Golf Marketing Strategy

Prepare Your Mobile Marketing Strategy For The 2019 Season

How many times have you gone into the golf season with intentions of preparing your marketing strategy and then been hit with a tidal wave of unforeseen issues and non-stop work days, shoving those marketing tasks down on the priority list?

We understand you are managing numerous operations at your facility - including tee time reservations, F&B operations, retail, among other sales verticals. In this week’s blog, we provide a checklist of app items to cross off to make your 2019 season and marketing efforts smooth!

1) Track Your Mobile Tee Time Reservations

Are you curious what percentage of your tee times are made via your club app?

Here’s how you can find that out! All you need to do is contact your Tee Sheet Provider and request they provide you with a separate sales channel in your tee sheet. Once you have that unique url, you can paste it into the backend of your app under “booking options” and watch the sales roll in. You will be able to view booked revenue via the app, in the dashboard of your tee sheet provider. If promoting tee times on multiple online channels (website, social media platforms, etc.) we suggest using different booking URLs for each to track the performance of our marketing efforts.  


2) Targeted Messaging

New this 2019 season is the ability to send targeted messages and offers to specific customer segments and individuals! With this feature, you can send more relevant messages to customers based on their profile and spending data! For example, if you have a Ladies’ Spring Scramble in May, you can send an event reminder to all women players from years prior to encourage early registration. Or if your club offers a 2019 Players Card, with discounted golf rounds, you can send a message to all 2018 Players Card Members.

In preparing for your targeted messaging strategy, you will need to export the email addresses of customer segments you want to message. Typically, you can export these from tee time booking engine, event registrations, email marketing platforms, etc.

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If you want to learn more on targeted messaging and offers, please read our blog on Why Targeted Offers & Messages Are Important.



3) Marketing Game Plan To Promote Your App

Before you are in the middle of the busy season, create a marketing checklist that will remind you of App Promotion messages to send to your audience. Even if your app is five years old, it’s important to promote each season with your new “in-app rewards” or “upcoming club events”. By making this an initiative it reminds your audience your club app has content that is fresh and exclusive, increasing its value to your customers. In order to continue to grow downloads throughout your season, we recommend following the “marketing gameplan” below.


Monthly Checklist To Grow Downloads

  1. 1-3 social media post each week highlighting different features and benefit of the app.

  2. 1-2 dedicated emails per month that list all features of your club app.

  3. 1 push notification each week.

Do you need help promoting your app? No problem! Learn more about our marketing solutions that have helped clubs not only grow downloads but increase club revenue!

Learn more about Gallus Golf Marketing Solutions


4) Update Your Geofences

Do you know you can have up to 20 geofence messages configured for your club app?

These messages are ideal when targeted your customers visiting specific locations. We suggest placing these over high traffic areas, golf megastores, or even competing courses in your area! Create a specific offer or relevant message associated with the location, so your customers are incentivized to return to your club.

One location we see get very high send rates, is the one placed over a golf course. No surprise since those who have your Club App are likely to visit your facility, right? But when you consider how many hundreds of times this message can be sent each week, it’s a good idea to customize your messaging from time to time. Update the message over your course to promote F&B specials, new menu items, golf shop specials, upcoming club events, etc. Anything that can drive foot traffic and awareness to a club offering at your facility will be valuable to your bottom line.

The beauty of our geofence technology is you can “set it and forget it”. However, we always recommend checking in each month to see which messages are performing well to improve future messaging.

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5) Monthly Offer Locker Specials

Did you utilize the Offer Locker last season?

This tool allows courses to configure exclusive in-app rewards that can be broadcasted to all your app users. During the high season, it’s a good idea to have 2-5 offers per month available to your customers. These can be tied to any operation of your business and do not have to be discount promotions. Create a bundle package of “The Ultimate Golf Experience” including golf, cart, lunch, beverages, etc. Once you have your monthly offer locker rewards ready, configure and schedule them in the Gallus Dashboard. As the start date for these offers comes up, they will automatically populate for your customers in the app.


6) Add Upcoming Events & Promotions

This probably goes without saying, but as a reminder, having any upcoming club events or promotions in your app is valuable content to provide to your golfers. Think of your Club App as a hub of information on all things related to your club! A good starting point is to create a document that has all your annual events and promotions listed in the month they take place. Update your app with those events at the beginning of each quarter, month, or whatever frequency that makes sense for your initiatives.

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7) Loyalty Program

Do you have an existing Loyalty Program available in your Club App?

Great! Before your season starts, makes sure any rules, verbiage, end dates have been updated.

If you want to add a Loyalty Program, we have points and punchcard program types. These are simple to set up and a great launch date is at the beginning of the season. Including loyalty in your app provides additional incentive for customers to download and be reminded of your facility, as your business is now conveniently located on their smartphone device!

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If you have any questions about your app or best ways to prepare for the season, please contact support@gallusgolf.com or your account manager.

Why Targeted Offers & Messages Are Important

How To Use Targeted Messaging & Offers

Last month, we introduced our targeted offers and messaging to our partnered clubs. This marketing tool allows you to instantly send relevant messages and offers to your customers based on whatever criteria you like. You may receive offers like this already personally from national brands like CVS, Nordstroms, or Domino’s Pizza. Now your club can perform similar marketing techniques to effectively engage with your customers too! In this blog, you will learn more about why targeted marketing tools, like the one available to you, is a win for your club and customers! Also, we are going to provide a list of ways you can use send targeted messages to your customers depending on the offer scenario or customer type.

As you are probably noticing more than ever, brands are using online retargeted efforts to capture your attention and entice you to their site. It is fate or “meant to be” that the Hawaii Getaway trip being advertised to you is popping up days after looking into flights to warmer weather states. As creepy or annoying as this can be, it’s actually quite effective when it comes to converting an online audience to paying customers. In fact, according to a recent study on consumer behavior, 71% of respondents said they would prefer ads that are tailored to their personalized interests and shopping habits. In addition, 44% of customers said in order to receive more relevant offers, they would be willing to provide their name, address, email address, and product preferences. These statistics show consumers are expecting more when it comes to the customer experience and marketing engagement. Why this is important is because you can now use similar retargeting methods to engage with your customers with relevant offers or messages based on their interests and spending habits.

I’ll walk through some examples of what you can send and things to consider when crafting these offers!


Holiday Promotions

Since we are in the thick of the Holiday shopping season, let’s start off with some ways to target specific customer segments this time of the year. Many clubs are offering general promotions to entice 2019 memberships, players pass, gift certificates, and discounts off merchandise. These are great general promotions, but try targeting your customers with the following:

  • Get A $100 Gift Card, Get A Free $25 Gift Card

    • Target Segment - Members at your club. Your members already have a golf covered with their membership, but they would certainly appreciate a credit or gift card to your pro shop, where they can purchase something for themselves or gift that to someone else.

  • New Golf Equipment In Stock - Target high spending customers to reserve their new driver. If you have golf equipment in your golf shop and anticipate a new stock of the latest and greatest by Taylormade of Callaway, make sure to get that message out to your customers.  

    • Target Segment: customers who have purchased golf equipment from you or customers who have spent over $500 in the last year. This segment is those that have shown a history of significant purchasing behavior at your golf shop.

  • Sip and Shop Night. Shop the golf shop sales, and enjoy a complimentary glass of wine in the Clubhouse. An event like this takes minimal effort and investment (a few bottles of wine) and doesn’t necessarily need a “sale” or discount associated with it.

    • Target Segment: Members or women at your club. Women tend to be the shoppers in the household, or if targeted to members only, it creates an exclusive perk that makes them feel valued.

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Win-Back Offers

Every business wants to find the “secret sauce” solution that keeps their customers wanting to come back. It’s no surprise in golf that many of our customers have options when it comes to where they can play, so it’s important to target your customers to stay ahead of the competition.

  • Tournament Player Offer - $5 Off Your Next Round. From any tournament, your win-back offer can be a targeted offer. When using the Gallus Tournament Software, you can easily set that up. In addition to growing your downloads for your Club App, you have the opportunity to market to these players via targeted messaging. Send tournament players an offer for $5 off their next round or a 2-for-1 Golf to encourage them to come back with a friend (new customer!).

    • Target Segment - Tournament Players

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We Miss You Offer - $10 Off Your Round

  • Target Segment - Customers who would play consistently and haven’t played your course in 2-3 months. If you want to dive into a specific customer segment, such as those who would play on the weekends, have an offer that is weekend specific. Tailoring a reward to their previous tee times will be beneficial in getting them back to your course.



