The Pellucid Perspective - October 2011 - (Page 9)

LABOR DAY PROMOTION ‘Winter rounds test drive’ promotion wins Labor Day battle Owner’s ‘shot from the hip’ connects By Jim Dunlap hen John Gehman, owner of the Butler Valley Golf Port course in Bally, Penn., scanned his tee sheet for the upcoming Labor Day weekend, he didn’t like what he saw. Or, rather, what he didn’t see. Despite a stated aversion to discounting, he decided to try to do something about it. Knowing that the Labor Day weekend has traditionally been a slow golf weekend for the course, Gehman sent out an email to his database offering an opportunity to “test drive our winter rates” over the holiday weekend. The course’s normal Friday rate of $35 ($30 for seniors) was cut to $20, while the weekend and holiday rates of $45 were reduced to $30, basically equivalent to the course’s winter rates. “We increased rounds by enough to more than break even,” said Gehman, who had determined that he would need to increase his anticipated rounds by 50 percent in order to show a profit on the promotion discount. “Saturday generated nothing extra, but on Friday, Sunday and Monday we did get a significant number of people who came in with that promotion. The number of people who came in basically tripled from the time I W first looked at the tee sheet. So, we had a good weekend rather than a mediocre one,” he said. The positive Labor Day experience, however, has not changed Gehman’s opinion about discounting as a regular strategy. Although one of his fears before trying the promotion – that his numerous local competitors would counter-attack with price cuts of their own in subsequent weeks and wipe out his Labor Day profits – was not realized, Gehman wasn’t ready to call the experiment an unqualified success. “From the questions we asked customers, it didn’t appear that we generated many if any new rounds from people who hadn’t played here before,” Gehman said. “We did convince a lot of people to play here rather than somewhere else. I guess it was time for me to steal [customers] from somebody else like they do from me, but I don’t plan on doing that on a regular basis, because I think discounting is ultimately a losing proposition. The whole [Labor Day] program was kind of a shot from the hip, and even though it worked out this time, I don’t see us doing it again on any kind of a regular basis.” n WHERE DO OVER 250 INDUSTRY-LEADING COMPANIES GET UNBIASED, FACT-BASED INFORMATION & INSIGHT? l Annual State-of-the-Industry review l Golf Local Market Analyzer software and ad hoc reports l Weather Impact Analysis l Facility Performance Scorecard & Customer Franchise Analysis l Voice-of-the-Local Golfer surveys and Customer Satisfaction tracking l Sharper Edge outsourced marketing services l Outside The Ropes industry issues & solutions newsletter Visit our website and register for more information and free sample reports at Or, contact Jim Koppenhaver to discuss your unique needs at or 847.808.7651 The Pellucid PersPecTive 9 http://WWW.PELLUCIDCORP.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Pellucid Perspective - October 2011

The Pellucid Perspective - October 2011
Table of Contents
When will pricing power return to golf?
Municipal golf’s identity crisis
Let’s make a deal
‘Winter rounds test drive’ promotion wins Labor Day battle
September weather impact: Too little too late?
‘Brown’ not making Half Moon Bay golfers blue
Cincinnati, OH Core Business Statistical Area (CBSA)
Comings & goings
The “Most Powerful” — really?

The Pellucid Perspective - October 2011