A lesson from the "Mouses-House"

With the recent onset of COVID-19 has left many golf club owners and operators scrambling for answers on how they can overcome the financial, human resource and confidence impact that is being felt in all four corners of the globe. Ultimately, the ability to emerge on the backend of the COVID dilemma in a prosperous manner is going to be based on the investment decisions that clubs make now to yield greater returns when reopening occurs.

I recently read a fantastic article on maximizing revenue channels, and the strategic development of programs that increase total guest satisfaction, and ultimately raise the revenue per guest ratio. The example used Disney as an example of how the "Creation of Happiness" motto extends well-beyond pure admission fees and into a diverse range of value propositions and revenue streams that are offered by the organization. The ability for Disney to exponentially increase consumer spending at their facilities is underpinned by controlling as many aspects as possible. From transport and accommodation, to dining and education services, each of these services is strategically focused on diversifying value-add conveniences whilst guests enjoy the primary entertainment services.

With shutdowns limiting regular operations, clubs and courses have a very unique opportunity NOW to expand their offerings to both existing and potential member bases for a fraction of the regular cost. Backed by the "typical "golfer" demographic change that has occurred over the last 10 years, it is now essential that clubs take a "Disney-effect" attitude to current facilities, or risk the fact that they will be left behind when industry resurgence occurs. This "Disney-effect" can be summed-up in simple layman's terms as the "strategic diversification of entertainment and leisure options that meet the extended needs of families, beyond the traditional golfer themselves".

By providing a welcoming atmosphere with a wide variety of activities, family members will spend more time at the facility which leads to increased revenue. The business of golf (almost unavoidably) seems to be charged with year-on-year increases in operational and overhead costs, therefore, the most efficient means to combat these rises would seem to be on a club's ability to think outside the box and develop unique strategies to increase revenue through either a) greater spend per customer, or b) revenue stream diversity.

There are countless course examples globally that rely on a tired model of food and beverage, function and open space amenities to drive off-course revenue, and if your course is using these as a primary revenue source, you're doing yourself, your club and more importantly your members a huge disservice. The time to reassess, reinvent and reinvest is NOW.

Take a look around, your competitors are already beginning to lay the foundations to capture greater market share by offering resort-style pools, fitness facilities, health clubs, coffee-houses and outdoor bars, equipped with fire-pit and 18 hour lighting! But that's not the half of it, the more aggressive venues are also heavily investing in the "family market" where you can expect to see spa services, salons, yoga and cooking classes underway (for both men and women), together with day care services, video-gaming areas and education (yes, education) rooms with high-speed internet for youth and adolescent engagement. The intent here is two-fold in that the diverse program options not only attract new guest to your facility, they retain them for longer periods of time - PERFECT for those that are seeking a long-term advantage over their competition.

Whilst we are certainly not proposing that Mickey Mouse appears onsite at your location, results have illustrated that considerate investment in both capital and programming expansion will pay off in the form of increased member usage and spend, together with escalations in new membership applications. Careful application of "Disney-effect" principles will no doubt re-establish your club as a true family-orientated destination that all can enjoy.

Contact Rick Riddle today at pgarick@mackellargolf.com for more information on how MacKellar Golf Management can assist you with your clubs operational and capital improvement objectives.

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48004 Fieldstone Drive

Northville Twp. MI 48168


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