Food & Beverage

Drive more spend to food and beverage through your app! Our mobile ordering solution, onTAP, allows your customers to view and make orders to your kitchen from any location. Orders can be customized to be either be picked up at the clubhouse or delivered at their location on the course. Below are some examples of how you can grow your kitchen sales by utilizing the app tools available to you.

  • 10% Off When You Order Through The App. Make this an ongoing offer each month to those who have not made an in-app order. This will create some buzz around the new feature of ordering through your app and entice your golfers to be more engaged with their app usage. Each month update the offer and the new list of customers who have not made an order and they will be notified they have an offer waiting for them.

    • Target Segment: First-time Spenders

  • Beer Bucket Deal For Group. No need to always discount. You can offer a special package or experience for your golfers who have booked with a friend. For any of twosome or foursome booked for the week, send them a Beer Bucket Special for 6 domestic beers for $30 or a volume price that is aligned with your menu. This is a win for the golfers, who feel like they are getting a deal and a win for the course who is getting them to increase the average spending transaction during a typical day at the course. Cheers to that! 🍻

    • Target Segment: Twosome or Foursome Booked (over 21 years of age)

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Memberships & Annual Players Passes

  • Purchase Your Membership. Whether you offer an annual membership or players pass program, this is an easy way to remind and ensure your customer renew with you. Simply send them a message with a reminder of the perks and payment date, and ideally a link to guide them to a payment confirmation page. If your player's passes are semi-annual or monthly, use this same messaging technique to engage with that target audience.

    • Target Segment: Existing Members

How To Send A Targeted Offer:

  1. Think about which customer segment you want to target. Export their emails from your tee sheet or email list.

  2. What is the offer that is relevant to this segment? This can be a discount or a value-added package.

  3. Once logged into the Gallus Golf Dashboard, create the offer in the Offer Locker.

  4. Target the message to your customer segment by importing the emails.

  5. Check “Send Push” and click “Create” and your offer will send!




Golf Operator Spotlight - Matt Staffen - St. Marys Golf & Country Club

I had the pleasure of speaking with Matt Staffen, President and General Manager of St. Marys Golf & Country Club in Ontario, Canada. In the three years St. Marys has been us, Matt has been a leader in implementing our messaging tools and technology solutions. With the help of BOOST and Matt’s marketing vision, St. Marys Golf & Country Club App has grown their app users from 800 to over 2,500 - in the last season alone! Plus, their Clubhouse Kitchen sales have increased by 28%!

Whether your golf club is big, small, private or public, we could all take a page out of Matt’s book on how he has grown his business, and more importantly, built a golf community where his customers feel at home.

  • Molly Jasco, Gallus Golf Marketing Manager

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Molly: Can you tell me what career and life decisions led to you the golf industry and becoming the President and General Manager of one of the top golf clubs in Ontario?

Matt: Our family purchased St. Marys Golf & Club Club in the early 90’s when I was about six years old. I started working at the golf course when I was 15 or 16 years old and then went off to university and started working for some really high-end in golf courses up in Muskoka, a well-known tourist region here in Ontario just two hours north of Toronto. I also worked for a big corporate retailer for five years and what drove me back to St. Marys was not just my love for golf, but more of my passion for the marketing side of the industry.  So that’s really what led me to my decision to come back to operate the family business and operate St. Marys and grow it to its full potential.

Molly: How have you utilized your marketing background to grow your club?

Matt: What I really love about this industry and why I love showing up to work every day is the marketing side of it, and what influences a golfer to choose your golf course over the hundreds of other golf courses they have the option to play nowadays. There are 60 golf courses within 45 minutes of us, so that's obviously a big challenge. But we’ve been able to grow our business by taking advantage of the e-marketing side. It started with a lot of emails to our member base, then our Facebook Page, Instagram, and really took off in the last year with the app.  

We're a mature industry and in order to survive today, you have to grow and be the best. That’s the mentality we take every day and we’ve grown the business that way - whether it’s for our weddings, memberships, or our junior program which all have taken off in the last couple years - revenues have grown 100%. It’s been a whole lot of fun to see our golfing community transpire into what it has become today.

Molly: St. Marys is in a competitive golf market, what is your club doing that sets you apart?

Matt: First of all, we are continually staying in touch with them. We’ve found that adding the app to our efforts made perfect sense, especially for the younger generation, under forty, who have their phones in front of them all the time, and are not always checking their emails anymore.

We also have created a culture and an atmosphere from the moment they walk in the club and play 18 holes and then come back in for food and drinks, to the moment they walk out the door. We want them to they feel like they're at home and a part of a community. That was the second part of it.

The third part was reinvestment back into the golf course, back into the property, into our equipment, into our people. For example, the last two years we've undergone a bunker renovation program so we're redoing all of our bunkers and it will be completed next year. We're also buying new golf carts to keep our equipment up to date, our people head of the game, trying to be as progressive as possible, while also growing the revenue side. We know if we only focus on the cost side eventually our competitors will catch up, so the reinvestment was a big initiative for us.

It's really about being innovative, reinvesting back in that property, and creating that culture where people want to spend time.

Molly: You ran an aggressive campaign for “Free 18 Holes For Downloading The St. Marys App”. Some may wonder why you would potentially give a round away to an existing customer. What was your reasoning behind that and how has it impacted your season?

Matt: I felt the need to be aggressive with that offer in order to build our number of users from the 800 range we had been stuck at for the last couple of years.  

With the help of the BOOST Team, I wanted to go after that market, and attack it quickly to grow our app audience. And we successfully grew our number of users from 800 to 2,500 in a matter of a few months.

With the Free 18 Holes offer, we thought it would be easy to give away something for free, but how do you turn that into future sales? We knew the younger generation redeeming this offer would want an experience and beer would be bought on the course and food purchased after their round. That incremental revenue in just doing that offer was good enough for us to justify doing something so aggressive. And now we can reach out to them and try to bring them back with different offers and value plays that will get them interested in spending time here.

We’ve used Push Notifications a lot to target that same demographic of forty and under, who are more likely to receive and look at a push notification than an email. Using that Free 18 holes offer and growing our app users was really about the long-term ability to communicate with our customers in a more modern way.

We’ve also utilized and pushed onTAP to our customer through push notifications. We want to remind people when they are on the course that they can order food through the app. That was a big thing, as well, because our kitchen sales are up 28% this season. If someone has the app on their phone they will make that decision quicker than looking for a local restaurant.

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Molly: Third Party Sites and Golf Network Apps, like 18 Birdies, have a large audience of users and courses available. What would be your advice to someone who is on the fence between using a Golf Network App or a branded golf club app?

Matt: Third Party Sites has helped grow our revenue, but it's a challenge because if you’re not the cheapest you’re less likely to get the sale and to me, that is not a good long-term play. I want to control as many of the green fee bookings as possible. So if we can do that through our app and website (with dynamic pricing), that will keep the customer coming directly to us. Also, it's a lot easier to communicate our message to them as opposed to competing with every other golf course that’s on those 3rd Party Sites. With the Gallus Golf services, we can bring them here by owning that communication.

Molly: It can be very difficult for any business to grow their social media following, but St. Marys app and social media engagement is very strong. How have you grown your online audience?

Matt: I think if courses focus on growing your brand and not trying to sell, that is key. We typically don’t go on Facebook and promote an offer. It’s more about having your audience see what the brand brings, what the experience and the culture we are trying to create at St. Marys. We believe they will be attracted to that.



Molly: Given the success St. Marys has experienced due to your strong marketing strategy, what suggestions would you have to clubs who are struggling to find time to market their Club App?

Matt: The Golf Tournament Module has been big for us and it’s so easy to use. Our Pro Shop Manager, who initially didn’t want to have anything to do with computers, now uses it for everything - even our Glow Golf Night, for scorecards and cart signs. He has really embraced it this year and we’ve even added sponsors to each hole. This allowed us to increase our annual hole sponsor fee by $50, so it’s helped our club on many different levels.

Obviously with the BOOST program that was big for me. It made me take the app more seriously and realize its benefits. Why we moved forward with BOOST was because we were content with our 800 followers but it also meant I had to spend a lot of time during the busy season coming up with marketing ideas. When I have our monthly meetings with the BOOST Team it makes it much easier to just talk about those good ideas and put them into action. It work on both sides, but it keeps us organized and forces us to stick to a plan. BOOST is always timely that way. To try to manage the app, in addition to Facebook, and email, it can be a lot for operators, especially in an age when we are trying to manage our labor. To have a full-on marketing team, who are good at what they do and also understand the game of golf can be a challenge to find.

