How to Dominate the Outings Market

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HE WITH THE BIGGEST DATABASE OF OUTINGS PROSPECTS AND THE BEST FOLLOW-UP SYSTEM WINS!

Outings can be very profitable for your club. A wise man once said that fishing for whales made more sense than fishing for minnows. For daily fee clubs, going after group business can be a lot more rewarding than looking for 288 new players every day. For private clubs, outings can provide a welcome source of additional income.

ENCOURAGING REPEAT BUSINESS BY STAYING IN REGULAR CONTACT

The easiest and most obvious way to increase your outing business is to sell your existing clients again.
As simple as this idea is, of the hundreds of courses I have visited, only a handful do more than send last year’s outing planner for a particular event the traditional John Doe thank-you letter (and perhaps an additional postcard) some time near the start of next season.
This, of course, is not enough! Not nearly enough. You need a systematic plan to keep your club in front of outing planners regularly. Treat past clients as valued friends and do what you can to help them. Some groups like variety for their events. Even if a particular group doesn’t come every year, they will come back more often if you keep in regular touch.

Follow up with calls to each of your outing contacts at least three times a year after their event at intervals of:
90 days
180 days
250 days

But your phone calls are only part of your new contact program.Your existing outing database of past clients should be contacted on a continuing basis throughout the year with a series of letters,postcards, and calls—and small gifts, depending on the value of the business. You cannot afford for another course to gain their attention or business. Stay in touch monthly! That’s right, 12 times a year.

If you follow this step, and this step alone you will guarantee yourself more business. Just make sure the letters you send are creative!

If you contact your past clients every month, you will generate more than your share of inbound outing calls. In fact, if your database is big enough (over 400), you might well generate enough inbound calls to meet your outing goals.

If you stay in touch with past outing clients each month, the resulting increase in business will astonish you!

BUILDING OUTING REFERRAL BUSINESS

Most of the methods discussed in the Referrals chapter work for outings, so I’ll be brief here. The main point is that you should be cultivating—and regularly contacting—referral sources as well as direct prospects. This means that you ask people about groups that have outings. Cultivate possible referral sources. Ask for leads from:

Your members or regular golfers (“Does your Rotary Club hold a golf outing, or could they use a new fund raising idea?”)

People who book outings with you now (“Who else do you know who holds outings?”)

Local high school and college golf coaches

Influential people in town (bankers, board members,politicians)

Your personal contact list

Golf courses in other towns (their outing clients might like variety, and you can return the favor)

Local sporting goods and golf businesses

Everyone else you can think of

BOOK MORE OUTINGS ON THE INTERNET

Make sure that the outing portion of your club’s web page is presented in the form of a sales letter and feature the outing button prominently on your home page and elsewhere. This is much stronger than simply announcing to the world in bullet form that you are in the market to hold an event if one happens to be going!

Having the proper sales pitch on your web site is important for several reasons:

1. People buy for their reasons, not yours.You need to provide them with clear benefits for booking their events with you. That means not simply listing what you offer, but providing REAL BENEFITS! Think of the outing page on your web site as an infomercial, an electronic salesperson representing your club. That means providing answers to common questions, using testimonials from happy customers, and proving point-specific benefits of why your club deserves the business rather than your competition. Include photos of attendees having a good time.

2. It is not uncommon that the person in charge of finding a venue, for instance, a secretary, does not know that much about golf. By providing a point-specific set of reasons for holding an event at your club, that person can either make a good decision or simply print out your well thought out sales pitch and present it to whoever actually makes the decision. This is the next best thing to having you talking directly to a decision maker. Write good copy that covers all their questions and answers them!

3. People want information on meetings and events when they need information on meetings and events—which in today’s world is 24 hours a day, seven days a week.I am writing this at 9:38 PM on a Friday night!I could just as easily be surfing the web looking for my next golf outing venue! Which is why it’s critical to have a request form that someone can fill in and e-mail to you about their event. At one club we are averaging almost one online outing request for information a day! Every day!

4. Your web site should be programmed to tackle the most frequently cited problem by outing planners:lack of follow up!When an outing planner sends a request online, an automatic e-mail should be sent at once acknowledging the request and stating that someone will reply the next day. But it doesn’t have to end there!

Your web site can also be programmed to send out a follow-up letter in a week. It might say something along the lines of “By now you should have received your information kit in the mail. If not,please let me know at once. I just wanted to let you know about a special offer we have this month that gives each of your participants a $25 tee prize at no additional cost!”

You could follow up the first note with another automatic-mail a week later highlighting the benefits of having an event at your course and ask whether they need anything else to help with their decision. For that matter, it can go on and on, sending automatic-mails until you switch it off or they ask you to stop. The great partof all this is that once you have a developed a good series and your customized letters are programmed into your site, they just work on automatic pilot!

LOOKING FOR OUT-OF-TOWN BUSINESS?

If you are in an area that gets a lot of convention traffic or out-of-town business, don’t wait until the planners try to find you in your home state. Hit them in theirs. Recently one of our clients in Orlando told us that he booked two outings in one week, one from New Jersey and the other from Palm Beach. He was running banner ads on the AtlanticCityGolf.com site and they clicked through and booked an event.

Running banner ads in other targeted states is a great way to reach prospects before they ever look in your market! Of course they may also find your web site searching for outing providers in your area.

You can rent and use targeted e-mail or postal lists to drive out-of-state traffic to your web site as well. (Call your local list broker or a Legendary Marketing Outing Success Specialist for list details.)

Local convention-and-visitor bureaus and Chambers of Commerce frequently have lists of booked conventions and meetings, sometimes years in advance. Sometimes this information is available online. For example, if I go to the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau web site, I can see what groups have booked for the next year.

Smaller groups than are tracked by convention bureaus and Chambers often book meeting rooms and hotel rooms at the larger hotels. Both convention bureaus and hotels frequently send out information to their inquiries that includes information about local attractions. If any of your local bureaus or hotels do that, see if they will include your golf outings sales piece (you might want to prepare a special one that identifies you as the golf outing specialist for out-of-town groups).


For more information on dramatically increasing your outings business, Click here

 

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