Knowledge Library

Reap the rewards of dynamic pricing

Mar 12, 2020

Better Revenue Management and a Streamlined Operation

Credit for inventing “customer journey” as a service concept goes in part to a Swedish airline executive, Jan Carlzon, who also introduced the world's first separate cabin for business class. The “journey” metaphor went on to become a core idea for anyone who serves the public.

Golfers booking tee times online begin their journey before they actually arrive at the facility. When the reservation can be made with ease—and price options can be factored into the decision—that customer is off to a satisfying start. As dynamic pricing is used more and more in the golf industry, golfers are viewing it as the new normal and operators are appreciating its advantages.

You can see it in practice at Stonewall Golf Club in Gainesville, Va., where Kyle Backers is the head golf professional. Tee times there—as everywhere—are perishable assets that draw fluctuating demand based on weather, day of the week, time of the day, competing leisure options and multiple other factors. Pricing dynamically downward to sell times in low demand and dynamically upward to capture top dollar for times in high demand is basic logic, as Backers sees it.

“It’s how the hotels and airlines and sports teams do it,” says Backers, “so it’s pretty much expected by anyone who is looking down at their phone and trying to schedule something they want to do.” When Stonewall began pricing dynamically, the clientele barely mentioned it, much less complained about it.

Not all dynamic pricing is created equal, according to those who work with it every day. A golf course might choose to initially use it in the off-season only, or in-season but only midweek, or in some other limited fashion. Nick Hall, a Plus Specialist within GOLF Business Solutions who works with Stonewall Golf Club, has watched the revenue management picture brighten for his partner golf course there. Hall generally sees courses move from partial use of dynamic pricing to full use. Even then, the price matrix on the computer screen can end up showing quite moderate variances in dollar amount.

You can adopt dynamic pricing and still actively manage rates. For Backers, the days when he handled the tee sheet himself were marked by considerable hesitancy. “Having Nick, our specialist, make our price adjustments turns out to be more effective,” he says. “When it was up to me, I was too concerned about making a mistake.”

A basic goal of this digital tool is to increase utilization and maximize revenue, according to Hall, but you do it based on objective data. “Dynamic pricing is not a blunt instrument,” Hall says. “The parts of the week or day that have shown high utilization are tested and often get price-adjusted upward.” He refers to this as “challenging the ceilings” on price. Not long ago at Stonewall, a tee time that was very much in-demand was booked at $11 more per round than a comparable tee time was in previous years. Backers certainly took note of it. “It was a cool thing to see,” he comments. “That foursome of golfers had a choice to buy the time or not and they wanted it.”

Studies show that giving consumers an array of understandable options speeds up their purchase decisions. To the extent the price-selection factor contributes to more people booking online, that’s absolutely a good thing. Having golfers provide their contact data when they book digitally makes database-building more efficient and it changes the atmosphere in the golf shop as the customer journey continues and players check in.

“One thing I love about dynamic pricing is the way it frees you up to connect with the golfers, getting to know them and making sure they have a great experience,” says Backers. “If I didn’t have GOLFNOW running our tee sheet and managing it in a way that brings the most golfers out here, I’d be sitting at the computer doing it myself—and not doing as good a job.” Even merchandising gets a potential lift, according to Backers. “There’s more time for customers to look around and more time to check whether they might need golf balls or a glove or a shirt,” he reports.

Consumer experiences that are “frictionless” are a holy grail of 21st-century marketing. Booking golf using digital tee sheets that are dynamically priced fits with that paradigm. And it fits with what Kyle Backers sees as a new kind of motivation for the golfer of today, versus what he witnessed earlier in his career.

“It used to be a big deal to play the most expensive course, or the hardest course, and impress your friends that you did it,” Backers says. “Now people want to get a decent deal on their green fee, make a hassle-free reservation, enjoy their round, play music in the cart, have drinks after, and just keep it fun.” When he describes a day on the links that way, it sounds like an enjoyable journey indeed.


Market yourself with video

Mar 11, 2020

Fact: Your Golfers Are Visual and Social

It’s no longer enough to just attract new golfers, but the savvy golf course operator also employs strategies that also build relationships to keep them coming back. Sounds like common sense, right?

An innovative breakthrough a generation ago, “relationship marketing” now has become commonplace. Nowadays, course operators are considering the golfer “journey.” It’s important, of course, that golfers buy a tee time from you, but what are some of the methods you should be employing to leverage those purchases to create long-term relationships?