Having BOOST on our side gives us a team we can work with, who are quick and ready to take on the things we need to do. To sum it up, the back end module is easy to use, but BOOST will take the app to the next level.

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Molly: Golf can have the reputation for being a little behind the times when it comes to implementing new technology. Sometimes we hear, “Our club doesn’t need an app because our golfers are older” or “We don’t need Instagram because of X, Y, Z”. If a club was unsure of utilizing new technology to communicate to their golfers, what would you say to them?

Matt: There are different ways to target different audiences. The younger generation, who are under forty spend an insane amount of time on their phone, so the way to communicate with them is through the app.

We still have great success with our emails, but I’ve noticed in the last couple of years that our email open rates are declining slightly. The older crowd is still responding, but the younger generation is more engaged with a quick one-line message in a push notification. As marketing evolves and that younger generation becomes your customer base, it will be tougher to target them if you don’t have your app available on their phone.


Molly: Are there any technologies you’ve seen in other industries, that you would like to see the golf industry to adopt?

Matt: Yeah, I think one of the fears with the industry right now, especially with these 3rd parties taking on more and more, is that if you’re not the cheapest, you’re not going to get the customer. Trying to be innovative through marketing, and persuading a customer to come to you, despite what the price is - I think that is a big challenge we are all facing. The hotel and airline industry had experienced this same challenge and figured out the dynamic pricing model, because finding those super cheap deals are not as common today. I believe dynamic pricing is a huge way of the future in our sport and what we do in our industry because it’s figuring out what the price should be in the high and low demand. I think integrating that into the app is a big thing - we’ve done that with our tee sheet.

We shouldn’t be trying to be the cheapest, because then it becomes a race to the bottom. It’s more about trying to provide customer value and an experience. If you have your own app, you can connect with the customer that way and offer different things for them to connect to your business. For example, onTAP is a new way to get orders that can be available to someone on the course or a local nearby that wants to pick up food.

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There are a lot of opportunities out there, you have to figure out who you are targeting and what it is you’re offering - and keeping that customer close to you - instead of the 3rd party sites. Yes, they will always have a place, but if we can control that customer experience, we will all be better off.






Get The Most Out Of Your Tournament Software

For most golf courses, outings and tournaments make up a significant portion of annual club revenue. In the United States alone, over 800,000 golf tournaments are held each year, with the average 72 player event bringing in about $5,000.

Being that tournaments are a large revenue stream to clubs, it’s important to ensure proper planning is in place for the event, as well as providing an unforgettable golf experience to your players. There are many golf tournament registration softwares available to help your tournament organizer cross off the long list of “to-do” items in preparing for an event, but you also want to maximize revenue-generating activities for the day of and post-tournament. The Gallus Golf Tournament Software offers a user-friendly system to get your tournament set up, players registered, and a wide range of marketing opportunities to boost club revenue during the tournament day as well as gain repeat business.

Tournament Set-Up

Input all tournament info in one central location. Tournament images, rules, format. Import player/team spreadsheets to generate groups in a single click.
 

Online Registration

Quickly create a custom marketing and registration site for each outing that can include tournament info, images, video, contact info, and more. Participants can register (and even prepay) which all flows into your tournament software, ready to go.

 

Print Materials

Print out all your tournament materials. Cart signs, scorecards, check-in sheets, tournament info handouts, tournament results, and more.
 

Hole Sponsorships

Feature hole sponsors for your golf tournament in your mobile app. Sponsorship information can be detailed in the app with a direct link to their website. This type of advertisement creates a conversion path that is mobile friendly to your players and trackable for your sponsors.

 

Live Scoring

The in-app leaderboards and live scoring make for an interactive experience for your players to see how they rank against the competition.


 

Live Leaderboards

Display the teams and players of your tournament on your custom leaderboard in the clubhouse. Participants to view prior, during, and after the event.
 

In-App Deals

Increase player revenue by offering a Tournament-Player specific deals that can be redeemed that day or applied for a future visit. Your players will appreciate having exclusive deals to spend at your golf shop or an additional incentive to play at your course again.

 

Golf GPS & Course Information

Having beautifully customized golf GPS of your course enhances the on-course golf experience and will drive downloads for your golf club app. Our golf GPS provides full tee-to-trouble golf GPS mapping (not just to the center of the green) in a user-friendly interface. Golfers can even measure their shot through the app. Also, including pin placements or drone flyover videography or is an excellent way to make course information accessible in a mobile-friendly way.

 

Stay connected to your tournament players through push notifications.

Now that tournament players have your app, it’s time to keep them engaged through in-app messaging. Sending out golf specials or general messages, it will keep your club top of mind to your new customers and more likely to play with you again!

Learn more about how to set up a tournament using our Gallus Golf Tournament Software.


If you have any tournament or app-related questions, feel free to reach out to us at support@gallusgolf.com.

Gallus News - Rob Hoffman to Speak at 2018 GolfCON Rob Hoffman Of Gallus Golf To Speak At Marriott 2018 GolfCON Next Month

Featured in The Golf Wire August 1st, 2018

Rob Hoffman to Speak at 2018 GolfCON

Marriott’s annual GolfCON will be held August 14th – 16th at the JW Marriott Orlando, Grand Lakes in Orlando, FL. In attendance at GolfCON will be the Marriott Golf Top Executives, Golf Club General Managers, Retail and Business Vendors. Representing Gallus Golf, will be Rob Hoffman, VP of Operations, and Molly Jasco, Marketing Manager. Marriott GolfCON is known as a gathering to celebrate the year’s success, build stronger business relationships, and discuss best practices in all facets of golf club management.

Joining the discussion on golf marketing and technology strategies for management organizations will be Rob Hoffman of Gallus Golf, Andy Perez of EZLinks Golf, and Ben Schmidt of GolfNow. All have extensive knowledge on the golf industry as a whole, as well as best practices in implementing technology solutions on a management level. With his twenty years of Marketing and Consulting experience, Hoffman has not only ensured success of their golf club apps, but also contributed to the club revenue growth through his focus on marketing initiatives.

“Every year I look forward to this conference to get an opportunity to share with our great colleagues at Marriott Golf some of the current technology trends as well as a peek into the future. This year, in particular, we are gaining on some major advancements, and getting to share this sneak preview with the Marriott Golf team, gaining their insights, will be rewarding for me” says Hoffman of Gallus Golf.

About Marriott Golf

Marriott Golf, the golf management organization of Marriott International and one of the world’s largest resort golf management companies, is responsible for managing more than 1.5 million rounds of golf each year on more than 1,000 holes of championship golf. Marriott Golf has a simple vision: to be the world’s premier provider of quality golf experiences. This goal is pursued by managing every component of its business with diligence and scrutiny to ensure that it delivers value to everyone involved. Learn More About Marriott Golf

7 Ways The App Is A Lifesaver

 

“Running a business is all smooth sailing.”

- Said no one ever.

 

As much as we plan and prepare to make business operations seamless week to week, we are bound to occasionally hit a snag. In the golf industry, this can look like employee turnover, unpredictable weather, or last minute cancellations, among many other potential hiccups. When blindsided by these challenges, it can often lead to quick reactionary marketing decisions that may not be the best message to deliver to your customers.

In this blog, I’ve outlined a series of “trouble scenarios” and ways to get your golf club out of a bind using your app. By learning more about these slightly out of the box best practices, hopefully, you’ll feel more proactive communicating to your customer and maybe even find marketing opportunities when faced with similar challenges.


 

1. Last Minute Outing Cancelation - How To Fill Your Tee Sheet

Have you planned on having a packed course due to a scheduled outing and then the day before this planned event, the tournament organizer has to cancel? This can be a headache, especially because you probably spent that week turning golfers away, who wanted to play at your course. If in this position, sending a push notification to your app audience is a fast and effective way to fill your tee sheet. The message should direct users right to your booking engine to view and make tee times in the app within a couple clicks.

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2. Sunshine In February? Get More Out Of Your Golfers!

Ever been in the middle of your winter or off-season and out of nowhere you have a few days of clear skies and sunshine? This is typically great news, but it can involve scrambling to get the word out to fill an open tee sheet for the next day. Again, this is where in-app messaging is a reliable channel in immediately delivering that message to your audience. You can even set up an in-app deal featuring a golf package for up-sell opportunities since most likely your golfers are ill-equipped to play golf this time of year.

