Have You Herd – Timing is Everything

Successful golf destination properties and resorts tend to share one common trait when it comes to their respective marketing and public relations programs they think and plan at least six months into the future.

And since playing golf is as seasonal as they come, strategies and timelines may vary from region to region.

Seasonal Shifts Make for Successful Results

For example, as golf resorts and courses in colder regions of North America pare back or close for the winter, it’s an ideal time to take a breath and examine if their online and social media presence during the busy season was successful. What worked? What didn’t? How can we do it better moving forward especially when we get to our peak season in six months?

In warmer regions where the high season is often fall through spring, resorts and courses may perhaps want to reevaluate their stay-and-play packages and offers during the summer off-season. Were the packages successful? Do they need to be renamed? Do we need different offers to reach our target audience or even a new clientele? Are they attractive for “golf buddy” trips? Refreshing or creating novel offers provides added media touchpoints as well as fodder to tell their unique story in a new light.

As a case in point, Buffalo Agency client PGA National Resort in the Palm Beach area of South Florida recently retooled their stay-and-play offers to include its new “Game Changer” package featuring their two new, groundbreaking Andy Staples-designed layouts, The Match Course and The Staple Course. Both courses were fashioned for increased guest enjoyment and faster play in a more relaxed setting. Naming the stay-and-play “Game Changer” plays wonderfully to this theme.

In addition to public relations, other marketing content should shift to include the newly determined seasonal focus so that the entire communications strategy is cohesive. This means any blog and advertising copy, imagery and video. For example, creating a new paid social campaign promoting a travel package or focusing on blog posts with seasonal gear and travel tips.

For Better Results, Plan Ahead

Off seasons are also the perfect time to access and reevaluate policies and strategies on future media visits. When is the optimum time we would like media to visit? What is our budget for possible media visits? What are the outlets and publications we would like to target? In the world of media FAMs and “one-off” visits, thinking months down the road is essential for success.

The more lead time available for recruiting media leads to the possibility of securing participants with larger outlets and wider engagement. We work with several of the most prestigious golf destinations in the world, including Casa de Campo Resort & Villas in the Dominican Republic and Destination Kohler on the Wisconsin shores of Lake Michigan. Both plan future media visits and FAM trips months and months into the future putting them in the running for multi-page spreads and a larger splash across the journalist landscape.

This is also an ideal time to evaluate other verticals of your marketing strategy. If social media, paid advertising or blog content plays an important role, it’s time to review past success and plan content for the upcoming months. Some KPIs to consider are ROAS (return on ad spend), link clicks, engagements and purchases (or a similar result equivalent). Once past success is taken into account, we can plan to optimize our future campaigns based off of what our audience resonates with, aligns with seasonality and our other marketing campaigns.

While no one has a crystal ball on what the future holds, planning and asking the right questions months in advance separates the successful from those who are simply winging it.