Golf courses are complex operations composed of many departments with unique needs. To accommodate these needs and ensure maximum productivity, you might have considered integrating better technology into your operation. While we live in a world of technological prosperity, the sheer number of solutions in the market can make it confusing when comes the time to select a software provider.
In the golf industry, there are essentially two schools of thought when it comes to course management software: open and closed systems. While both sides claim to be the best solution, we’re here to clear the air and show why open API systems and closed systems are not equal.
Cloud-based open API systems use a best-of-breed approach where the best and most specialized software suites are brought together on the same platform. This means that instead of building in-house systems, the provider finds the top software providers on the market and brings them together into the same platform using an open Application Program Interface or API. This ensures that golf managers are working with the best tool possible for all operations. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be working with multiple systems that function independently from one another. In reality, each integration is connected and they function as a single unit with information flowing seamlessly from one system to the other.
A closed system, on the other hand, is defined as a software suite that the provider has built from the ground up and doesn’t allow outside integrations from any partners, hence the term “closed”. While this might seem perfectly fine to you, this approach brings considerable limitations regarding flexibility and performance. These disadvantages are mainly caused by the size and manpower behind the creation, maintenance, and updating of these software systems.
To put things into perspective, in a closed software system, one single company is attempting to provide the same quality tool as multiple companies like Mailchimp, Lightspeed and Quickbooks combined. Golf management software companies that remain closed, lose focus on their core product (tee sheet, tournaments, member management) and ultimately, this lack of focus results in weaker tools with limited functions.
That being said, if you want to give yourself a chance to prosper in the golf industry, you need a software that will grow with you. Being able to adjust capabilities and scale smoothly without any roadblocks will allow you to be ahead of the curve year after year. In order to grow, here’s 5 key integrations to look for in an open API management software: Point of Sale (POS), Customer Loyalty, Marketing, Dynamic Pricing, and Accounting.
Whether you are managing your pro shop, restaurant or front desk, it’s important that you keep track of your revenue streams. To help, you’ll need a powerful POS system that allows you to manage your whole operation.
Leading providers such as Lightspeed are multi-functional and offer features that were once inaccessible to smaller organizations such as inventory management, employee management, house account management and much more. Operators that use these advanced integrations can make use of eCommerce capabilities and start an online store so customers can purchase online and pick up in-store before their round.
Customer loyalty is a great way to drive traffic at your golf course and support marketing activities. A common mistake golf managers make is creating a universal system for all their golfers. You need to be mindful of the different expectations and habits your golfers, to build a custom plan that will appeal to their needs. To do so, use customer loyalty software to track consumer behaviors and bucket golfers into different consumer profiles such as member, budget golfer, regular customer, and top spender, for example.
As this process can be time consuming, having a strong software to support your initiatives is essential. Companies such as Kangaroo and Data Candy offer solutions that provide custom plans to meet your exact needs. Loyalty programs are a great way to enhance a person’s experience at your facility. Unfortunately, consumers are looking for more than a good experience, they want to feel valued in a relationship that has their personal interests in mind. If you’re able to create this bond, you will increase your chances of repeat visits and people will feel a sense of belonging at your club.
In the past, golf course marketing was a challenging endeavor considering limited budgets and reliance on print ads. With modern golf marketing software, properly segmenting and targeting your consumers has never been so easy. In an open system, your CRM is filled with data stemming from your multiple integrations which provides valuable customer information. Using this information to reach the right person with the right content at the right time will increase brand awareness and customer engagement.
While social media has an increasing importance in the golf industry, email marketing remains the main tool. Email marketing software such as MailChimp offers in-depth reporting, free templates and connects to your CRM to update customer information. After building your campaigns, the platform will automate the process so all you have to do is monitor its performance. Email marketing is important for golf courses so make sure you have a tool that has the power and flexibility to properly execute your marketing initiatives.
Let’s face it, operating a golf course is more expensive than ever and attracting the next generation of golfers in increasingly difficult. You need to find creative ways to increase revenues without compromising the golfing experience. A possible solution to this issue lies in the Airline and Hotel industry who have used dynamic pricing to survive the economic downturn of the early 2000s. Since then, organizations of all sizes have utilized this strategy to maintain financial health.
Unfortunately, this isn’t simply a question of having different prices for weekday and weekend or morning and evening tee times. This strategy revolves around the idea that the value of a tee time fluctuates up to the expiration date according to the market’s willingness to pay. Weather, historical trends, time of day, local events and tournaments in nearby golf courses are only some of the 25 variables that influence demand. Being on the lookout for such information will allow you to capture the maximum value from popular time slots and push people to book in advance.
Let's be clear, dynamic pricing isn’t about charging less for your tee times. This model is all about charging more for sought-after time slots and adapting prices for unpopular ones. Yes, you might perceive lowering certain tee times as devaluing the strong brand your golf operation has built over the years but we don’t agree with that logic. Look at it this way, a golfer who buys a round at discount still generates more revenue than no golfer at all. Plus, the money the player saved is often used elsewhere such as the pro shop or restaurant which represents a complementary sale you might not have generated at full price.
While accounting is for many golf managers the most boring part of their job, it’s arguably the most important. Its complex nature and raw manipulation of numbers can leave many going home with a migraine. To reduce error and put a smile on your face, accounting software such as Quickbooks offer easy-to-use solutions to assist you in inventory tracking, invoices, payroll and many more.
This prevents you from transferring data through numerous excel files and potentially losing important numbers or making a mistake. The accounting platform connects directly with all other integrations such as your POS and tee sheet to make sure you’re working with the correct numbers. It also gives you in depth reports that provide overall picture of your club’s monetary health. All in all, your golf course's accounting software will save you hours every week which you can utilize to better serve your employees and especially, your customers.
All my life I’ve been passionate about two things, the outdoors and sports. This is why I love golf, it harmoniously brings these passions together. My objective is to share knowledge and help businesses prosper in the golf industry. Do you have interesting ideas to share? I’d be more than happy to hear your thoughts via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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