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3. Course Renovation or Update

Whether you are experiencing unpredictable weather or planned course renovation, it’s always a good idea to keep your golfers in the loop with any on-course updates for the day. When these scenarios come up abruptly it can be difficult to notify golfers of an update or to kindly abide to on-course change in play, such as cart path only due to heavy rains. This is when a geofence message over the course becomes a quick and seamless solution to notifying your golfers about course updates for the day. You may be thinking sending out an email to your whole database is just as easy and will be received by a larger audience. That is correct, however, broadcasting a message about your course being in a less desirable condition can have a lingering effect of keeping customers away from your course. By placing a location-based message over your clubhouse or parking lot, only golfers on site will be notified of the course update or instructions. Another useful messaging tool in this scenario is an on-course pop-up message. Using pop-ups allows you to add an image to the message, making your golfers aware of what to prepare for on a particular hole.

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4. On-Course Engagement

Engage with your golfers while they are on your course! Using pop-up notifications you can trigger messages based on which holes they are located at. This function can be applied in a number of ways to benefit your golf club. On hole 8, send a reminder to make an order at the turn or after their round, encourage them to “head to the clubhouse to enjoy a cold one”. Also, you can use pop-ups as a way to promote “digital hole sponsorships” during tournament play. Your club or tournament organizers can present a fee to local businesses for in-app advertising during the tournament day, making your course tournament experience stand out against your competition.

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5. Connect With New Tournament Players

Your course will be packed with players for an upcoming outing. Some of these players may frequent your course often, but others it’s their first time. You may think having manicured fairways and pristine greens will keep them coming back, but it’s not always that easy to keep your club top of mind. Take advantage of tournament days by promoting your app for live scoring, golf GPS, and tournament specific offers. This in-app deal can be anything from “Get $10 off a $50 spend” to “$1 off a sleeve of balls”. The key components are to make this deal exclusive and available for only one day to drive app downloads. This will not only provide a positive course experience but also the opportunity for you to market to these new customers post-tournament.

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6. Direct Foot Traffic To Your Operations Needing Help

When it comes to email marketing, we know promoting greens fee specials will get your golfers to your course, but often times, food & beverage or merchandise specials are not as strong of an appeal. You could send an email out on Thursday about daily happy hour specials and merchandise sales and by the time it’s Saturday and those golfers are at your club, they have already forgotten what deals are available to them. With geofence technology, you can create a custom message for your golfers as they arrive at your club with all new specials and offerings available. 90% of US mobile users keep their location services turned on, and because your customers will be in the vicinity of these offerings, the likelihood of purchase is much stronger.

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7. Driving Range Golf GPS

This spring we launched our Golf GPS feature for driving range facilities. This feature is easy to set up and allows for your golfers to have accurate yardage to range targets no matter what their location is on the driving range. No longer will your staff need to post grass tee yardages on a daily or weekly basis.

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9 Reasons Why Golf Courses Win With A Mobile App

One the biggest trends we are seeing in the golf industry right now is the growing popularity of mobile golf apps. Hundreds of golf courses are using them to streamline online booking, shopping, score tracking, and social communities within their member and customer bases.

So, why is it so useful for golf courses to make use of a mobile app? The main reason is that mobile apps represent an incredibly powerful marketing platform for selling tee times, pro shop items, and even food & beverage.

While it's great that so many golf courses are adopting this new technology, it’s important that golf operators understand how to get maximum value out of the wide range of marketing benefits that apps provide. Mobile apps are proven to have a high rate engagement rate because Americans spend 89% of their time in an app while using their phones. So, if golf courses want to benefit from the mobile revolution they need to have an app. These days, almost no one will use a mobile browser to book their tee time or engage with their club.

Golf course apps include two powerful marketing tools, push notifications and in-app messages. Push notifications are the little banners an app will send to the front screen of your phone when a news story breaks or you get a text message. In-app messages are messages that are sent to a user directly within an app. Both have a wide variety of uses and will dramatically increase engagement.

 

For this article we collaborated with Alex Lavoie from Chronogolf, the industry leader in cloud-based club management software.

- Molly Jasco, Marketing Manager of Gallus Golf

 

What are push notifications and in-app messages useful for?

1. Promotion announcements

Users of your app who have enabled push notifications represent a captive audience. Whenever your course has a new discount or promotion, you now have access to marketing real estate directly on the front page of your customers’ phones.

Best of all, if the promotion is appealing to the app user they can purchase whatever tee time, pro shop item, or restaurant deal you are promoting directly from their phone.

A fast and effective way to utilize push notifications, is when you want to get the word out about last minute offers and deals. For example, if a tee sheet is wide open for the following day after 2 pm, send your audience a special twilight rate. The true power of this, versus email for example, is the immediate impact you can have. This message delivery, similar to a text message, grabs the user’s attention, unlike email which often receives a delayed response.

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2. Event Invitations

Email used to be the most effective channel for promoting an event, today it’s the mobile app. Whenever your course announces a new tournament or event, a well timed push notification can encourage players to RSVP to the event directly from their phones. If desired, mobile apps can also display who is attending, provide menu options, start times, an itinerary and any other event related details.

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3. Sending Reminders

Reduce no shows and late starts by reminding players about their tee times. If the player is going to be late they can reschedule their tee time directly from the app. As well, reminders are helpful for ensuring that attendance at tournaments and events is maximized.

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4. Keeping Golfers Updated

Sometimes the weather just won’t cooperate and you have to notify players that their tee time is delayed or that the course is closed. Your customers really appreciate being kept in the loop especially if they get a notification directly to their phone regarding changes in weather, start times, or tee time availability. Providing real time course notifications to your audience will increase the value of your app from the golfer perspective, and make it clear you are not only sending promotional messaging.

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5. Thank You’s and Congratulations

After a tournament send a quick thank you note to all who participated or congratulate player for getting a hole in one or improving their handicap. Occasionally sending these kind of notifications helps personalize your app and will ultimately drive more engagement. In addition, this can be a great opportunity to increase customer retention by adding a discount or offer off their next visit at your club.

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6. Geofenced Notifications

Perhaps the most powerful aspect of mobile golf apps is their ability to send notifications based on geographic location. Timing is key for reaching users in a meaningful way. It’s impactful when a customer receives a notification showcasing deals in the pro shop and restaurant when they arrive in the parking lot. Research from a recent study shows 36% of people who shop using apps said a mobile location-based push notification influenced an in-store purchase they made.

Promote merchandise specials, new food menu items, or events to sign up for in the golf shop. By promoting these offerings to customers who are physically at your location, your chances of closing that sale are much greater.

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7. Sparking a Conversation

Encourage your customers to raise their voices about their experience at your course. Push notifications are capable of directly asking a customer how they felt about their experience after a round at your golf course. Ask for feedback, pro shop item requests, or restaurant menu ideas.

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8. Recurring Push Notifications

Having a regular check in message is a great way to connect with your customers and build your push notification open rates. Having a weekly or monthly campaign that features “Pro Tip Tuesday”, “Golfer of the Month” or even a link to your regular newsletter will allow you to get greater leverage out of those campaigns that may typically be sent only via email. These can be used for promotional purposes or educational, we suggest making sure there is consistency in the time and day you send these messages out.

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9. Promoting Your Loyalty Program

Many mobile golf apps have built in loyalty features for customer rewards and redemption. Because golfers are typically downloading your app for core features like booking tee times, scorecard and golf gps, they are unaware that in-app deals or your loyalty program even exists. Including loyalty program-related push notifications is another way to balance out your content messaging and highlight additional value your app provides. Introduce your loyalty program to your golfers and use this channel to push a “double points day” or “your rewards will expire soon” to create a sense of urgency. If yourloyalty program is built into your app, you can guide your users directly to that page in your app when they open the message.

Best Practices & Tips For Creating Your Push Notifications

We’ve filled you in on a number of ways to use push notifications to connect with your customers and promote your business, now learn how to get the most out of your messaging.

 

 

 

  • Message Length: Short and sweet is the way to go. Users are flooded with messages all day long between news notifications, emails, and more, that having a short and concise message with a clear call to action will result in the best open rates.

 

  • Keywords: Engagement is highest when your message creates a sense of urgency or exclusivity. If a user sees they only have 24 hours to take advantage of a sale or they have early access to an event, they will be more likely to learn more. 

