Before talking about digitization in golf courses, let’s look at the concept of digitization in a global way.
What exactly is digitization?
Digitization means “the action and effect of digitizing”. If we translate this to the business environment, digitization is associated with the digital transformation of businesses, understood as enabling, improving, or evolving business functions, business operations, customer management models, and/or communication processes, taking advantage of digital technologies.
- Digitalization is not about setting up a CRM
- Digitization is not computerizing an action that until now was done by hand.
- Digitization is not being on social networks from time to time.
However, digitization does use all of the above actions and many others. But these are tools with a much more strategic purpose, where the depth of the changes in the organization is complete.
Digitization in golf courses
We, the managers of golf courses, should not and cannot lag behind in this digitalization. First, because we ourselves want to make our courses more profitable. And secondly, because our players also want to book their tee times online. They want to order food or drinks directly from the tee of any hole. They want to have all the course information in real time on their mobile when they are playing. They want to be able to buy a new club from their couch at home. In short, they want to have all possible services at their fingertips (or their cell phone, more specifically) and we have to be able to respond to that demand.
As we have seen so far, digitalization is a very broad concept, so in this post we will try to summarize it in 6 strategic elements.
1. Management software
Of course, as it could not be otherwise, the basis on which to lay a digitization strategy in golf courses can be none other than the unified management of all areas that make up the club through a golf club management software all-in-one and 100% cloud-based. This management software should be the center on which to plan and execute the rest of the digitization strategy.
Thanks to technology, a golf course must be able to make efficient all the management areas of which it is composed. In this sense, the objectives that a manager should set himself when choosing one or another management software for his golf course are, fundamentally:
- Economic efficiency
- Satisfactory experience for the player
- Ease of use for his own employees
- Integration with other tools
- Continuous improvement
2. A modern and optimized website
Without a perfect digital showcase, we will hardly achieve a complete digitization in golf courses.
Unfortunately, it is still common to see golf courses websites that are 6/8 years old and where there has been no further development after launch. With designs and technologies that have become obsolete. Websites not optimized for mobile devices. Websites that are unsafe and unreliable for users. Or websites that have never had a minimum content optimization to appear at the top of the search results of Google or any other search engine.
From our point of view, having a visually unattractive website can be compared to having a poorly maintained golf course. Therefore, a modern website, with a very nice aesthetic, secure, easy to maintain, well prepared for any type of device and optimized for search engines, is essential to achieve full digitization.
3. Automated communications and email marketing
Communications in the era of digitalization must be personalized, highly segmented and truly optimized for each type of player and target audience. Only in this way will we be able to provide value to the user. And all this without the direct intervention of employees. In an automated way. From here, as many variables as we can think of will make this communication a truly powerful tool for digitization.
The complete digitization in golf courses cannot be understood if these processes are not automated and used as a tool to meet the main objectives of profitability, work optimization and exceptional customer service.
4. Digital presence
As golf courses, we must know where our customers are and be present in those channels.
Nowadays, these channels are mainly social networks. Each one has its own target audience and its own characteristics. Not all social networks serve to communicate with our players. And as an example, today, it will be useless to be present in TikTok, since its public does not fit at all with the profile of our Buyer Persona. It is necessary to have very well cared for social channels. Very well studied and well planned.
But we must not only take care of social networks with care and detail. Search engine positioning is another important factor. We must take care of our keywords. And we must also take care of the content of our website. Everything that will appear on the Internet with our brand, must be taken care of to the millimeter.
Nowadays, offering our players the possibility to buy golf equipment from home, or from anywhere in the world, and to use those purchases when they come to the golf course to play, is something that not only we can not miss, but we should not miss it. An online store should be a new source of extraordinary income. Understood as all those incomes that do not come from membership fees or green fee sales.
6. Mobile App
Finally, as the icing on the cake of digitization, we would like to highlight the possibility of having the app of each club designed especially for the mobile. All the possibilities offered by the management software adapted to the user’s cell phone.
Reservations, from the cell phone; payments, from the cell phone; course information, on the cell phone; communication between club, player, marshal and caddie, on the cell phone; all services, on the cell phone. Everything in the player’s hand (or pocket). In real time.
Undoubtedly, having a club’s own application is a giant step forward if we want to have a 100% digitized golf course.
As we have seen on several occasions throughout this article, digitization in a golf course is not something that is achieved overnight. It goes beyond a change in concrete actions. It is about a change in the way things are done. It’s about being disruptive and doing things differently than the competition, always relying on technology. Just as players improve their game thanks to technology, we, the managers, must take advantage of these benefits to improve our management.