Event Magazine Article: Problem Solving
Pasha from Golf Event Magazine
this series of Marketing articles, the Big Five Marketing Tactics:
Direct Sales, Direct Mail, E-Marketing, PR and Advertising have
been discussed at great length to help planners increase their
membership and attendance and for golf courses to fill their tee-sheets.
if it’s still not working? What if your membership
is still down and your tee-sheet looks like a ghost town?
It might be time to realize the overall truism of any successful
early bird might get the worm, but the second mouse gets
To be the
second mouse, sometimes it’s best to look things over a second
time and make some tactical decisions.
a second look at the situation, research the causes of the problems,
list all the possible solutions and select the best possible solution.
Many times, golf pros and tournament directors are focused on
the tournament teeing off that day, instead of the tournaments
that have not been planned yet.
months upon us, many courses will be starting the planning process
for budgets, sales and capital budgets that are due in the fall,
but many look at their 2009 tee-sheets and tournament schedule
and see some full days and many dates that need some
immediate business. Now is the time to look at those dates
and see what can be done now to fill them.
tee-sheets and increase business, the first step is to realize
that you can use all the staffers at your course or company and
design a better plan, using everyone’s input.
way of planning as a team is by hosting a “charrette”
(No, we’ve not moved to France) It’s pronounced “shuh-ret”
and it is a brainstorming session among all the stake-holders
for a golf course. You can invite the owners, managers,
pro-shop staffers, beverage cart staffers, greenskeepers, caddies
and bag staffers to the meeting. It’s best to have a variety
of staffers there, because the charrette works best when you get
different backgrounds and opinions, not just the usual ones from
the Tournament Director or General Manager. The goal of the charrette
is to have the all the staffers, managers and owners share in
the problem-solving effort and become part of the solution.
schedule a charrette, be sure to send out a note, explaining that
you need everyone’s help in driving new business.
In the note, tell the invitees how many rounds were forecasted
in 2008, how many will actually be consumed in 2008, how many
are booked for 2009. You might include a list of the tournaments
that are currently booked.
when you schedule a charrette, it’s important to let everyone
know they have to come prepared to talk about a single topic,
improving sales. Make sure you allow several days
to a week from scheduling the meeting to the meeting day, to allow
people to prepare for the topic, and for you to make sure they
come ready to participate.
has to be a fun, enthusiastic, professional and goal-oriented
addition to the Marketing process at your golf course.
Make sure you invite lively, sharp and involved staffers so that
it becomes a learning and team-building event along with a business-building
strategy. The moderator, whether it’s you or someone on
your team, should be a strong speaker and very upbeat and encouraging
to the attendees.
the following questions for everyone to complete and bring their
answers to the meeting:
What works to bring in tournament business?
What do our golfers say they like about the course?
What’s standing in our way to having a great 2009?
If you owned the course, what are the top 3 things
you’d do to increase tournament sales?
answers written on a flipchart and have the attendees discuss
them—you’ll get some amazing answers from the least likely people,
so be prepared. There have been meetings when the
most insightful comments have come from the greenskeepers and
snack shop staffers, so be sure to write everything down.
things along, you’ll want to lead the discussion into Sales and
Marketing topics, and try to get everyone to contribute their
ideas on how to increase sales. The best way is to
discuss how your course works on the Big Five Marketing Tactics:
Direct Sales: What are you doing now
for direct sales? Are you calling the following groups on
a consistent basis:
every group you have had this year and last year and have them
re-book their tournament;
you start a BYOG program: With a “Bring Your Own Group”
program, you give every staffer a cash reward for clubs, associations,
non-profit and service groups that they refer to the golf course;
Call the HOA for any senior neighborhoods nearby—many seniors
are active golfers and can play on weekdays;
Call the area high schools and colleges—your course should
host any intramural or intercollegiate tournaments—each student
has at least two parents, so you can get immediate business from
Call any universities in the area: call the
Dean’s office of any school in the university and you will find
an alumni chapter and a fundraising tournament waiting to be booked;
Direct Mail: Have the
attendees of the charrette write an article for the members’ newsletter.
Your members and golfers will know your staffers much better than
they will know the Tournament Director or Golf Pro, and they will
enjoy seeing their name and photo in the newsletter.
In one meeting, a beverage cart staffer brought up how she had
never seen any members pictures on the website. Every
golf course has dramatic fairways and manicured greens but if
you want to fill them, you need photos of your members. Check
your website and at least half of your photos should be people
shots. Make sure everyone at the meeting knows how to access
the website, you might review it with them at the meeting to make
sure everyone knows what is featured.
Does every member of the charrette belong to an organization?
Are they active in their community and in industry affiliations?
Does every staffer have a business card, not only with their name,
but with the name, e-mail and telephone number of the Tournament
Director on the back? PR on a personal level is much more
effective than sending out press releases and can drive new business.
This area is particularly interesting to golf staffers —it seems
everyone wants to be the next J. Walter Thompson. Show samples
of the current advertising and ask your staffers what they think.
Is it effective? Should there be additional advertising?
What are some good outlets that can drive sales? Good suggestions
here might include church bulletins, HOA newsletters, the classified
advertising sections of the paper and employee newsletters from
area employers. The idea is to get your staffers thinking
about ways to get involved in increasing sales.
ideas flying around the room, it’s very important to have someone
taking notes that can be reviewed later on. You’ll
also want to refer to the notes as a tool to get the better ideas
on a schedule and a budget for the following year. A key
to a successful charrette is to make sure every participant is
recognized and their input is used. Be sure to send out
a summary note on the charrette, and give credit in the marketing
plan for any actions that are came up during the meeting.
the real value of the charrette is when you deliver an exceptional
level of business as a result of planning and executing the meeting
and specifically using the ideas that come out of the process.
ideas from your caddies, teaching pro’s and counter staffers can
help make 2009 the best year ever. It allows the entire
team to take a second look at the business situation and helps
them contribute solutions to the problems facing your golf course.
sure beats being that first mouse
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