That’s what John Brewer Jr., General Manager of Split Rock Golf Club in Orient, Ohio, has been thinking about for years. With the advent of easy-use handheld technology, one of those ways he’s discovered is to incorporate short videos as a high-powered, highly effective tool in that effort. Teaming up with his GOLF Business Solutions Plus Specialist, Melissa De La Paz, Brewer has been planning, producing and posting weekly videos, then tracking the results and continually refining strategy.

"A local company that does video production and marketing for small businesses made a presentation to us that included some of the results they could deliver, in terms of click-throughs and likes and so forth,” says Brewer. "The numbers were basically the same as what we’re achieving on our own, in our work with Melissa, so that was very satisfying to see.”

An outsourced firm may be able to deliver video content that is more slickly produced, but for the team at Split Rock that doesn't seem to matter. Golfers who follow “The Rock” on Facebook and enjoy the videos don't mind Brewer’s simple approach.

“We're doing this to start a conversation with our customers and see where it leads," says Brewer." It's personal. It’s not fancy in the least, and maybe that's why people come into the shop and start talking about our videos and ask us what we’re planning to do next.”

All marketing and selling should conclude with a call-to-action—that’s the accepted wisdom. But in relationship marketing the action isn't necessarily a purchase. In 2019, Brewer worked with de la Paz on a video promoting a used-ball donation drive that resulted in some 20 golfers showing up with buckets of shag balls that had been gathering dust in their garages.

“We had an unexpected range ball shortage and I know for a fact that half our players have a big stash of scuffed balls they can’t seem to toss out," explains Brewer. “We put out our request via video and got a great response. Everybody was talking about it—that's the whole point anyway, the back and forth interaction.”

Mike Hendrix, Vice President of Clubhouse Solutions, agrees completely with the Split Rock concept of video that is home-cooked, folksy and sincerely personal. The point of it is pure connection, not communication of the sort a marketer would use to convince consumers they should change cell phone providers or have their home checked for termites. Getting your home checked for termites might be a necessity but, unlike playing golf, it’s not something you actually want to do.

“When you are selling golf," says Hendrix, “you're basically inducing a person to do the thing they want to do. They want to engage with their favorite activity in their favorite environment. So, let’s just get the engagement process started—and video is the tool for that. It’s natural and easy to consume video—especially on your smartphone, which is where so much content gets consumed these days anyway.”

Led by Hendrix and Clubhouse Solutions Specialist Gabriela Vaughan, the GOLF Business Solutions team produce Clubhouse Bulletin, a rapidly growing video newsletter customized for private clubs as a way for them to connect with members. In this case, the homemade look and feel isn't appropriate, yet there's still a need for a warm, upbeat and personal tone. The natural ease and charm of on-air personality Bailey Chamblee supply those qualities.

By using broadcast-quality production elements, with the GOLF Channel Newsroom as a backdrop, a Clubhouse Bulletin segment holds a viewer’s attention as it delivers engaging content—news, events and important updates. Other production values include professional course imagery, a scrolling information ticker and club-specific branding in each video.

“Club GMs and officers will view a sample segment and assume there's a high cost to get involved," says Hendrix. “But the cost of entry for a club to add this powerful communication tool and really build engagement is very reasonable.” While it's generally a means of connecting with and retaining the existing member, Clubhouse Bulletin enrollment also allows a club to create an outreach video showcasing it for potential new members.

Humans are wired to process information visually––it's how our brains work. Human golfers are wired to enjoy their experiences at your course or club by personally connecting with the people who provide them with service and a great product. Short videos inviting viewers to come and enjoy themselves will make a strong impression—and produce business results that make everyone happy.


Instructor Plus offers the teaching Pro expert consultation, proprietary management tools

Mar 11, 2020

What's good for the golf course is good for instructors, too.

The past decade has brought waves of sophisticated technology to help dedicated golf instructors diagnose swing flaws, communicate with students, design drills with biofeedback and generally bring a scientific process to the lesson tee. What instructors haven’t been offered—until now—is support to address the business challenges and missed opportunities that have long frustrated them.

