The technology landscape for any type of business can be overwhelming. Finding the right solutions can feel like a never-ending task or one that you make concessions and sometimes settle for less than you had hoped for just to get a solution in place. There is so much as a business operator that you need to solve, ranging from a Point of Sale system, booking engine and tee sheet, website, mobile app, email marketing, social media, graphic design software, a system to manage your customer database, and, ideally, some platform to help you analyze the performance of everything. It is daunting, to say the least.
“Speaking transparently from a tech company leadership viewpoint, this is daunting to us as well,” according to Rob Hoffman, Vice President of Gallus Golf. “We see golf course leaders who are dealing with the stress of navigating these decisions daily, and it’s not easy. If there is any singular recommendation I can make, it would be to find companies to work with that genuinely want to PARTNER with you.”
Hoffman provided a list of key characteristics to seek out in finding these “Partners”. It is important to ask questions like these when interviewing a new tech partner:
NOT a “One-Stop-Shop” - While you may be able to find a partner who is able to offer you a suite of services that seems to cover all of the bases, you should take time to make certain their concentration revolves only around their core competency. When a technology company attempts to build everything, pieces suffer. We highly recommend working with companies that have an “Open” system, meaning they are partnered/integrated with other best in class solutions to better serve you. “Closed” systems that attempt to deliver all-in-one solutions can easily have their resources spread very thin, very quickly. The unfortunate result is often extremely slow implementation, technology segments that fall behind, and poor service across the entire platform.
“When a technology company in the golf industry is claiming to have built it all for you themselves - BEWARE!” Hoffman warns, “Tech today changes faster than the speed of life, and companies of all shapes and sizes put vast amounts of effort keeping their features top-notch. Once developed, simply maintaining those pieces to remain relevant with changing landscapes is a full-time proposition in itself.”
He continues, “It is key to work with companies that concentrate on their core strengths. If they offer you more, it is by including technologies from other best-in-class providers they have partnered with. Otherwise, the secondary services they are providing to you are a lock to be second rate, or worse, solutions that do not get enough of their support and attention.”
“121 Marketing’s recent release of CampaignPilot is a prime example. They have integrated technologies that are best-in-class (including Gallus Golf, a graphic design platform, social media posting to all of the top social media platforms, posting to the course website, and email campaigns) within a unified dashboard of their own to provide a full set of features for their clients. It’s a brilliant solution.” says Hoffman.
Revenue Growth - Does this piece of technology being pitched to you have elements that will be new to your business and can immediately begin to incrementally grow your revenue? It is not always your job to tell the technology company what you need. As a true partner, they need to provide you specific solutions that direct new growth verticals within your current business model. Simply solving a problem or meeting an immediate need is not a complete answer, but additionally providing you solutions you may not be asking for separates the true tech partners from the vendors of the world.
When asked about this, Hoffman states, “When shopping for technology for their course, most look for a solution to cover a portion of their operations. While managing operations is important, technology should operate in a manner to drive behavior in your clients that increases revenue. If the tech company you are talking with has not incorporated such, then they are not a true partner, but simply a vendor.”
“This can be as simple as Loyalty/Rewards programs or as complex as highly targeted methods to take the data you have and reach out directly to individuals, prompting them to do more business with you.” Hoffman explains, “It can also include integrations that increase the ease with which your customer communicates and purchases from you, even making their phones terminals for your POS systems. The more technology can directly connect you to your clients in a simplified way, the more loyal they will become to your business. You don’t have to look beyond Amazon as a shining example of this - just ask Sears or Toys ‘R Us how well it worked for them to be one-stop-shops that did not evolve.”
The recent integration between Club Prophet Systems (CPS) and Gallus Golf perfectly exemplifies this. It has allowed courses that utilize the CPS services to offer mobile tee time check-in through the course’s mobile app provided by Gallus. It is the first solution of its kind within the golf world but matches the type of mobile check-in offered in the hospitality world by companies like Marriott and Omni. This technology grants golf courses the ability to cater to their customers in a similar fashion to technologies they already interact with on a daily basis. With people becoming increasingly accustomed to interacting with brands through different forms of technology, those that fail to make the necessary improvements will simply be left in the dust. For consumers, If something cannot be accomplished from their phone, they will move on to the next business that does offer that capability.
“The bottom line for me, if I were at the helm of a golf course, would be to ask myself if the proposed technology company truly feels like a partner and whether their success depends on my success.” Hoffman concludes, “A true partner will provide pathways to success and growth for your business, not just answer an immediate need.”
CampaignPilot from 121 Marketing: Brought to you by the team at 121 Marketing, CampaignPilot is a full-service marketing platform that combines the most common and successful marketing strategies in a single, easy to use, online application. Courses can ideate, create and launch a complete marketing campaign and automatically post it to Facebook, Twitter, their Website, Email, App and more. All in a matter of minutes.
Courses can sign up for free at www.campaignpilot.com.
Club Prophet Systems is a trusted provider of fully integrated golf course software and serves more than 1,700 facilities, in 16 countries, and in nine languages. CPS customers can be found across the golf industry's broad spectrum of destinations, large and small, public courses and private golf clubs, including operators running multiple courses and management companies.