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March 2019

Time to Modernize

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By Alex Lavoie

Change isn’t always easy. When it comes to golf, there is a gap between modern technology and old thinking. Some boards are skeptical that a modern solution will make things better at their course. They may not believe the costs are worth it.

Many golf operators understand that a change is needed, but meet resistance when they go to the board. Convincing the old guard presents a tough challenge, especially when the board is composed of long-time members who see their course through a certain lens that doesn’t always align with modernization.
 
As managers, to build your business, it’s critical to help these members understand why change is necessary for survival. When you face a tough board, here’s five things to keep in mind:

1 Highlight long-term benefits, because often people don’t embrace change in the short term.
Investments take time to pay off. It can take a up to one year to see the benefits of a change, so find ways to highlight the long-term benefits.

Typically, the benefits golfers immediately feel start with an enhanced booking experience and simplified house account management. However, once your staff is on board, golfers will experience better service in the pro shop. Show them how it will be easier to book the perfect tee time, with the ideal group, for a better price.

2 Let them know it may be new to us, but this is the direction our industry is going and we can’t get left behind.

No one wants to fall behind the curve. Show the skeptics how other courses in your area have modernized, and benefitted from these changes.

It’s about more than just showing flashy dashboards or a sophisticated automated email marketing system. Give real examples of how the new system can be used to simplify processes, generate better results, and ultimately drive more revenue. Make sure to show how you plan on protecting the culture your board members value, while modernizing and improving efficiency.

3 Explain that your current way may not be the best way and you need to lean on tech companies that understand the needs of today’s modern golfer.

It’s no secret that golf courses are struggling to attract millennials and keep them golfing at their facilities. Modern tech companies offer enhanced capabilities to offer relevant customer loyalty programs that young golfers want.

Modern golfers are looking for a technology rich experience, no matter where they go for entertainment.

4 New tools come with a cost; you’ll spend money to make money. Research shows time and time again that the added investment is worth it. When your pro shop staff can stop focusing on answering the phone, and instead focus on selling product, you generate more revenue. When your emails are personal, timely and targeted, you get better engagement and more revenue.

When your customers have a mobile app in their pocket you get a better marketing channel that will generate more online bookings.

The list goes on and on, but it takes time to reap the benefits.

5 Your customers are hungry for change and we need to listen.

Your customers are looking at modernization. With a plethora of cost effective and proven options, it’s time to take a serious look at making a change. If you don’t, you risk becoming irrelevant and inefficient.

To prove your customers are ready for a change, run a survey that asks what new technologies customers are expecting. Hard data is always best to convince a sluggish board.

Alex Lavoie is marketing manager at Chronogolf. For information, go to pro.chronogolf.com/blog

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