The remedy to all that is Instructor Plus, a comprehensive and customizable technology platform and service for golf instructors. Inspired by GOLF Business Solutions’ Plus management and marketing service —currently being used by nearly 1,400 golf courses nationwide—Instructor Plus combines expert consultation and proprietary management tools. It’s all designed to help instructors improve and sustain their businesses in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

“We know that facilities that have high-quality teachers see more play and more spending from the golfers who engage with their instruction programs,” said Lorin Anderson, vice president of Instruction for GOLF Channel. “Instructor Plus creates continual opportunities to grow this engagement through professionally managed marketing while freeing up the instructor to spend more time on the lesson tee, where he or she is most valuable.”

There’s been enthusiastic response to Instructor Plus in its first year. The technology is one of many business-to-business platforms within the GOLF Business Solutions portfolio. Golf coaches and teachers have been embracing the package, made up of a dedicated marketing agent with a unique suite of technologies. It’s a unique opportunity for teaching professionals to access the expertise and tools they need to customize and boost their marketing, sales, social media and back-office functions. An obvious bonus benefit is having time freed up to concentrate more fully on their students.

The technology behind Instructor Plus is designed to benefit any instructional operation, from sole proprietors to multi-instructor, stand-alone facilities. Instructors can choose between a full-service option or a do-it-yourself Toolkit, which provides the instructor with a customized, mobile-friendly website, robust instruction-scheduling software, an email marketing tool and a coach-student communications app.



Videos

Boosting events business with GOLF Business Solutions

Sep 19, 2019

EagleSticks Golf Club’s Kelly Morrow is boosting his events business with the help of GOLF Business Solutions’ Advanced Marketing Program – or AMP.

Learn more about our Advanced Marketing Program, HERE.


Medinah’s culinary team delivers at BMW Championship

Aug 22, 2019

While fans at last week’s BMW Championship kept a close watch on the FedExCup leaderboard, they probably paid little notice to the show being staged by the culinary staff at Medinah Country Club – a performance that proved just as compelling as the action on the course.

As the host golf course, Medinah’s culinary operation, led by Executive Chef Michael Ponzio, efficiently and seamlessly planned and served more than 33,000 meals throughout the week at the Chicago-area club. While the best golfers in the world competed for the win and a top position in this week’s season-ending TOUR Championship, Ponzio’s team catered to their every culinary need, while doing the same for their club members, and a large contingent of news media.

The sheer volume of just the food prep, alone, for the week was mind boggling. This included making more than 5,000 bagels from scratch, smoking more than 2,000 pounds of meat in their on-site smokers and hard-boiling more than 6,000 eggs. The team worked in multiple shifts around the clock.

“We had an incredible week and I learned how far our team could be pushed, especially considering many of the curveballs thrown our way,” Ponzio said. “To produce that kind of volume from scratch was quite an accomplishment. Food is such a big part of major golf events, and we truly executed a showcase of what we call the ‘Medinah experience.’”

Ponzio’s prep for the week was captured by GOLF Channel cameras and he was interviewed by Morning Drive co-host Gary Williams during the show’s Wednesday telecast on location at Medinah. The Chef also provided a look inside the Medinah F&B operation as part of the original GOLFPASS series, My Daily Routine, which is currently available as part of a vast video library accessible to anyone with a GOLFPASS membership.

Ponzio is keenly aware how golf course culinary operations – both big and small – can benefit from a group-buying program to help them succeed, like the Ride serviced offered by GOLF Business Solutions. The source of Ride as a procurement difference-maker is the immense purchasing power of Comcast, the $84 billion company that owns Xfinity, Universal Studios and the NBC networks, including GOLF Channel. Currently, more than 700 golf courses use Ride to save anywhere from 6 to 35 percent annually on agronomy, food-and-beverage and business supplies.

Medinah joined the Ride program in May and leaned on the service to help the club prepare for its big week. “US Foods was very helpful and accommodating,” Ponzio said. “Their online ordering system made things very simple and gave us the time-saving power to search and order on our own, without having to call a rep and wait for options. For example, if I wanted a snack mix, I could go online and search multiple options and just pick what I wanted.”

“We really did our homework leading into the week,” Ponzio said. “We talked with other chefs who have hosted big golf events before and worked with local farmers to bring in some really cool food options that created special, unexpected moments.

“It definitely had an impact,” he said, “I’ve never seen food talked about so much before during a golf telecast.”

To learn more about the GOLF Business Solutions food and beverage group purchasing programs, CLICK HERE.


Transitioning to Ride is a seamless golf solution

Jul 24, 2019

Group purchasing delivers bottom-line savings, period. Joining or transitioning to the Ride service offered by GOLF Business Solutions can be easy, seamless and stress free. Hear why from Matthew O’Connor, executive chef at Bonnie Briar Country Club in Larchmont, N.Y.

