Golf Consulting: Value in Technology
November 29, 2011 6 Comments
While many golf clubs, resorts, facilities, their owners and management teams are embracing technology in its many guises, many golf facilities still operate as if they are in the dark ages.
Those who have embraced the technology, the early adopters, and those who have been convinced have all understood the potential to engage existing customers and attract potential new ones via the web, social networking, data capture, CRM and better marketing. Not just for the pro and his shop but for all areas of their business.
Despite what some of the old school brigade believe, embracing this new technology is not just a short term fad, nor does it necessarily mean buying expensive gadgetry. Technology and its frequent use is widely adopted in the most cutting edge, profitable and best customer facing industries around. What does it make you think?
I am sure that most people, even PGA professionals, have heard of Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn – and probably even have their own pages. I am also sure that they have also heard of iPhone applications, online tee booking, loyalty schemes, CRM and perhaps had even thought about collecting customer data. My guess is that you will also have heard of video analysis but never quite thought about pulling the jigsaw of all of the above together for full commercial (and most importantly your customer’s) benefit.
The question should then be why should I use technology?
Technology, and in particular, the web, ensures that you are always open for business. As “google” is generally the first point of search reference for anything (buying a woollen jumper, searching for a restaurant or looking to play golf) make sure you don’t lose out by not putting your business online.
Don’t be narrow minded – putting your business online means anything from marketing and promoting your retail offering, tee time booking, offering conference and banqueting, or providing an online brochure for events and to attract packages for the corporate or group market.
This simple search function is strengthened by a simple, but effective strategy of social media, blogging and development of relevant, interesting, trusted information – exactly the sort of thing that
Use of technology, also means a simple, efficient and quick means to collect data. Do not overlook the value of this data either. It is valuable, important data that will quickly provide means to add dollars to your bottom line. (Look out for future posts on data and its value here at Fettes Management).
What is generally important (at an absolute minimum) is customer name, customer address and the cheapest means to communicate with them – an email address. And as a golf facility, you probably have a decent starting database in your membership list.
However, this is data in its simplest form – technological solutions can cheaply allow you to add valuable customer information to this – overlaying buying activities to an individual, group, club or section in order to make assumptions for future marketing interests. Information can come from EPOS systems, retail sales systems, online membership, newsletter subscriptions, smart card membership systems, loyalty schemes and use of promotional codes and marketing vouchers.
But steady on – one step at a time!
Technology also makes marketing your golf facility easy and effective. The simple capture of an email allows you a quick, “free” means to communicate with your database – with planned messages that are of interest to the recipient. Again don’t think small – work together – ensuring your bar, food outlet, Club secretary and pro all work together to market appropriately to this database, and equally devise a plan to capture more data each and every day at every customer touch point. As a basic rule – this will stand you in good stead.
Technology ultimately allows you to stay in control. Whatever the blazer brigade tell you about big brother, data theft and the capture of personal information – it is illegal to use it for anything that you do not have permissions for.
Technology does, undoubtedly, allow you to do many things, and as with developments to technology on the golf course, behind the scenes within golf facilities it helps make doing business far quicker, far easier and with greater success than with the old fashion methods. It would be strongly advised that any golf business that has not yet embraced what is out there to help you – to reconsider as otherwise you will fall behind.
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