dicount golf stigmaShedding the Discount Golf Stigma

Shedding the discount golf stigma is a topic on many creative minds in the golf industry…especially here in Myrtle Beach. In a time when the golf industry is still struggling to find a way to survive the over build of courses during good times, the subject of deeper discounts always comes up in the “how to sell more golf” meetings.

How It All Began

The idea of selling unused tee times at a discount for limited time slots actually came about (1998) before the slow down began. It was a great idea at the time. That discount mentality was fueled by the slowing golf economy that soon followed. 48 hour (last minute tee times) rates became the norm, and golfers were virtually trained to wait until the last minute to get the best deal. Golf courses began doing anything possible to get (some) revenue of empty slots.

The Result

Ten years of discount golf has resulted in many golf courses that still struggle to keep the courses in the best of possible conditions. To make matters even more difficult, the package-driven golf economy in Myrtle Beach has added more pricing pressures as packagers attempt to increase their margins at the expense of the courses.

The Challenge

Golf courses have to operate at a profit, period. A profitable golf course presents a better product to the market. The challenge is to sell as much golf as absolutely possible at a price that allows the courses to provide the best possible product.

The Solution

Discounting already discounted tee times to fill empty slots is a mentality that has run its course (in my opinion). A better solution is to exercise sound marketing and selling skills rather than further degrading our product. We should eliminate the use of “48 hour rates “and “last minute tee times” in ALL marketing material, on booking engines, and in even normal discussion. We;re glad to see many courses and other entities adopting this approach.
There are some that will disagree with this approach and say that selling that unused tee time at any price is revenue they would not have had. The actual result is further prolonging the long-term price per round recovery that would yield much more revenue. The solution begins with eliminating short-term campaigns that promote long-term damage. The solution includes creating long-term campaigns that result in more profitable golf courses. Selling that unused tee time is still possible through creative campaigns that do not teach golfers to wait…for the best deal.

The golf courses should establish a minimum accepted price that allows them to operate at a level to continually increase the quality of their (our) product. Allowing ANY package company to influence price is the proverbial “tail wagging the dog” syndrome that will only accelerate the inevitable race to the bottom in which we seem to be engaged. If ANY packager lacks the selling skills to sell a great product (like ours) in an awesome golf destination (like ours), they should (perhaps) choose another line of business.

Discount Golf Capital

If all the powers in our industry are OK with becoming the discount golf capital of the world, then no change is needed. That is exactly where we’re headed. There are  (Major) players in the industry that promote this concept for their benefit under the guise of helping the courses sell unused tee times. Companies like this, and anyone with the discount mentality are not part of the solution….they in fact, are part of the long-rang problem (in my humble opinion).

Price Selling Versus Perceived Value

Selling price is, and has always been a most basic and easy selling strategy. It does not, and has never benefited product value. It is, rather, a technique utilized in the absence of true selling skills. Bottom line…price selling is damaging to value. Damaged value leaves no room for profits. We’re in a race to the bottom. Together we (those of use engaged in selling golf) have to create a more viable solution. That solution has to begin with eliminating the discount strategy that has taken over our business.

From the Internet

From some research we started over 3 years ago, we’re glad to share that searches for the term “discount golf” is down nearly 20%. Three years ago searches were higher….and usage of this term was higher. Makes one go …Hmmmmm…

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