To learn more about our Ride program, CLICK HERE.



News

GOLF Business Solutions now offering PGA TOUR LIVE tournament coverage to golf and country clubs throughout the U.S.

Feb 07, 2020

ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 7, 2020) – Golf and country clubs throughout the U.S. now have access to PGA TOUR LIVE through a new partnership with GOLF Business Solutions, which will provide golf facilities with live, featured group coverage of every PGA TOUR event on the balance of the 2019-20 PGA TOUR schedule.

Golf clubs using DIRECTV as their television content provider can showcase PGA TOUR LIVE through a dedicated channel inside their clubhouse, restaurants, locker rooms and other areas within the golf course property. The service is available immediately, giving course patrons access to round-by-round, morning and lunchtime tournament action before national television network coverage begins.

PGA TOUR LIVE, which also is available to consumers as a streaming service through NBC Sports Gold, is the only service to offer live tournament action prior to national television coverage. PGA TOUR LIVE also became available to bars and restaurants for the first time in January through a partnership with Joe Hand Promotions.

Golf clubs can learn more about PGA TOUR LIVE or purchase the service for their facility by visiting Clubhouse Solutions website HERE. Members of GOLF Business Solutions’ ClubBuy group purchasing program receive a 15 percent discount on pricing.

About GOLF Business Solutions
GOLF Business Solutions is a complete spectrum of business-to-business services offered by the family of golf brands within the NBC Sports Group portfolio and managed by GOLF Channel. Building off the recognition and trust of the GOLF brand, the comprehensive offerings of GOLF Business Solutions are designed to meet virtually any need of businesses interested in investing in golf, helping them to become more efficient and effective. Included are services offered by GOLFNOW, GOLF Advisor, Revolution GOLF, GOLF Academy and GOLF Am Tour.


-NBC Sports Group-

Media Contact:
Dan Higgins
GOLF Communications
407-355-4018
Dan.Higgins@GOLFchannel.com


GOLFNOW'S G1 management technology now helping more than 600 golf courses improve efficiency and customer service

Feb 05, 2020

Milestones show rising demand of G1 cloud-based management platform

ORLANDO, Fla. (Feb. 5, 2020) – Now transacting at more than 600 golf course facilities in North America, GOLF Business Solutions’ G1 technology continues to build on its reputation as the market’s most advanced all-in-one business management platform.

Approaching its second year in the marketplace, G1 has become GOLF Business Solutions’ most-installed, cloud-based business management platform. This milestone comes on the heels of a successful showing at the 2020 PGA Merchandise Show, where GOLF Business Solutions representatives hosted more than 400 meetings with golf course operators and managers during which the G1 technology was discussed.

“The interest in G1 is at an all-time high,” said Jeff Foster, senior vice president, GOLFNOW. “We’re proud of the milestones being reached but, more importantly, the ways that G1 has helped our golf course partners enhance the golfer experience. The improved control and mobility that G1 offers not only is helping operators manage their facilities more efficiently, but it also has the tools that are helping them improve customer service.”

With G1, tee sheet, point-of-sale, social media, customer booking engines, inventory, marketing campaigns and other functions integral to efficient operations are managed by golf course staff, anytime and anywhere.

“As a large resort business, we appreciate the flexibility and mobility that G1 provides,” said Jimmy Bills, director of golf at Arizona Grand Golf Resort. “In addition to seamlessly integrating with all the components we use within the GOLFNOW platform, the features within G1 have helped us streamline the management of our operation and allow us to transact from anywhere on our property, which really has improved our guest experience.”

Improved data collection is a key characteristic of G1, which also provides tighter data integration and integrity across multiple tools. Also, G1 provides better insight into golfer booking and spending patterns, which helps operators better customize their marketing messages.

“Golf course operators have expressed these as some of the more important features of G1,” said Charles Kingsbaker, a senior sales specialist for GOLF Business Solutions. “For example, it’s critical to ensure a golfer’s contact information is consistent across every platform used by the golf course. Also, the ability to use your data to identify the spending characteristics of golfers within your population can help tremendously with future planning.”

“The innovative technology has been hugely beneficial,” said Joe Dahlstrom CEO of Paradigm Golf Group. “From the iPad tee sheet at the first tee that updates real time along with our ability to proactively manage pace of play, deliver food and drinks, along with the personalized data collection that allows us to track our customer buying patterns and preferences.”

