11 More Ways Your Golf Course Can Boost Revenue Right Now

Posted by Alex Lavoie on March 21, 2018

The reality for golf courses is that sometimes revenue can be lower than expected during the season. The good news is that there are a number of different tactics golf course managers can apply to limit the chance of a financial loss.

Green fee play, memberships, food & beverage, and pro shop sales are the four main levers that can lead to an increase in revenue at a golf course. Of course, within each revenue stream a number of specific opportunities exist for golf courses to produce more revenue. If you aren’t seeing a lot of revenue at your golf POS, we highly recommend putting these 5 strategies into practice:

1. Sell packages

If you’re not a fan of discounted tee times, you can always package your tee times with other items. Food vouchers work wonders if you have a snack bar or restaurant. They get customers in the door, and 9 times out of 10, they will spend more than what the voucher is worth. The cost of giving away that food item will yield a good return as you get someone to book a round and also potentially spend more at your clubhouse on drinks or more food.

You can also offer a preferred rate on carts if your customers buy 10 prepaid rounds upfront. This hybrid option caters to customers who are not quite willing to purchase a membership but are frequent golfers nonetheless. Selling more prepaid rounds will ensure that you get repeat visitors that you can build a good customer relationship with, and eventually convert to members. That golfer's commitment to 10 rounds also means that you're keeping them away from competing courses and on your fairways. Also, because golf is a social sport, they're probably going to bring someone with them for each visit, further building your customer base.

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2. Custom Memberships

This new trend, primarily in private and semi-private clubs, empowers existing members to personalize their memberships according to their own lifestyles and needs. Use your online tee sheet to create a list of member services your facility offers, price them in your golf POS software, and allow your members to pick and choose the services they want. This option offers the most flexibility to prospective members and ensures they are only paying for what they want and nothing more.

Memberships can be expensive for the average golfer, so giving customers the ability to pick and choose which services they need will make your memberships much more appealing. The amount of people that are willing to spend thousands of dollars a year on golf is diminishing, and the key to remaining successful lies in giving better accessibility.

 

3. A well-designed loyalty rewards program

Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? It states that on average 80% of your revenue comes from 20% of your customers. Unfortunately, identifying your VIPs can be difficult. Thankfully, you can make your golf POS software do the work for you. Start a loyalty program for your members by setting up simple milestones based on their activity at the club. A well-thought-out loyalty program will create a cult-like frenzy within your member base. Take note, those rabid fans are your 20%.

On average, a returning customer spends 67% more than a new one. This, coupled with the fact that gaining a new customer is 7x more expensive than retaining an existing one, means that your primary focus should be increasing loyalty. Implementing a well-designed rewards program will encourage higher spending and give golfers greater incentive to buy exclusively from your pro shop. You can do this by giving out points for purchases, which can then be redeemed on a round of golf or a session at the driving range (or anything else you can think of).

 

4. Branded Merchandise

Try creating a promotion where customers who’ve played X amount of times this season get a discount on branded merchandise (windbreakers, balls, or umbrellas). Best of all you essentially turn them into walking billboards and ambassadors of your facility. Having your logo on hats and shirts that people are wearing is a huge opportunity to gain exposure and improve brand awareness. The money you miss out on by giving the discount is much smaller than the profit you'll generate by selling more rounds.

Another way to use branded merchandise to increase profits is by offering them as a free gift when customers spend a certain amount in your pro shop. According to a study done by the BPMA, 79% of people who receive promotional products would do business with that company again. You'll experience great return on investment by giving away something that costs you very little in exchange for a few hundred dollars worth of business.  Not only are you encouraging direct spending on products in your shop, but you're also nurturing a long-lasting relationship that will lead to loyal visitors. Using a great marketing program to attract locals to your course only goes so far if they only come once. Instead, you should focus on keeping the same people coming back weekend after weekend.

5. Sponsorship

If you’ve been making stellar merchandise sales over the years, you can approach your merchandise vendors for a potential sponsorship. Banners, countertop displays, and preferred rates on merchandise are all forms of sponsorship and can easily create another source of revenue. The best part about these kind of sponsorships is that they require very little effort on your part, all you need to do is set up the display!

