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November 2018

Put Out the Millennial Welcome Mat

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8 Simple Ideas Younger Golfers Want To See At Your Course

By Alex Lavoie

Golf operators are struggling to attract millennial golfers to their courses. This not a new challenge: changes in technology, millennial culture and the internet have left directors scratching their heads when trying to understand what younger golfers really want.

Attracting millennial golfers means looking at your golf operation a little bit differently. Really, it comes down to updating technological features, rethinking course culture, and choosing better product offerings. Here’s a helpful breakdown of 8 simple things millennial golfers are looking for when choosing a golf course at which to play.

1. A smart mobile application.
Millennials want to easily book tee times online through their smart phones. Encourage your golfers to book more rounds by making use of an accessible app that shows their golf history and seamlessly connects them with preferred playing partners.

With a mobile app, you also get an incredibly powerful marketing platform that allows you to send push notifications, discount green fees, and promote offers directly to the user’s smartphone. Millennials live on their phones, so don’t sleep on the opportunity to truly engage your younger clients where they’re most comfortable.

2. Automatic mobile check-in.
Let’s take the mobile app concept one step further with curbside mobile check-in. This feature allows a golfer to check in from the parking lot upon arrival, walk on the course and tee off without speaking to even one employee.

This is an opportunity to cut frontline staff costs, but it also effectively addresses how millennial golfers want to experience customer service. It’s not that millennials don’t like customer service, they simply prefer to receive it when required rather than being forced to deal with a clerk upon arriving at the golf course.

3. Interesting restaurant options.
Complete experiences are crucially important for marketing to millennials. An amazing round can be quickly tarnished by a mediocre experience at the restaurant. If your golf course is truly awesome, and we’re sure it is, your restaurant better reflect that. Look for ways to test new menu items. Hire a chef who understands what millennials desire and look to internet culture to understand what kind of food trends they’re talking about.

Once you’ve tested some new ideas, you’ll be able to measure what items were hits and which ones got the thumbs down. To do all this you’ll need a good restaurant point of sale (POS) system that can track data, link purchases to customer profiles, and provide detailed reporting on your new products.

4. Self-serve POS in the restaurant.
While we’re talking about the restaurant side of your operation, it’s worth pointing out the benefits of using a self-service kiosk. Empowering customers to enter their own orders eliminates the risk of miscommunication with staff, and the kitchen receives more accurate tickets. Streamlining the ordering process will help cut frontline staff costs, but it will also give servers more time to master the menu and better inform diners.

It’s well known that millennials like the efficiency of self-serve ordering. One study showed that 96 percent of 18-34 year olds say that having a self-serve kiosk at a restaurant is a benefit. With a modern cloud based POS, golf operators can now access technology that once was only available to airports and big box retailers.

5. Craft Beer.
Here’s a quick and easy one: Millennials love craft beer! Stocking a few household beer brands just doesn’t cut it any more. Offer a better of selection of beers and make sure the servers are connoisseurs of the new options. We’re sure that customers will love testing your new selections.

6. Ditch the formal attire.
Stuffy, outdated dress codes imposed by many courses will only continue to put off millennial golfers. Millennials are all about self-expression and when you limit them, you risk alienating them. Moreover, golf fashion has evolved! It’s ok to ditch the “no slacks, no play” mentality - Air Jordan golf shoes are worn by multiple PGA Tour players, so you can loosen restrictions, too.

7. Let your golfers play music on the course.
Sharing music with your friends is fun, and young people do this all the time through Spotify and Apple Music. With music streaming so prevalent these days, it’s not a bad idea to allow clients to play music (at a reasonable volume) on the course.

8. Drive online sales by using the pro shop as a testing center
Millennial golfers like trying out products in person, but often they are more inclined to buy online. Many courses are losing to internet giants like Amazon or used golf equipment resellers. One way to fight this is to introduce an e-commerce platform for your pro shop. Launching an online retail presence for your pro shop allows younger customers to try out products in person and then, when they’re ready, purchase online.

Alex Lavoie is marketing manager at Chronogolf. For an expanded version of this article, go blog.chronogolf.com


 

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