golf rewards programs

Golf Operator Spotlight - Ryan K. From Westminster National Golf Course

It’s always great to get to have a conversation with our course operator partners, and recently I was able to sit down and talk shop with Ryan Kraushofer, GM at Westminster National Golf Club in Maryland.  Ryan and Westminster have been with us since April of 2015, and I started with Gallus in March of 2015, so he is one of the first new partners I had the privilege of working with, and some of the things Ryan has done with the app have been very outside the box creative.

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Here’s our conversation in a nutshell:

 

Rob:  Talk to me about your career in golf. What got you started and what is your favorite part of the industry?  And why are you good at it? How did you get started?

Ryan:  I got started in golf when I about was 12 years old.  I would go to the golf course with my parents and hang out with them in the evenings and ride around the course. My dad started working in the Pro Shop and snack shack area, I would hang out with him. Then my parents would play golf and I would hang back in the clubhouse. I would do things around the club, like take out the trash, do some other odd jobs around the course and make $20-30 bucks, and I thought “this is kinda a cool gig”. Luckily my middle school was right around the corner and during my time in middle school and high school in the evenings I would go to the nearby course to help out with landscape and just work as much as I could.

 

Ryan is well respected for his agronomic skills and has been called upon by the USGA to help set up US Open Courses as recently as 2015 at Chambers Bay.  He’s pretty humble about it, but I am fairly certain in Opens since he would have been there as well had it not been for little things, like getting married!

 

Rob:  Having been in golf then your entire adult life and more, what do you see as the biggest challenge golf as an industry has experienced in the last 5 years?

Ryan:  I think the biggest challenge is simple,  getting golfers out to play, growing the game through younger golfers and women, and keeping them coming back. For me, that is the biggest challenge.

 

Rob:  Do you feel we have turned a corner and succeeded, or will that continue to be a major challenge for courses and the game as a whole?

Ryan:  I think so. I think initiatives like what Topgolf is doing will continue to help. In my experience, they are reaching a point that they are getting people interested in going out to the golf course. I have heard some people that say Topgolf hurts the industry but I don't believe that. I think they are doing great things, and I think as a professional in this industry you're always going to have to do something to get new people involved.  It’s not just the growth of our games, but sustaining our careers.

 

Rob: I think that is the case with any business.  If you're not looking to grow your customer base you're probably planning to fail.  

Let’s talk about technology and your mobile app - what impact do you think they have made on your course and your business?

Ryan:  Technology is changing all the time. From agronomics to golf balls, to GPS, to golf balls with GPS!  And smartphones - people are always on the phone on the golf course and instead of looking for ways to end that, we should look for ways to capitalize on it because we are not going to separate people from their phones. We have found they're looking for ways to keep score when playing, whether it's with our app or another technology,  golfers are using it in their games.

There is nothing wrong with technology. It is a change and change is often tough, but people will adapt and change and if your business doesn’t adapt along with them, people will pass you by.  As I mentioned in your first question, Rob, the challenge in our industry is getting people to golf, so accommodating their lifestyles and giving them something to enjoy in that mix is an important part of answering that challenge.

 

Rob:  You have done some pretty unique things with your app, for example selling sponsorships in the tournament Portion of the app to help fund your investment.  I remember you did the same thing with the tournament software registration, where you were selling hole sponsorships through a player registration page you altered to make work this way for you.

Can you talk about some of the ideas you have had and things you're doing to get outside of the box and separate yourself from what others are doing?

Ryan:  It's always tough thinking of different ideas. We will often run a Skins competition through the app.  It’s a quick and easy way to get people engaged, downloading, and using the app because it is something they understand and have been doing for years anyway. Skins competitions are the biggest thing we do in the way of getting people to download.

As far as selling the hole sponsorships I try to do that every year. It's a nice way to offer businesses a new way to reach people, more than just a sign in the ground. It may only be $200, but when you carry that out over a handful of businesses and a number of tournaments, it’s an easy way to cover the investment of our app each year.