If your golf POS software tracks data you can use it to pull historical sales data and leverage those numbers when you approach vendors. Keep in mind that you're asking someone to give you money or a better deal in exchange for exposure, so you need to convince them that your golf course is worth the investment.

6. Add An E-Commerce Page To Your Website

Your website gets high value traffic every single day. Consider how anyone who lands on your website is likely to be in the market for golf related products. This captive audience can be monetized with an E-Commerce page that sells pro shop products directly.

Use this strategy to offer a high level of service with in-store pickup, and use customer data collected in your golf POS to help position and sell products online and in-store. Knowing a customer's history before they walk in to the store to purchase, or pick up an online purchase is valuable both for service and selling. 

An E-Commerce opens up an avenue to provide creative discount through online bookings and with a well optimized website complete with call-to-actions you'll be able to steer online traffic towards spending money on new products.

7. Open up an online booking channel

If your golf course isn't booking reservations through a website, you need to get on this trend right now. Most golf courses in your area offer this kind of feature, and golfers expect this kind of service. Plus, a good online booking tool reduces time spent on the phone in the pro shop. Let your staff focus on what they do best, selling product not handling reservations.

A good online booking tool should be easy to use with a simple interface, and will capture a reasonable amount of customer data if they fill out a reservation. Ideally, this data should be stored and disperse through out your CRM and POS, and track customer interactions after they book a round. The tool itself should fit nicely on your site while remaining non-intrusive and aesthetically pleasing.

8. Partner with distribution services

Distribution offers golf courses the opportunity to get their tee times in front of a wider audience. While these services may charge a price for the exposure, the return on investment of using these services is often worth it. Just make sure you have a fair deal with your service provider.

Ultimately, a distribution deal should give you the opportunity to attract new golfers who may not have previously considered your operation. Just make sure you have a customer loyalty program in place to win over new customers and ensure repeat visits.

9. Send an email blast to a highly targeted list

Inboxes are too noisy for unthoughtful and impersonal emails. With modern email marketing software you can create highly targeted and personalized emails that send automatically based on customer interactions. Once your campaign is set, use the email marketing tools to analyze email performance, so you can iterate and optimize performance. Automated email campaigns make your life easier as a manager and continuously nurture your audience with relevant information.

10. Implement a self-serve POS system

Reduce inefficiency in the restaurant, make your frontline staff's life easier, and provide a cutting edge to your patrons with one simple solution. The self serve POS has grown in popularity and it isn't limited to big chains and institutions. Modern cloud POS software is capable of providing a cutting edge self service solution that works for casual and even fine dining.

Your customers won't have to wait on staff to make an order or pay the bill. With a table side or kiosk POS system you give your guests the freedom to choose how and when they get service. Plus, you can reduce the costs that arise with hiring frontline staff, while reducing the chance of communication errors between the wait staff and the kitchen.

11. Offer golf by the hole and self serve course access

Building on the self service concept, you may want to introduce a self service version of your golf course that opens up the ability to choose how many rounds a customer wants to play. Selling golf by the hole is great because it allows your customers to determine how long they want play, outside of the traditional confines of the 9 and 18 hole round. It's worth noting that, within the history of golf, the 9 hole round is a relatively new concept that was created to reduce the amount time it takes to play the game. 

Modern software makes it possible to build upon this idea, and gives the player the freedom to play and pay for however many holes. This means a player can choose to play only their favourite holes, or challenge themselves with only par 5's. It's up to the guest how exactly they want to experience the course.

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Whether your facility is private, semi-private, public, municipal, or resort, you have to rely on multiple streams to generate revenue. The key is to use all these streams in tandem, don’t focus solely on one. When choosing your strategies, try to combine different departments of your facility as much as possible. This way, your customers get a seamless experience, which leads to happier golfers and a happier bottom line.

There are a lot of ways to increase revenue at your golf course. You just have to take a look at the four main revenue sources of revenue at your golf course: the pro shop, restaurant, green fees, and memberships. Do a brainstorm with your employees and get creative! Customers always appreciate it when they can tell you are putting effort into your promotions and they’ll reciprocate by opening their wallets.