Another important included benefit for golf course operators using G1 who previously used locally installed software, is eliminating the need to manage updates manually and worry about server issues. The cloud-based G1 technology installs regular updates, new features and other improvements automatically, with no time or action required from golf course staff. These management functions also can be used across multiple golf courses within the same portfolio, which is a great time saver and allows more staff focus on the guest experience.

About GOLFNOW
GOLFNOW is an innovative technology company that creates seamless ways for golfers and golf courses to better connect. GOLFNOW operates the largest online tee-time marketplace in the world, offering 3.5 million registered golfers a variety of ways to stay connected to their favorite courses and the ability to easily book tee times online and via mobile devices any time of day. GOLFPASS members receive special playing perks through GOLFNOW, including tee time credit and rewards, with GOLFPASS+ members benefiting from waived booking fees, cancellation protection and 25% more rewards points. GOLFNOW is an extension of the GOLF Business Solutions’ suite of digital businesses, owned by NBC Sports and managed by GOLF Channel. With offices in Orlando, Fla., and Belfast, Northern Ireland, GOLF Business Solutions also provides technology, support and marketing services to more than 9,000 golf courses in 24 countries around the world.

-NBC Sports Group-
Media contact:
Dan Higgins
GOLF Channel Communications
Dan.Higgins@golfchannel.com
407-355-4018


NBC Sports Group's Clubhouse Solutions launches website, providing new resource for private golf and country clubs

Feb 04, 2020

ORLANDO, Fla. (Jan. 13, 2020) – Clubhouse Solutions, the newest division within NBC Sports Group’s GOLF Business Solutions family of brands, today launched a full-service website dedicated to the success of private golf and country clubs.

Resources offered by the Clubhouse Solutions website will tap into expertise gained by an organization that has helped more than 9,000 public golf courses around the world become more efficient and effective through innovative technology, services and best-in-class customer support. It also will build on assets gained from NBC Sports Group’s recent acquisition of EZLinks Golf, whose expertise serving high-end private clubs will elevate Clubhouse Solutions’ ability to maximize partnerships.

“We’re excited about the launch of the new Clubhouse Solutions website, which now offers our private club partners easy access to information and a full menu highlighting some unique assets, including custom technologies and services focused on member retention and acquisition,” said Mike Hendrix, vice president of Business Services, GOLF Business Solutions.

Users of the Clubhouse Solutions website also will be introduced to ClubBuy, a group-purchasing organization used by hundreds of private clubs in the golf industry and beyond. ClubBuy members, who can use the service for free, now have an opportunity to turn their food and produce expenses into credits for technology and services purchased from Clubhouse Solutions.

About GOLF Business Solutions
GOLF Business Solutions is a complete spectrum of business-to-business services offered by the family of golf brands within the NBC Sports Group portfolio and managed by GOLF Channel. Building off the recognition and trust of the GOLF brand, the comprehensive offerings of GOLF Business Solutions are designed to meet virtually any need of businesses interested in investing in golf, helping them to become more efficient and effective. Included are services offered by GOLFNOW, GOLF Advisor, Revolution GOLF, GOLF Academy and GOLF Am Tour.

-NBC Sports Group-

Media Contact:
Dan Higgins, GOLF Communications
407-355-4018
Dan.Higgins@GOLFchannel.com



Downloadable Resources

Chapter 6 - Procurement

The Playbook - Chapter 6

Feb 20, 2019

Time to think outside the procurement box

Group purchasing brings new profit possibilities to golf operations. Courses can stock up on products they already buy, as well as others they need at a significant cost savings. With significant cost savings and ability to earn points toward tech, satisfied golf courses see enough savings to make a difference. 


chapter 1

The Playbook - Chapter 1

Jan 17, 2019

Who doesn’t want to book more rounds and generate more revenue?

And while you’re at it, let’s solidify your position in your marketplace and start operating at peak efficiency. Private club, daily fee, municipal or resort course — all have the same goals in these competitive times. Finally, there’s one go-to source to help golf operations learn and activate best-practices throughout their operations.


The Playbook - Chapter 2

The Playbook - Chapter 2

Jan 17, 2019

Best practices for having the right product at the right time for the right price.

What started with the airline and hotel industries is spreading to restaurants, theaters … and golf courses. Dynamic pricing is the inventory strategy courses are using right now to maximize revenue.