The Loyalty programs you have built for us are working very well too.  We are punching loyalty cards every day. So those golfers are using the app every day and they are seeing the hole sponsorships, playing in the Skins games, keeping and posting scores - each way contributes to us being connected to our customers and is worth the effort to separate ourselves in a challenging business like golf.

 

Rob:  Let’s talk briefly about a challenge I hear way too often - the older demographic.  A lot of courses, ones I am afraid are going to be closing shop in the next 10 years or so without an adjustment, tell us that the bulk of their clients are much older and just won’t download and use the app.  What’s your take on this?

Ryan:  You know when we first launched the app, I agree, the older guys weren’t using it as much as the younger guys. But with the development of the loyalty program in the app, we offered free golf after 10 rounds of golf, and the older guys end up wanting the rewards so they end up downloading the app. I would say my senior group has downloaded it just to get the rewards and I think enticing them with the rewards has pushed me over the edge to using all of the other features.

 

Rob:  Any other predictions on technology in the golf industry in the next few years? Whether it's app, payments, upgrades to POS with the course?

Ryan:  You tell me haha!

Why Mobile Loyalty Works

After nearly two years of incorporating some form of loyalty programs into apps we offer, we are seeing some astounding results.  I wanted to share some statistics of not just our app, but the mobile loyalty world, in general, to help you draw some of your own conclusions about these types of programs, and as always, my team and I are at the ready to help you set your own program up, or refine the one you have.

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Before I dig into how our apps are doing, let me share some about mobile loyalty programs in general.  

Customers have choices.  Whether it is where they get their coffee each morning, what they are doing for dinner, which hotel or airline they will travel with, or which golf course they will play regularly - loyalty can be a make or break proposition for a business of any size, but in particular a small to medium size business like a golf course.  When a company with a brand as strong as a Starbucks, Jersey Mike’s, or Marriott International that can live on its brand alone is recognizing the importance of rewarding loyalty, if you are not doing the same in your golf course, you are likely missing out daily.

Further, when a low margin business like a Starbucks (maybe making $1 per purchase per customer at times) is willing to provide a discount or freebie for loyalty - you have to stop and take notice of that when you are reeling in sometimes dozens of dollars in profit per customer per purchase.  

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But it’s not just the fact that brands are winning with rewards programs now - it is the fact that consumers are becoming accustomed to them and traffic to the businesses offering them is following.  In 2017, 64% of businesses that offered a loyalty program reported an increase in memberships over 2016. The majority of those cited the fact that mobile components of their loyalty programs were the largest contributors to that growth.  

Getting the program onto the device that is attached to their hand constantly works!

In a study recently, customers reported they would be further engaged in loyalty programs if they were simple to join and easy to access.  Having the program on their phone is the easiest path to satisfying that requirement.

Our statistics reinforce this:

  • In one year of offering points programs for loyalty within our apps we have had 74 clubs employ them.  These 74 clubs have accounted for over $5.3 million in spending within the programs, an average of over $71 thousand per club.

  • Further, the number of users in those programs averaged $483 each in their spending within the loyalty program

  • In addition to this, within our punch programs, 159 clubs have added one of these programs or more and they have accounted for an average of 98 participants each with nearly 33,000 punches recorded.

  • In the punch programs, 22% of the programs have been completed, meaning 1 in 5 people have been engaged enough to earn a reward, and that is early in the season that I am writing this - you can imagine what that number will be by the end of this golf season!

I could continue to ramble on about this and share more and more stats, but the bottom line is this - add a program if you don’t have one.  Promote the ones you do have if you do. Consumers are looking for them, and they are producing significant results - plus you already have the best tool to deliver it to them with your app!

Let us know how we can help!  support@gallusgolf.com

Gallus News - Gallus Proves Golfers Want Mobile Loyalty Programs!

 

Gallus Golf introduced their mobile loyalty tools for punch card programs in 2016, and followed with a points program in 2017. Since that time, there has been major growth in loyalty participation and program adoption for their partnered golf clubs. In a recent report, Gallus Golf's partnered clubs using their loyalty points tool saw a total spend of over $5.3 million since 2017. This averages more than $71 thousand per course with an average spend of $483 per participant. 

