Golfer Using ResortSuite's App on a Tablet

4 Ways Technology Will Help You Optimize Your Golf Operations

Preparing for a New Season

As a new golf season approaches, you will no doubt be focused on getting your course ready for returning golfers. And while your focus may be on the external (greens and fairways, pro shop, signage), it is important not to forget less visible aspects of your business that need attention. Making sure your course remains competitive, and offers guests a superior experience, requires you to always be on the lookout for opportunities to improve. Here are 4 ways to get the most out of your golf operations.

1. Implementing a Yield Management Strategy

Yield management is a way of selling the right inventory (for example, tee times) to the right customers (resort guests, members, public players) at the right time and right price. It is a strategy typically used in the airline and hotel industry to maximize profitability. Golf courses, like hotels, have characteristics that make them ideal for implementing yield management:

  • Perishable inventory (unbooked tee time represent revenue that is gone forever)
  • Varying periods of demand
  • Take reservations in advance

Two yield management techniques you may be able to apply to maximize profitability are dynamic pricing (altering prices based on time and/or capacity) or dynamic availability (making certain tee times only available for a specific type of golfer).

Implementing an effective yield management strategy will require you to examine your current profitability relative to:

  • Time of year
  • Day of the week
  • Time of day
  • Player type (resort guest, member, public play)
  • Resort occupancy or course capacity
  • Additional spending (pro shop, restaurant, bar)

ResortSuite partner courses using the GOLF module have access to reports and tools that help create and monitor an effective yield management strategy.

2. Managing Play with a Tablet-based Golf Starter App

A tablet-based golf starter app provides more of your staff with access to player information and allows them to use it wherever they are on your course. The app provides your team with access to the tee sheet and up-to-date information on player statuses (booked, arrived, canceled, etc.) and payment statuses for all bookings. It also allows them to track pace-of-play and make notes on players, wherever that team member is on the course. This mobility and visibility is essential for maximizing course efficiency and ensuring un-hindered guest enjoyment from out-of-date information or late/slower players.

With a properly integrated property management system, notes collected on course and in other areas of the property provide you with opportunities to further personalize guest experiences.

Example: A course marshal sees that it is a guest’s birthday and that they usually order a specific beer at the end of their round, can greet them with a “Happy Birthday” while on the course and let them know that a pint of their favourite beer is waiting for them in the clubhouse after their round.

3. Empowering Guests with Online-booking and a Mobile Property-branded App

Guest behaviours and preferences have changed dramatically with the changing capabilities of technology. Guests now do more of their ordering/shopping online, from coffee to big-ticket purchases. They expect to have these same capabilities in all aspects of their life, including when they golf. It is now essential for courses to offer guests the ability to book online in real-time. Most guests are either at work or school during the day. If they want to see available tee times for your course, they want to see it immediately, and they want to reserve tee times when it is convenient for them. They do not have the time to call during the day or wait for a response to their email inquiry. An online booking engine allows your guests to book tee times 24/7 based on real-time course availability.

On the course, a mobile app can support your property by catering to people’s impulsive nature:

  • A golfer who overhears a recommendation about a dish at your restaurant from another player can use your app to book a reservation at your restaurant immediately
  • A player who ‘tweaks’ something mid-round can use your app to book a treatment for their ailment at your spa at the end of their round
  • While having a great round, a golfer may decide they want to play another round that day or the next. Your app will allow them to book that round while still on that high
  • Mid-round, a club member may want to jump on to their profile to review their handicap and scores from previous rounds

These are opportunities your property might miss out on if they need to be booked by logging on through a mobile browser or called into your front desk.

4. Personalizing the Guest Experience

Your relationship with your guests does not have to end when their round does. You can stay top-of-mind with your guests when they are not on your course by offering value-added content. Guests will provide you with personal information, such as email address and preferences if they know they will receive value in return.

Here are some ways you can provide value to guests between visit:

  • A golfer who overhears a recommendation about a dish at your restaurant from another player can use your app to book a reservation at your restaurant immediately
  • Send links to videos that help them with their swing (note: if you are using integrated property software, you may have notes on a guest’s specific struggles, especially if they have taken lessons at your course or mentioned it during a visit to your property’s spa)
  • Provide exercises they can do to limber up between visits
  • Create a newsletter that keeps them up-to-date with course news. This could include changes to the course, information on new dishes available at the restaurant, and upcoming events that may interest them

Staying Informed of Technology Innovations

Reviewing your operation and technological innovations should be something you schedule periodically throughout the year. Being ready to take advantage of opportunities will lead to increased profitability and a guest experience that keeps golfers coming back. While this can seem like an arduous process, it is a lot less painful when you have a partner with industry experience and the right software solutions.

Contact ResortSuite for a live demo and see why The Old Course at St. Andrews, Shangri-La Country Club, and Sea Island have chosen us to help them manage their courses and guest experiences.

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