 

  • Segmentation: Use your app to segment your audience by user profile or interests. Now, you can send targeted messaging based specific customer criteria. Users will appreciate the relevant content, which will be reflected in higher open and conversion rates. 

A “Best-in-Class” Future for Your Business

Highlighting the Importance of Integrations, a Sneak-Peek into our thoughts on the future, and what you can do to help make it happen.

 

What is an integration when it comes to technology?  The way we see it, an integration will bring information (data), objectives, goals, and your overall strategy into alignment.  More importantly, the integration will include the ability to not just have these pieces aligned, but also working directly with your customers.

 

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Let’s begin with some reasons (and explanations) of why we feel integrations from Best-in-Class providers are important.

 

Improving Quality & Reliability

Let’s face some facts, not every provider is the best solution for every need for your business.  We at Gallus Golf feel we build a Best-in-Class solution with our custom apps for golf courses, but don’t expect us to be able to provide you with a Best-in-Class solution for a tee sheet and booking engine.  That is why we have positioned ourselves to be able to work with any of the many great providers out there in this realm. However, please continue reading below to learn why a full integration with your provider would be huge for you!

 

Raising Your Game with Your Clients

Data collection has been quite the buzz over the last couple years.  No offense, but each time I hear it spoken about and take a look at the audience watching the speaker, at least half of the people in the crowd are very engaged, but also very confused, and rightly so.  Speakers can go on until they’re blue in the face about collecting info from your clients, but without some method to put this knowledge gained to practical use, what’s the point in doing the extra work?  This is where integrations, and Artificial Intelligence, can begin to play a significant role for your success. If you can create a bridge between data collection and smart usage of that data, well then you’re cooking with gas!  Keep reading…

 

More Efficient and Cost Effective Use of Personnel

A good team can be your most valuable asset, however it is daily becoming more and more expensive to build that team.  As wage rates increase and needs to provide benefits become more expensive, it is key that you are able to get the most out of your investment in that team.  Integrations can provide methods to get your team having conversations about programs your course offers, showing clients merchandise, and able to get out from behind the counter from checking people in. All of these things can provide not just a higher level of service, but also more loyal customers spending more money with you, raising that return on the investment in your team to compensate for rising labor costs.  Again, keep reading for that peek into the future below for what we see integrations can provide you.

 

Okay, so you’ve kept reading as I begged you to!  Thanks!

I could have continued with more reasons why integrations are so important, but I assumed if I kept asking you to read on, eventually you would have given up on me!  Let’s get to the meat of the discussion - the future.

 

This is where I am going to lean on our collective imagination…

Scenario:

  1. Joe Golfer arrives at your golf course.  He has your mobile app installed on his phone and he has a tee time in 45 minutes from now.

  2. His phone triggers a geofence because he has arrived that sets a chain of events into motion.

  3. All of your systems are integrated and working in concert with one another and the following steps ensue:

  4. Joe gets this message on his phone “Welcome Back Joe! We are happy you’re here and see you have a 10:30 tee time. Tap “Yes” below to check in for your tee time now.”

  5. Joe taps “Yes”, and gets a confirmation message - “Thanks Joe, you’re all set. Your cart number is 32. Would you like to hit some balls on the practice range to warm up - Tap “Yes” if you do”

  6. Joe taps “Yes”, and gets this confirmation message - “Time to get your swing in the groove - your code for range balls Joe is 4356. Hit them long and straight!”

  7. Then 10 minutes before he is to tee off Joe could also get this message, “Joe, we know you usually play a ProV1x ball and enjoy a Bloody Mary at the start of your round.  Would you like us to deliver either of those to your cart before you tee off?” He is given a couple buttons to choose from for this then and makes his selection and your staff fulfills that order.

  8. Finally, 6 hours after he tees off Joe gets this message - “Thanks so much for playing the course today Joe. We’d love to hear your thoughts. Please tap the button below to complete a quick 3 question survey and receive 10% off your next round for doing so!”

 

I am sure you can see where I am heading with this.  Do you have to send that many messages? No. But I wanted to highlight how the integration would come into play for you, especially with Artificial Intelligence in the mix to interpret all of the data on each customer’s behavior and preferences and then ask smart questions to them.  Without an integration of your systems, none of this is possible. However, this is not some far off capability. We are not talking about the year 2045 here. This technology exists now and we have begun to implement some of it, and we are even working on the beginning of some integration capabilities now with providers you may already employ.


 

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What do we see happening while all of this technology is at work?

 

  • Your staff is able to interact with your customers in ways that don’t include the heft of having to process a lineup of transactions and then move on to the next customer.  They are out from behind the counter and talking with customers about upcoming events at the club, membership opportunities, general conversations about the customer’s kids or golf game right now - bottom line creating a more personal experience for your customer and making them feel as though they are at home when they come to your course.  Can you imagine how that will affect loyalty among your clients?

  • Your course goes viral!  This kind of experience, if you are among the first in your market to provide it, will launch a viral quality for you, having golfers talking among themselves about how cool it is to play your course and driving more traffic to you through the all important marketing tool - WORD-OF-MOUTH!

  • Relying on setting the technology to do the work for you will eliminate the lack of reliability in staff members remembering to ask the age old “do you want fries with that?” types of questions.  No stone will be left unturned, and it will happen with the language and timing you specifically choose because you have set it up that way. The pain of this not being done every time, or just not being done exactly how you want will be over.

What do you have to do to get the ball rolling with implementing these types of integrations?

 

Great question, glad you asked!  If you’re reading this blog post, in all likelihood you are either already a customer of ours, or you are seriously interested in becoming one.  We have started the process in the last 12 months to make these things happen for you with our technology and we feel the app because it is on your customer’s phone should be set up as the communication hub.  So, we have the ability for your other tech providers, where so much of your data resides and is collecting dust, to integrate with us. It is there, and we have forged a partnership with a Best-In-Class Artificial Intelligence provider to facilitate all of this.  We have been in some discussions with your other tech providers to highlight the importance we feel these integrations hold, and some have begun working on them.

 

You can help by simply keeping the conversation moving along with them.  When you speak with your other reps, or when you talk with us, ask about this.  Ask your booking engine, tee sheet, POS provider(s) if they are working on this type of integration with us to implement this for you.  We are open to working with all of them. Your success is always our goal.

4 Holiday Messaging Ideas You Should Use

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The Holidays are in full swing and when looking back at 2016, spending exceeded $1 trillion, with the average U.S. adult spending $419 on holiday-related items.  Early forecast calls for the 2017 holiday season to be even stronger... So what does this mean for you? It's time to start marketing your Golf Club specials and memberships! We are here to help you stand out against the competition so your customers keep YOU in mind when crossing off their Holiday Gift List! Fortunately, with 76% of Americans using their mobile device for their holiday shopping, you have a good bet of converting in-app messaging to dolla dolla bills, ya'll!

 

How do you do this, you ask? Let's dive in...

 

1) Holiday Sale Message

Do you have any Holiday golf shop specials or an annual Holiday Sale? Send a Push Message out to your audience to promote your sale. Emphasize the significant discount with terms like "Major markdowns" or "Up to 75% OFF" and a sense of urgency using phrases like, "Limited Supply", "2 Days Only", or "Will SELL OUT!".  These examples may not exactly apply to what you are offering, but the key takeaway with a holiday sale message is to highlight the discount and demand for the products being offered.

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2) Gift Card Promotion

Year after year, more people prefer receiving gift cards for the holidays. In fact, the total gift card volume will reach $160 billion by 2018. That is a BIG piece of holiday-spending pie! But how do we compete with national sport retail stores? Well, we may have to get a little creative.  Offer a holiday special when a customer buys a gift card, they receive an additional free item with that purchase.  For example when a customer buys a $50 gift card, they get a free $5 gift card or sleeve of golf balls.  By adding value to their purchase, you are able to stand out against your competitors and drive incentive to spend. You can make it fun by calling it a "Naughty or Nice Special" - Be nice and give the additional gift to a friend, or naughty and keep for yourself.  Send this promotion out in a push message linking them right to your Online Store, so they can complete their purchase in 3 clicks, without even having to get up from the couch! Christmas shopping has never been so easy!

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3) Secret Santa Code 

Make shopping at your golf shop or online store fun this holiday season!  Send out a push message with a "Secret Santa Code" or phrase your customers can use at the time for payment for a special discount.  Maybe the message is, "Say 'Rudolf' at your time of payment for 20% off your golf shop purchase" or "Enter code 'MERRY' to get 10% OFF your online purchase", directing them to the Online Store in the push message.  One thing to note is to provide an expiration date so there is a sense of urgency to shop and take advantage of the special discount.