In 2017, 64% of brands reported an increase in loyalty memberships over the last year, and accredited mobile components as the biggest contributor. When it comes to marketing communications, 60% of customers said mobile app messaging is their preferred channel to engage with a loyalty program. It is commonplace today to see big brands in the retail industry adopt these mobile marketing strategies for loyalty redemption and tracking. With the abundant resources major brands have, it's no surprise they would engage with their customers through their branded mobile apps. 

"We hope these results are eye opening for the golf industry, proving golf clubs can also expect to see stronger customer engagement with loyalty programs via mobile" says Jason Wilson, Gallus Golf CEO. "The loyalty program concept is nothing new, but making it instantly available via the course app on the consumer's smartphone is a change from the traditional method. It is a common misconception that much of the golfing demographic is less inclined to adopt mobile technology. Based on these loyalty statistics, this is simply not the case." Most consumers prefer mobile over other forms of communication channels. With the continued penetration of mobile apps, wallets, and general dependency on technology this is only anticipated to grow in demand.
 

5 Ways To Use The Offer Locker This Season To Drive Additional Spend!

The 2018 Season is upon us... The days are longer, the weather warmer, and the golfers are flooding to courses after what many experienced as a painfully cold and wet spring in much of North America. Now that the weather has turned, you may be asking how you can get the most of the 2018 Season and stand out against the competition? How can my golf club attract more golfers without heavily discounting tee times via online booking services?

 

We Have Good News For You…

The beauty of having your branded golf app is that you now have an engaged golf audience, who are interested in your club, and strong potential to be a loyal customer. Of course, putting in the time and marketing efforts is essential to keeping the customer relationship alive.  Fortunately, the messaging and loyalty tools you have available with your app will help drive additional spend and increase the lifetime value of your customers!

The Offer Locker is a rewards tool with the flexibility to bring in-app deals to your customers to encourage engagement and drive loyalty. Since the inception of the Offer Locker in Fall 2017, 580 offers have been created by our partnered clubs. These offers have produced over 10,000 viewers during that short time and produced over 3,100 direct revenue driving redemptions. This equates to a conversion rate of 31%, during a time that is slower part of the season! Considering, the average conversion rate for digital marketing methods is anywhere from 2.35 - 5.31%, it's safe to say mobile marketing will drive more revenue to your club! Plus, unlike advertising on Facebook or Google, it's included with your app!

31% > 2.35% - Lets Take A Second To Think About That...

 

If you need more persuading, below are a list of more reasons why you should use the Offer Locker this season:

  • Generate More App Downloads

  • Attract Quality Customers

  • Keep App Content Fresh And Fun For Your Audience

  • Market To An Engaged Audience

  • Increase Positive Word Of Mouth

  • Promote Value-Added Packages, Not Discounts

 

This article will break down 5 ways you can use the Offer Locker tool to create value-added bundles to generate additional customer spend, and best ways to market those offers via in-app messaging.

 


1. Tournament Specific Offer

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Often times when golf clubs are booked for a tournament, they host players for the day on their course, hope any new golfers enjoy their experience and cross their fingers that they return. Now with the Offer Locker, you can proactively retain new customers by providing a Tournament Specific Offer. Depending on the golfer type, you can create something that is a deal on Food & Beverage or special on something at your golf shop.  By creating a same-day and exclusive deal to players, you will generate more downloads, customer spend, and ongoing communication post tournament. When using the Gallus Tournament Software, include these details in the tournament description and rules. Even if players are not redeeming the offer, they still have your app on their phone and now you have the opportunity to market to them!

 

 


2. Golf Packages

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When golf is top of mind, promote an investment - not a discount! By having a golf package, for example Buy 4 Rounds for $150, you are providing the golfer with an ongoing value they can use throughout the season. This in turn, lays the foundation for stronger customer connection and opportunities to upsell in their return visits via food & beverage and merchandise spending. Having an offer like this involves some discount, of course, but it’s well worth the price for ensuring return visits by new customers and opportunities for additional spend.

