That was my belief as well, for a long time actually. See, I’ve been in the golf industry since 1995 and been a PGA Member since 2001. As recently as 2 years ago I was convinced that all golfers were price sensitive, or at least 99% of them. What we have proven over the last 18 months is there are far more time sensitive players than we had ever given the market credit for. Problem was, we were only catering to the price sensitive golfer, thus leaving very little room for the time sensitive player who, believe it or not, was willing to pay us MORE than we were charging for the privilege of playing at the time he or she wanted.
Back when I was working behind the counter as a golf professional I used to get that golfer, who would walk in on a day where the weather was less than favorable. “You gonna give me a discount since the weather is so bad today” he would say. “I don’t know, can I charge you more when the weather is 75 and sunny”? I would ask back. And we would both get a good laugh.
What I have come to realize is, the answer to my question is YES! We’ve all seen it, when the weather is good, especially unexpectedly so, we are packed with players. When demand spikes like that we, as operators have to be positioned to capitalize on the increase in demand. Unfortunately, most facilities have posted rack rates and can never charge more than what is posted. Not us, we don’t have rates… Crazy? or Genius? What do you think happens on those unexpectedly warm days in the winter? We get more than all our competitors. How do we do it you may ask? We have a dedicated team of professionals working for us on a daily basis, pricing our golf utilizing a powerful new pricing strategy, Dynamic Pricing.
Dynamic pricing has been around for years, used in the hotel, rental car, and airline industry. Most recently, many teams in Major League Baseball have adopted the methodology. As usual, the golf industry has been slow to react to the powerful pricing strategy. Every course has day parts, or segments of their day where they see high demand. But instead of taking advantage of those instances they just set their rate and forget it. “It’s almost spring, time to set our rates for the next 9 months”, sound familiar? Well no more, imagine a world where your rates can fluctuate as much demand… up and down. Imagine a team dedicated to evaluating demand every day, multiple times per day, and setting your prices accordingly. Your number one revenue source is greens fees and cart fees, it deserves the proper attention, not just a couple times a year.
When you have a team focused on selling your golf, not just waiting for golf to sell the sky is the limit.