
Another memory that Flakus recalls is being asked by one of the team members to join him at the Astrodome for the George Strait concert. “I will always remember George finishing his show and mounting a horse and riding around the floor of the Astrodome high-fiving front row patrons.”
“While all of these events continue to use our tracking system, our current business has moved to consulting on festival startups such as the Spokane Brewers Festival (now in in its fourth year) and advising events on how to increase their per capita spending at the festivals,” Flakus said.
GF Strategies would go on to bring the tracking system to 53 Fairs in 20 states including seven of the largest fairs by attendance in North America.