 

 

 


3. Summer Golf Bundles

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Use your course offerings as a way to package up the perfect Summer Bundle or Experience for your customers. This will depend on what inventory is available and what profit margins are for specific items when bundling together, but you can get creative with this!  Create a summer bundle for a hat, sleeve of balls, and sunscreen for $35. Or promote a golf package of polo shirt and $50 range card for $75. Capitalize off the season and create a sense of urgency that these deals will not last long, so your customers jump on the opportunity to redeem.

 

 

 


4. Big Ticket Items

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Often times courses feel the only way to drive spending to their club through heavily discounted offers on tee times and/or merchandise.  Although the Offer Locker has the flexibility to promote discounts on lower priced items in your golf shop, we want to suggest ways to increase spend. Get your golfers to think big picture in their investment to play this season by creating Unlimited Range Special Pass or Mid-Season Membership Special. With a higher price tag attached, there is no denying the redemptions may be lower in numbers, however, you are providing golf deals to your customers without diminishing the value of your brand.

 

 

 


5. High Season & Busy Holidays

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Use the busy season and Holiday weekends, to promote new offerings at your club. With the flexibility of the Offer Locker you can market new menu items, golf instruction clinics, Summer merchandise, and more. Want to drive more spend to your golf shop? Have an offer that is spend $100 get $10 off. With the proper in-app messaging (we will dive into that later..) you can direct your golfer foot traffic right to operations of your business that need extra attention.
 

 

 

 

 


Promote Your Offer. Here’s How:

Now that you have your offers activated in the Offer Locker, let’s go through the best methods of promoting them using our in-app messaging tools. Some of the benefits of having a branded mobile app with Gallus Golf is that you have an engaged following of customers, who you can market to - FOR FREE! Following the recommended steps below will only help in increasing the conversion rate from offer view to redemption, and more importantly, average customer to loyal customer.

 

1. Promote Via Push Notification

It goes without saying, but the first thing you should do when your offer is live, is send a push notification to your audience. This will get instant views, and if any customers receive the message at your course, it may even result in immediate redemptions. Keywords with strong call-to-action conversions are “Learn More”, “Shop Now”, “Get X% Off”, “Buy Now”, “Last Chance”, “Today Only”, among others, according to recent report by Sprout Social. If your offer is available for a month, continue to push the message every 1-2 weeks.

 

2. Welcome Geofence Message Over Your Course

In your Gallus Golf dashboard, you can create up to 20 geofence messages. These are typically placed over competing course, golf megastores, and shopping centers with heavy foot traffic. However, the most important location to put a geofence is over your own course. We call this a “Welcome Geofence” and in most cases, this will deliver the most messages to your golfers than the other 19 geofences combined. When you have the opportunity to deliver a message to hundreds of golfers arriving to your course over a weekend, strike while the iron’s hot and send them a message about your Offer Locker deals. They could receive the message while being 50 yards away from the Clubhouse, where you are promoting a food & beverage special, so the conversion can be much more effective.

 

3) App News Item

You always want to keep your app content fresh and fun, and who doesn’t like a deal?! Creating a news item is fast and simple, as well as has the effect of capturing the attention of users opening the app, as a featured banner. Be sure to guide users to “find more information in the Offer Locker” so they can review and redeem when at your golf club.

 

If you have any questions about the Offer Locker and/or need assistance in setting up a deal, please reach out to your account manager or contact us at support@gallusgolf.com.

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. 

Get Your App Ready For The Season

It’s getting that time of the year when golf season is about to begin and clubs are gearing up to open. You may be asking yourself, what can I do this year to get more value out of my golf club app? How can I grow downloads and provide a better app experience for my golfers? We are going to break down a few of our features and what content makes for an engaging and valuable app to your customers!

 

Monthly Deals

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A great way to engage your audience is to provide a special or promotion. Our offer locker tool makes it easy to create and track one-time deals you want to offer to your customers. For example, you could offer a Free Bucket Of Balls for downloading our app, Spend $75 in our Pro Shop and get $10 on next purchase, or buy four rounds of golf for $150. We suggest updating these deals each month to provide fresh and valuable content in your app! Test different offers to see what is having a positive response and feel free to reuse the following month. Having these deals exclusively in the app will drive downloads and word-of-mouth about your app.

