With a few golf resorts filing Chapter 11 and others singing the low occupancy and diminished rounds blues, I’d like to offer a few suggestions to help them once again hear that magic phrase “Cha-Ching”.
Here are five suggestions to get more golfers to visit your resort:
- Stop with premiums on your headliner course and drop the price so you can introduce the course to others that have previously been shut out. I’ve played hundreds of golf courses around the world and with the exception of Pebble Beach, Shadow Creek and a few others, no course has an entertainment value worth more than $300. These days, if I have to choose between taking my wife out for a three or four hour dinner at a top restaurant or spending three or four hundred dollars on a five hour round of golf, I’ll choose the dinner. I love golf, but in this economy you’ve got to identify your priorities, or, better still, your wife’s priorities if she doesn’t play golf.
- Let people walk and give them a discount if they do. For too long, resorts and other golf courses have gotten hooked on the easy money generated by cart fees. These resorts are like addicts that can’t stop renting carts. Interestingly, some of the most successful golf resorts right now, places like Bandon Dunes Resort, allow walking. If people want to walk, let them.
- Don’t charge kids under 17 if they’re playing with a paying adult. Too many resorts give lip service to junior golf and then sock it to them and their parents on greens and cart fees.
- Treat your returning customers royally. Find out who’s still coming to your golf resort even in the bad times and put a gift in their cart (like extra sleeve of premium golf balls, towel, hat, etc) with a hand written note letting them know how much you appreciate their business.
- Pull a Vegas. Attract golfers to your resort with extra low room rates, cheap breakfasts, big spa discounts and other attractive amenities.