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4) 12 Days of Christmas Special

Create 12 "Daily Deals" and promote them each day using with a push message. These deals and specials can be small and range from anything to "$5 Off Greens Fee" to "Appetizers - Buy One Get One Half Off". When sending out these series of messages, it’s best to be consistent in the time of day the message is sent. We would suggest sending these out in the late morning, as it allows time for customers to redeem these offers the same day. Of course, if 12 days is too long, you can always shorten the length of the campaign to “7 Days of Christmas”.  Making it unique to your Golf Club and fun for your customers is the idea here.

There you have it, four ideas that your Golf Club can use to promote your holiday specials directly to your customers.  In addition to in-app messaging, be sure to advertise any holiday specials on social media and email. If you need marketing help or would like to learn about our BOOST Marketing Program, please reach out to Molly Jasco. She is our BOOST Client Success Manager and handles the marketing strategy for many of our golf course clients.
 

If you need any assistance in setting up a message, please reach out to your Account Manager. We are happy to help and wish you a VERY MERRY HOLIDAY SEASON!

Driving Customer Loyalty With Your App!

Creating a simple to use, easily accessible, and enticing loyalty program can make a significant impact for any business. Earlier this year, Gallus Golf made some great enhancements to the Loyalty Program in your app, adding a new points-based option, in addition to the punch card loyalty program.

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You can now reward your loyal customers for every dollar they spend with you. Each customer will earn a point for a dollar spent, and you can create rewards for different point levels they reach. As always, you control and customize this for what works at your club.

 

Creating a loyalty program that lives IN your app is beneficial for everyone.

 

  • YOUR CUSTOMER has easy access to how close they are to their next reward, and which is important when they are making the decision on where to play their next round.

  • YOU increase the number of customers downloading YOUR app because to benefit from the loyalty program, they must have the app on their phone.


Below are a couple more examples of some easy to set up Loyalty Programs in your app, to drive different areas of revenue at your club. Reach out to your account manager, or contact support@gallusgolf.com if you want help setting up loyalty. GET SOMETHING SETUP FOR YOUR 2017 season!

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Featured App/Operator of the Month

Out of the norm for our App of the Month interview, I actually got to spend some time with this month's app operator from the Golf Wichita app, their super dynamic Assistant Manager of Golf, Shana Appelhanz.  We were both attending the Golf Inc. Strategies Summit in Austin, Texas last week, and I was fortunate enough to capture a quick conversation in video with Shana about their app.

ENJOY!

Entering the Off Season with Relevance!

A little bit of a re-tread here, but just as valuable this year as it was last!


For so many of our courses, entering Autumn means entering the stretch-run for the year, knowing winter and closed golf courses are right around the corner.  For those of you out there who experience the opposite season and are just coming into the prime time of the year, pay attention anyway because May is not that far away for you!
 

Believe it or not, your off-season is when your app can really shine.  While GPS, live scoring, playing tips and all of the other great things the app provides are truly wonderful---the best thing your Gallus app may provide is a link to your clients when they are not coming to see you on a weekly basis.  With that in mind, here are EIGHT KEYS TO DIMINISHING YOUR SEASONALITY:


Grow Your Database While the Season's Still Hot
You've got some time left before you prep to shut down for the winter.  The weather is still great and golfers are still flocking to the course.  NOW is the time to begin a season ending full-court press to get your app downloaded to their phones.  Make sure every golfer checking in to play knows about the app, have promotional materials posted everywhere, run events like a skins game or any tournament that will drive downloads in bulk by featuring live scoring within the app, run some kind of season end giveaway where the entry form resides only in the app forcing a download to register, and of course feel free to reach out to us for more ideas.

The more users you enter the off-season with, the stronger your off-season will be.


Gather Customer Reviews
Positioning your course to be prepped to hit the ground running when the next season begins should be a huge priority all of the time, but more often than not during busy times we get caught up in being so busy we forget to be doing everything we should be, all of the time.  Don't let the season escape you without gathering a bunch of Golfer reviews of your course to be able to use as you begin marketing for the next season.  In fact, if you know the golfer would be writing a great review, ask him/her to post it on Yelp, Google+, greenskeeper.org, etc.  Any time is the right time to be working on your reputation, so don't let the season get by without making significant effort.


Continue Creating Remarkable Content ... With an Off-Season Twist
You work hard all season long to compel golfers to come to your course.  Your content runs the gambit from praising your course conditions, to talking about the great events you are hosting, to sharing about holes in one, and so much more.  Don't stop in the off-season because golf has stopped.  Share a golf joke via push notification.  Read about our last tip here of offering sales and discounts during the off-season and create content to share surrounding those. Share golf vacation info from your members---"Congrats to John Doe on his 76 at Florida Golf Course during his golf vacay, bring that game back here in May JD!"


Basically, use the app to keep your audience engaged this off-season. After all, their love of the game hasn't waned, the weather just stinks!


Stay Social All Year
Your golfers don’t vaporize during the off-season. It’s important to stay in contact with leads and customers throughout the entire year. Consider social media and push notifications your virtual, year-round storefront -- because even if your audience isn't hangin' in the clubhouse, they are certainly phone-in-hand perusing their social media feeds! That means leveraging Push Notifications, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, the whole shebang to stay top of mind year-round. You should be using this real estate to offer special discounts for next year, gather (and publish) reviews and testimonials, run contests and polls, and generate hype for the next season.



Stay In Touch Via Email, Too
So, you think I am only going to talk about Push Notifications and a little social media to push out your message during the off-season, huh?  Not so!  You have a big email database.  Use it.  You should look to ensure your spot as the #1 golf course that comes to mind when the next season rolls around, and to be in that #1 spot the frequency and reach with which you communicate with your golfers can be increased by branching out to email too.  

If you don't have one, this would also be a good off-season to begin your E-Newsletter to share with golfers as well.

Generate Off-Season Hype
The off-season will be a good time to reflect on all of the fun this season has been, and start to build the hype about next year!  Share photos and results from the club championship---start some trash talking about who will put a game together to win next year.  Talk about improvements planned for the course for next year.  Get freaking excited, would you already?!?!


Differentiate Yourself Within a Super-Niche Market
Make this off-season your time to target that one demographic you've been longing to add to your list of clients, or more than one group.  Host off-season parties for them at the club getting them excited about the place they have at your club and how you will cater to them next season.  

Imagine how much better business will be next year if you tackle this group, get the app on their phones this off-season, and begin communicating with them regularly.  In fact, if you land one new group like this, build a league or some kind of event for them, they have 100 golfers, and each one plays 10 times at your course next year at $40 each, your efforts just landed you $40,000 in revenue next year that you didn't have this year.


Offer Sales and Discounts to Locals During Slow Times
So...you thought those shirts and hats would sell out before the end of the season.  It's okay, the holidays and birthdays and all kinds of reasons to still buy gifts for golfers are still upon you, even with your greens and fairways covered in snow.  Two push notifications a month about sales you are running to close out merchandise at the club will land you more business.  Be social about these sales too and put them all over your social media feeds.  Start next season with fresh merchandise, after ending this one by making some money!  Undoubtedly Rickie Fowler will be wearing something newer and cooler next year, so this winter is the time to get rid of what he's still sporting!

Plus, if your website is set up right, you can push these sales to your site and not even have to open your pro shop to sell things, and even make a little money on the shipping to compensate for the discounts if you do it just right.

 

Anyway---hopefully you see what we are driving toward here.  Use the app, which is on their phones, in their pockets, all year round, to keep your golfers engaged and excited about your club 365 days a year.  Reach out any time for more help with these and other ideas, 858.437.9262, rob@gallusgolf.com

Featured App/Operator Of The Month, The Evergreen Club

This month we are very excited to feature a relatively new client of ours, The Evergreen Club in Palm City, Florida, and its very dynamic operator, Alix Dannewitz.  The Evergreen Club has had their app since May of this year, and they are off to a flying start in their off season, getting ready to really kick some butt with the app as they head into the 2016-17 winter season, their high time of the year.

 

I recently was fortunate to sit down and talk with Alix about their operation as it relates to their mobile app.

 

Rob @Gallus:  As a new mobile app operator, can you tell us a bit about what your initial goals and strategies were for your first year with the app at The Evergreen Club?