 

Push Notifications

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What is going on at your Club this season? Events? Leagues? New monthly deals in the offer locker? 

Keep your users in the know about upcoming events and specials that are being offered. This connection to your customers will keep your Club top of mind to your customers and help you stand out when offering great deals and specials. 

You can also add a fun element by using emojis, too! In a recent study with over 2.6 push notifications, data showed that emojis drive push notification opens by 85% and conversion by 9% 😃. You can easily copy and paste emojis using the Emoji Keyboard Online. Of course, push notifications don’t have to always be used for promotional purposes. This is a fast and effective tool to get the word out on any course conditions and delays.

Tips:

  1. The frequency of Push Notifications: one push notification a week is expected and not perceived as an interruption.

  2. When to send: this can depend on the message, but research from Localytics states, Thursdays from 10 am - 1pm generate the best click-rates.

  3. If attempting to gain sign up participation for an event, send the push notification one month prior, then two weeks, and one week until the date of the event.

  4. Emojis will help increase conversion - use them! 

 

Food & Beverage Mobile Orders

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Gallus onTAP is our latest click-to-order food & beverage solution. onTAP allows customers to make orders in your app for pick up and/or delivery. This seamless ordering experience aligns with growing trends in mobile food ordering and delivery. Although food & beverage is the main operation featured in this solution, it’s functionality can be applied to other areas of your business. Now Pro Shop merchandise can be accessible for purchase in the app for golfers looking to grab new gear. If a sleeve of balls or hat is needed mid-round, golfers can initiate that order on their app and either have their order delivered to them on the course or available for pick up at the turn.

 

Add Videos To Your App

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In the age of the iPhone, it’s never been easier to create great looking videos that showcase your Clubs offerings. Simply, use your smartphone to capture images and video of club events, instruction clinics and camps, and leagues. Import these videos into iMovie or Windows Movie Maker to put any finishing touches on, such as an Introduction title and closing fade out (don’t worry, these video editing applications are free and user-friendly!). Once ready, import to Youtube and place the YouTube URL in your app. These videos should be short, up to about 2 minutes, for optimal engagement.  75% of viewers will tune in for a 1-2 minute video, anything longer you will see that number drop significantly.

 

Interactive Leaderboards

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Whether you are operating an Annual Club Championship or casual weekly league, your golfers can use the app to track their score, as well as see where their competitors are placed. This makes for a fun and interactive experience for players. Using the URL links in the dashboard, you can easily stream these live leaderboards to any TV or monitor at your facility.

In summary, there are a number of features and tools that can enhance the golfer experience and provide a connection to your customers. First, make sure all app content is up to date and use visual content to highlight your club’s amenities. Second, consider exclusive deals in your app via the offer locker or loyalty program tool. Communicate these deals and any other Club events with push notifications and geofence notifications in areas your clients frequent. Third, enhance the golf experience and grow your revenue by utilizing our tournament software and onTAP food & beverage solution.

If you have questions or need assistance in setting up any of these features - or anything custom you would like to include from great ideas of your own, please reach out to your account manager or support@gallusgolf.com.

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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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

 

 

 

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?

Setting up your Loyalty/Rewards Programs

 

It's new.  It's LIVE on your dashboard.  It's Simple.  It's going to be huge for you!

 

Introducing YOUR OWN, Custom, Branded Loyalty/Rewards Program.

 

Check out how one of our clients is branding and promoting it:

 

Here is a little more about the program:

 

PLEASE, give us a call to help you set these up in your app.  You can reach out to me directly at rob@gallusgolf.com or 858.437.9262.  Also, here is a link to watch a tutorial video for setting up your loyalty programs:  https://vimeo.com/16563422

 

NOW FROM GALLUS -- Included in Your Apps....Loyalty/Rewards !!!

Reach out to help get this set up in your apps now!

 

rob@gallusgolf.com or 858.437.9262

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