5 Reasons to Hire a Golf Marketing Consultant
The golf course game is not what it used to be in the United States. An oversupply of golf courses coupled with increasing operational costs has contributed to a steady decline in the number of golf courses in operation. Add to that the awesome amount of choice available to consumers as well as the shifting lifestyle characteristics and buying patterns of players. All of these factors have contributed to a shift in the golf game.
Land is not as cheap as it used to be. Courses are being closed or re-zoned for residential and commercial real estate and parkland. Owners and operators have seen declining rounds and have responded with lower green fees. This has created a fight to the bottom.
It’s survival of the fittest for the golf course industry. Some owners and operators are turning to golf marketing consultants to help improve their bottom line. This specialized type of marketing consultant has experience helping golf course owners and operators improve their golf course brand so that they can attract new golfers while retaining existing golfers (or members) they currently have.
An experienced golf marketing consultant will offer realistic solutions designed to improve performance. And because no two golf courses are the same, the strategy the consultant offers will be tailored to fit the golf course’s unique needs.
Here are top reasons to hire a golf marketing consultant:
1. Declining rounds and lowering green fees
Golf club owner and operators often fall into the trap of discounting their rounds of golf in order to increase rounds. While discounting may help book a few extra rounds at first, the perception of the quality of your course can suffer in the long term. If you are discounting through promotional offers, then you’ll probably notice an uptick of bookings during promotional periods while a decline during non-promotional periods. This becomes a vicious cycle where your business is dependent upon discounting. A marketing consultant can get you out of this rut. They can help you establish a quality brand that commands a higher price. If you are seeing declining rounds and are lowering your green fees in response, then it might a good time to contact the guidance of a marketing consultant.
2. Your golf patrons all look the same
Sure, golfers dress the part and have a common swagger. However, if you take a close look at your patrons, and only see one age group, this could be a sign that your days are numbered. If you want your property to gain market share and grow into the future – you’ll need to target a younger demographic. Millennials and Gen-Xers are the future of golf. If you are struggling to attract this types of patron, it’s probably time to enlist the help of a marketing consultant. A consultant can help you uncover the buying patterns and guest expectations of this unique demographic. They also know how to attract this type of clientele through marketing campaigns which are designed to do just that.
3. Your reputation needs improvement
In golf the experience is everything. When golf courses create negative experiences through neglected greens and poor customer service, reputation is lost. Creating awesome golf experiences with golfers is critical. If you are unable to provide good experiences because you are not properly staffed or your maintenance systems are poor, then no marketing will ever be able to save you. An experienced golf marketing consultant will be honest in their assessment of your golf course. If the breakdown exists in your experience, then they will give you their business card and ask for you to call them once it is fixed. However, once the operational side of your golf course is fixed, bringing on a consultant is critical to boosting your reputation. An experienced consultant will bring in a custom system designed to improve your reputation.
4. Competition is stiff
In golf, the competitive landscape is always shifting. Competing golf courses will employ many different tactics to attract golfers from around the region. Some of those golfers will be your regulars.
When golf courses become complacent they run the risk of losing golfers to competitors. A golf marketing consultant will dedicate time to competitive analysis to look at internal factors (strengths and weaknesses) and external factors (opportunities and threats) that make up your marketplace. The consultant will then formulate a strategy designed to help you retain existing clientele while building channels to attract new players for your golf course.
5. You need an outsider perspective
Top performing golf courses and clubs are constantly assessing themselves through honest feedback. They do this to improve. You have to know where your weaknesses are before you can improve your golf game. An experienced marketing consultant can give you much needed outsider perspective helping you identify areas of your golf course where improvement is needed. They can help identify who your customers are and how to better communicate with them with effective marketing campaigns. Improvement is reason enough to contact a marketing consultant. Even if your golf course is number one in your region, you’ll need to maintain that position through regular consultation with outsider perspective and talent.
Levon Guiragossian is principal marketing consultant and founder of The Holy Grail of Marketing, a consulting firm specializing in marketing golf courses and private clubs in pursuit of more players and members.