Alix:  Our first-year goals are to obtain the 33-55-year-old demographic market here in Palm City, and to do that we figure that our online marketing and smartphone marketing are where golfers are today. Not so much print ads or newspapers - people who are younger just aren't there.  So our strategy is trying to get them hooked on the app by having the loyalty program, the ability to book through the app, course flyovers and more.  It all has to do with the innovative ways to have fun at the club.

 

Rob @Gallus:  You and your team have done a really great job so far, especially considering you launched the app out of season and you continue daily to grow your downloads -- I mean you're well into the hundreds and you're still very new at this.  For other new app clients, like yourself, looking to dedicate or rededicate themselves to an effective way of managing the app, where would you recommend they begin or start in managing their app's?

Alix:  I would definitely start with the educational materials Gallus provides- the links, the videos, the marketing materials, are all fantastic tools to educate yourself and your staff, not only to benefit our staff but to get them to go out and use the app.  Once they know first hand how to use it they help our members and customers with exactly what to do because some older people, that aren't so savvy, having a staff member show or actually going out golfing with them and using the app makes them excited to go out and use it the next time for themselves, and to suggest it to their friends. 

 

The dashboard is super easy to use, and definitely take advantage of the webinars that you guys provide. One big thing we did was have those marketing cards, the scorecard inserts you provide, put on every golf cart. Every customer or member who comes out to play sees them for 4-5 hours each time they play.  Those alone provide great exposure for the app.

 

Rob @Gallus:  It's definitely working for you, just to add some perspective for those reading this, at The Evergreen Club, in a typical calendar year, about how many rounds of golf are played on your course?

 

Alix:  Typically we hit about 32,000 but we are now transitioning from a private club to a semi private club-this season, so  there will be a large chunk of new players, and our goal is to hit around 40,000 this year.

 

Rob @Gallus:  Just a couple more questions for you, how do you feel the app is already affecting revenue at the club, and how do you feel it will continue to in the future?

Alix:  So far the revenue driven by the loyalty program in the app has really helped us with members that come in frequently.  They want their punches.  They want to come in and  spend more to pick out that free item, so that has definitely helped.  The increased online booking through the app, that younger customers and members who don't want to talk anybody utilize by going right through the app and booking their tee times is definitely improving our goals of hitting the younger demographic here and increasing revenue along the way.

 

Rob @Gallus:  Again you're still relatively new at this and I imagine your goals are changing as you adapt and grow with the app.  As you continue to grow, being one of the more savvy business people we deal with, what are some of  your long term goals for the app?  What can Gallus do for you to help you reach this growth and what would you like to see happen as we move forward?

Alix:  Honestly, I'm very happy with everything you guys are offering.  I looked into the app before, periodically I would get an email from you guys, saying oh we have this now, oh we have that now, watch our webinar, and so forth.  I'm often surprised by something new, which is fantastic and you do often - it keeps it fresh.  Maybe the only thing that i can think of which could be a bad thing but could be a really good thing is to have a feedback area -- if anyone wants to write a review and they can post about it on there -- maybe write a little review and other app users could read those reviews.

 

Gallus is always coming out with something new and different, it relieves me from having to think! 

 

Rob @Gallus:  Actually, there are ways already we can include something just like this to provide feedback for you.  My experience has been, when it comes to bad feedback, a bad review can be one the best things to happen to your business.  It all depends how you react to it and how you handle it, and if you are viewing it as an opportunity in its constructive criticism.

Alix:  This originally happened on our facebook page on Memorial Day with some veterans who thought they were mistreated.  I went through this whole thing right through the Facebook page and gave them a free foursome and  they came back grateful for us making it right. So, yes I understand what you're saying. 

 

Rob @Gallus:  we are always working with the Gallus Think Tank here, and I'm certain we will have a big announcement of something new at the PGA show this January.

Growing Downloads As The Season Ends, Or Is About To Begin

From where we sit right now with our 600+ golf courses we work with, it is an interesting time of year.  So many of you are looking into your last 6-8 weeks of your season, while the rest of you are prepping for your season to begin.  Either way, downloads are key, and NOW is the best time to have as many as you can get.  If you are heading out of season, it keeps you connected to your golfers during your down time.  If you are heading into season, it helps you build a stronger year.

Here are some simple methods to grow your downloads in bunches:

  1.  In the dashboard of your app, there is a button labeled "Promote".  There are numerous resources and suggestions on that page, including graphics you can download to print or use online, a link to a video commercial for your app you can share, links that go directly to the app stores for you to link to, an email template, and more
  2. Visit this previous post about FLASH Tournaments at your course to drive downloads in bulk: CLICK HERE
  3. Set up Loyalty/Rewards Programs in your app, and then promote the program.  Watch this video to learn more:  CLICK HERE 
  4. Promote the Monthly Tournament Series as a way to increase repeat play and provide your golfers with a month-long competition with prizes provided by us: CLICK HERE

 

Any other creative ideas, and any help you need, reach out any time: rob@gallusgolf.com or 858.437.9262

Featured App/Operator Of The Month, Northlands Golf Course

Starting this month, we are replacing one of our Weekly App Tip's each month to share with you a Featured Course App and that course's operator to highlight what has been working for them.  In our first month ever, we have Gary Nedergard from Northlands Golf Course, a municipal course in Vancouver, BC.

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  • Published the app in March 2012
  • To date, 9,567 downloads
  • Approximately one-third of all rounds played are booked through their app
  • From inception of the app, $2.75 million in green fees booked through the app at an average rate of $56 per round 
  • Average of about 48,000 rounds per year played at the course

 

 

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Gary Nedergard, Northlands Golf Course

The success Northlands has had with the app can be directly attributed to their team, and their leader Gary Nedergard.  Their recognition of the capabilities to drive revenue they have with the tools of the app has driven this.  Upon launching the app they immediately had their entire team embrace the app, and from there getting their customers to do the same became easy.  Just like any investment a club makes in its future, Northlands has treated the app as a key piece of its long term success.

I sat down and had a great conversation with Gary recently about the role of their app for Northlands.  Further below you can listen to our conversation, but here it is in text for you:

Rob @ Gallus Golf:  "Tell me a little about your experience with the app, how customers have embraced it, and what role it plays day to day for Northlands."

Gary @ Northlands:  "We embraced it right off the bat, as soon as we got wind there was an app available that people can book tee times right on their phone, we jumped all over the opportunity.  We like to think of ourselves as being on the forefront of trying new technology and trying to do things differently from what other golf courses are doing, and as soon as we saw the app and how well it worked with our booking engine, we immediately saw opportunity.  It's so hard today to communicate with your core golfers, and as a municipal, public golf course with no membership base, and when people tend not to read emails as much any more, and print advertising is just not effective enough, so we immediately thought when we saw the app, 'you know what, let's give it a try.'  

We knew it was going to be successful, but our customer base here embraced it right off the bat.  We had our staff, along with the promotional materials from Gallus, begin talking about the app right away.  We would show our customers 'it's so simple and it's free, just download it right to your phone.'  We put the QR codes everywhere, our starter was telling people to download it for the GPS, and right from day one it has been just outstanding."

 

Rob @ Gallus Golf:  "Do you think that's been a key for you then, getting your staff to 'buy-in' and make sure you're increasing customer awareness of the app?"

Gary @ Northlands:  "Exactly it has.  To this day, I think we are in year 4 with the app, even though our power carts have GPS screens on them, which are pretty slick, we still promote the app to everyone to download.  We are about a 60% ratio of riding to walking course.  We are constantly letting people know, this is not just for GPS, this is for specials, access to last minute discounts, traffic notifications, again, just communicating with our golfers in general, we let them know the app is the best way for all of that.

 

It is not intrusive, it's not an email with people not opening them as much any more, considering them pretty much junk mail.  So our staff to this day, even with a good core, loyal base here, we are still getting faces we have never seen before each day.  I hear our staff saying all of the time, 'oh, by the way, if you don't have our mobile app and you plan to play here, it takes just a few seconds to download', and they do it right there at the counter.

 

So, the staff does have to buy in, but I know I have been talking over the years with other operators interested in the Gallus app, and one of the first questions they ask me is, 'how did you get your staff to buy in?'  I would reply, 'There really is no buy-in.  That's part of their job, telling people about this great tool we have.'  So at every access point, the counter, the starter, the marshall, on our website, just so many avenues, you have opportunities to drive it home to the customer to get the app."

 

Rob @ Gallus Golf:  "Tell me, Northlands, typical calendar year, how many rounds of golf?"

