Innovation and golf are deeply intertwined. From club design and production to determining the ideal number of dimples on a golf ball, technology has been one of the most important aspects of a golfer’s game for a long time.
Recently, that same appreciation of technology has made its way to golf course management as well. Lovers of the game of golf know that getting people to the course is the best way to grow the sport, and bringing technology to the business of golf course management is one of the best ways to do just that.
Technology in Golf Equipment Manufacturing
Golf and technology have always gone together, but more often in terms of equipment than marketing. In golf, any advantage that you can get over your opponent is vital because there are so many nuances in the game.
If you know that your equipment is technologically superior, you not only have a physical advantage, but a psychological advantage as well. Golf club and equipment manufacturers are always looking for the next big thing in golf, and that desire for an edge has made its way to other aspects of the game as well.
To understand the impact that technology has had on golf, you do not need to look any further than Artificial Intelligence (AI). Many people think AI is limited to the building of robots, but nothing could be further from the truth.
In reality, the most important thing that AI does in any field is in reading and processing data. It is one thing to accumulate piles of data that would then take humans years to sift through to find any relevant trends or insights. It is another thing entirely to provide both the data and the ability to process that information intelligently. This is where AI comes in.
Customer Engagement and Tracking in Retail
While golf is a sport at heart, there is a business side to it that is just as important. If golf courses and equipment manufacturers cannot make money on the game, then there will be fewer courses to play and less equipment from which to choose. Because of this fact, engaging customers and tracking visit behavior at golf courses is vital. Understanding how your visitors spend their time and money gives golf course operators a better understanding of how to get them to come back and play another round.
At the same time, golf is an in-person retail experience similar to other brick-and-mortar experiences. While many other retail companies are able to focus their time and efforts on online sales and third-person experiences, golf is only played in person.
This creates challenges in that there are fewer ways to market the game, but also in that in-person tracking will always be more difficult than tracking customers online. Golf courses need insight into their customers’ behavior to obtain information that allows them to build repeat business.
Zenreach and Its Impact at Troon
As one of the premier golf course management companies, Troon helps golfers find and play some of the best courses and stay in some of the best resorts in the world. Ever seeking a competitive advantage, the company is always looking for new ways to utilize technology to improve the customer experience.
Zenreach has helped Troon increase their repeat business by allowing them to understand who their customers have been empirically and how to best market to those customers for future sales. They do this by measuring how frequently online targeted marketing campaigns lead to customers actually walking through their doors.
In online marketing, clicks are the way companies measure success, but it is difficult to know how often those clicks turn into business transactions for traditional retail stores. Zenreach has changed that for companies who have a brick-and-mortar presence by measuring Walk-Through Rate—the frequency at which a user who has been exposed to a piece of advertising converts to become a customer— as the primary measure of a successful campaign.
This tracking is done by providing free WiFi access to golfers in exchange for submitting their email address. Troon is then able to see when a returning visitor reconnects to their WiFi—and which marketing campaign led to that return.
Dolf May, VP of Sales and Marketing for Troon, has seen incredible email engagement with a 42% open rate (compared to an industry average of 17.8%) and 30% Walk-Through Rate. Prior to that, Troon didn’t have a consistent, measurable way to engage with golfers, encourage them to come back, and track when they actually did.
No more wasting time or money on tactics that do not work. Zenreach has allowed Troon to improve their ROI by allowing the company to efficiently market to their highest-value customers.
John Kelly, CEO of Zenreach, has been very pleased with the success Troon has seen: “We are delighted to be partnered with Troon to help them understand their customer base and drive more customer engagement and visits to their golf courses. Our unique solution of the Walk-Through Rate enables Troon and their courses to know when a customer has seen one of their marketing messages and when they have gotten onto the course.”
Focus For The Future
One of the most difficult things about getting golfers to visit your course is focusing on the right audience with the right message. Understanding those customers who are most likely to return and how to market to them is vital—and Zenreach is doing just that for golf course managers.