Gary @ Northlands:  "We budget for 48,000.  Our high mark was 52,000 back before the crash, or before Tiger crashed his vehicle into a tree!  With weather being such a factor, we have averaged about 46,000 over the last 5 years."

 


Rob @ Gallus Golf:  "So it looks like based on the numbers I know, about one-third of your rounds are being booked through the app then?"

Gary @ Northlands:  "That's right.  I would say about 80-85% of all rounds booked are done online or through the app.  We do still take phone calls, but our online booking rate has been that high.  Even before the app we may have been a bit high compared to other courses, but since we got the app up and running, BOOM, it took off big time, and this just proves that simple technology works.  Once you put your information it, it is a quick three step booking process, and that is with a booking engine we consider 'clunky' as it is right now, although we are looking to change it."

 

Here is a screenshot of the push notifications and the dates they have sent them over the last two months (click on it for a larger view):

 

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PLAY THE VIDEO BELOW TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW WITH GARY IN ITS ENTIRETY

 

 

 

Better Managing Your Time

Did any of you really get into the golf business to have to spend your days navigating social media marketing, click through rates, and blog posting?!?!  

I didn't think so.

I would like to introduce BOOST, a complete online marketing solution from our team of highly skilled marketing professionals. You can click on the flyer below to get a larger view.

Recent BOOST customer Key Performance Indicator metrics:

  • Social Media Followers, up 800%
  • Social Media reach, up 8,846%
  • Social Media Engagement, up 296%
  • Players Card Sales, up 45%
  • iOS Downloads of their app, up 400%
  • Android Downloads of their app, up 2,000%
Boost.jpg

 

 

 

The Metrics Of Giving

As a bit of a follow up to last week's tip, this week is some food for thought on what you are giving away and what it can net you.  A lot of you may be living in fear of giving away golf, and if last week's tip showed you anything, it is that you don't have to give golf away for your loyalty program to be effective.  That said, let's follow along with the numbers below based on giving golf away as rewards in your loyalty program.

 

The following numbers are an example of what could be with a successful loyalty program.

 

  1. In June 2015 you had 10,000 rounds played and gave away ZERO of them because there was no Loyalty program involved.
  2. In June of 2016 you have 12,500 rounds played, and with those additional 2,500 rounds played you can attribute 70% of them to growth because of the Loyalty program, or 1,750.
  3. If you had 25% of your Loyalty participants earn a free round for the month, and you have 400 participants, that would mean 100 Free rounds would be owed.
  4. If the COGS on a round is $25, then this program for the month cost you $2,500
  5. The additional 1,750 rounds if you averaged only $45 in green fees on each of them would get you a gross increase in revenue of $78,750
  6. If you take the COGS for those 1,750 rounds out of that $78,750 and also take out the $2,500 COGS on the free rounds, you are still left with a gross profit on the rounds gained of $29,500, meaning you are basically spending $2,500 to grow gross profit by $29,500
  7. Further, there are intangibles that will only show over time with this kind of program---for example, developed behavior patterns of golfers ONLY choosing your courses to play at, extra revenue driven from 1,750 rounds of additional golf plus the 100 Free rounds where they will spend money while at the course also---this equates to 1,850 more opportunities to sell merchandise, food, lessons, range balls, cart fees, etc., and don't discount the amount of Goodwill this will create among your clients
  8. Another thing to consider with the 25% benchmark for rewards earned is the 75% or higher failure rate.  Is it okay with your customer base as a whole to make efforts to win something if the feeling about the program becomes that it is something unattainable?  I am not sure what the benchmark for that feeling would be, but if it was 10%, meaning 90% failed, then you potentially have 360 of 400 participants who are walking around a little discouraged with your golf course and considering your competition more than they should be.

Make $$ on Your Loyalty Program, and Give NOTHING Away!

 

The new Loyalty/Rewards program is great.  Having spoken with many of you, we are aware that choosing the program and what to give away has been a struggle for some.   So, what if you were PAID to have the program, and didn't have to give away anything from the Golf Club??

HERE'S THE PLAN and the thought behind it:

Small businesses constantly make efforts to acquire new customers.  They are willing to spend their advertising dollars to do it.  Advertising can't guarantee that someone will actually come and patronize your business.  However, with this plan, your customers will have a reason to become a customer of a business local to your area.

 

What we are proposing is to have a local business purchase from you the naming rights to your Loyalty program.  Follow these steps to make it happen:

 

1.  Partner with a local business for your Loyalty program providing them the Naming Rights for the program.  The investment you require from your partner is up to you, but for this blog post's sake, let's call it $500.

 

2.  Come to terms with this business on what you will be offering as a reward and how your golf course customers will earn the reward.  For example, "With every 7 rounds of golf played, receive $15 credit at Joe's Tacos!", or "With every 5 rounds played, receive a complete Platinum upgrade with your next Car Wash at Stars and Stripes Auto Detail".

 

3.  Name your program accordingly to help your partner, for example, the "Golfing for Tacos" or similar for any other business partner, and now your partner has a button on the homepage of your app for the Loyalty Program

 

4.  Include in the package for this business a pop up that appears during the round of golf 

 

5.  Set up a GeoFence Notification around Joe's Tacos advertising the program

 

6.  Start promoting it to your clients

 

The net results are this:

  • Your customers earn rewards that drive loyalty to your club, but cost you nothing to provide to them
  • You actually get PAID to provide this service to your customers
  • The sponsoring business for a low cost is reaching out to and acquiring many new customers in a very targeted market, and is also creating a top of mind awareness among your golf course clients without necessarily having to give up any rewards.  For example, I am craving tacos or my car is filthy, just played your course, haven't earned any rewards yet, but where do you think I am going to go to get my Taco fix or car washed?

Ideas & Tips for Loyalty/Rewards Programs

 

A couple weeks into the availability of a Loyalty/Rewards program, and with some very solid feedback from some of you, we would love to share some ideas and suggestions based on what we have seen and heard.

 

Tip #1:  Set Attainable Goals.  Launching any program that requires your customers to be engaged should compel you to position them to succeed.  Your customers enroll in your new Loyalty program, get excited about it, begin to participate, and then quickly realize they won't ever earn the rewards, they will quickly become disillusioned and the desired effect of increased Loyalty will actually result in exactly the opposite.

 

Tip #2:  Match Your Loyalty Programs to Internal Business Goals.  Use your new Loyalty capabilities to drive traffic to areas of need within your business.  For example, the restaurant at your club has introduced a fantastic new menu for this season and you're excited to debut it and increase revenue.  Launch a program that earns your patrons punches for levels of dollars spent -- "For every $5 spent in the restaurant, receive a star, and when you reach $100 total spent you will be rewarded with $20 on your next dine-in experience."  Some courses are also using the Loyalty program to drive traffic to their driving ranges, pro shops for merchandise sales, and of course to increase rounds of golf played.  Get outside of the typical golf operator box if you want with these programs because you have complete autonomy in what you set up.

 

Tip #3:  If You Don't Want to Give Away Golf, But Want to Build Around Rounds Played, Find Another Reason to Keep Them Coming Back.  Just because you build a Loyalty program based around a certain number of rounds of golf played does NOT mean you have to reward your golfers with a round of golf to build their loyalty to your club.  If a golfer is choosing where he/she would like to play on any particular day and the opportunity is there to earn some reward, any reward, by playing your course, the likelihood they will choose to play your course increases.  A program could be as simple as this: "Play 5 rounds of golf in the month of June, and with every round played after that until the end of July receive a complimentary hot dog and soda."  This drives frequent play for the month of June, and then when given the choice of where to continue to play over the course of the next month, the golfer is motivated to come back to your course, AND you still get to charge him for golf, only giving away about $1 for the hot dog and fountain soda.

 

Tip #4:  Promote Your Program.  Now that you have it, talk about it.  Put it in your monthly emails you send, post all about it on Facebook, have some fun and make a video about it and share it all over the internet, send push notifications out about it, and most importantly, make it a mandate that your staff talks with every customer about it.  It's not any good if you keep it to yourself!

 

FINALLY, it doesn't have to be perfect.  Don't be afraid to follow these tips and launch something just to get it out there and get your customers participating.  For so many of you who are at the beginning of your seasons, your clients are building their patterns for the year right now, take advantage of this and get them engaged and Loyal now.

 

As always, reach out to our team for help if you need it.  You can call my office direct at 858.437.9262 or email our team at support@gallusgolf.com