How to Market Your Mini Golf Course Once You’ve Built it
In this chapter we discuss the do's and dont's of marketing your new mini golf course
Let me tell you about a golf course in Queensland.....
The owners had a traditional course that did about 30,000 rounds per year. That wasn’t sustainable because of the high cost of ongoing maintenance and the owners needed to find a way to drive more revenue.
So, the owners built a mini golf course.
They say that this mini golf course attracts 120,000 rounds per year. That’s four times more than the traditional course but even more profitable. In fact, the traditional course proved so unprofitable in comparison that the owners are closing it down.
That’s the true potential of a mini golf course. When you have a course that’s well-designed, you’re going to draw players in.
However, the design isn’t the only thing that you need to consider. These types of numbers aren’t possible if you don’t have a stellar marketing strategy for the course.
In this chapter, I’m going to look at a few of the marketing tricks I’ve picked up over the years. Each of these pulls more eyes onto your course, which means that each can increase the number of rounds that you sell.
Promote to Groups
I’ve already mentioned you can create more revenue when you promote to groups of people. When you open the course up to parties, you’re selling many more rounds per client.
Of course, it’s not just personal parties that you need to consider here. A mini golf course is also great for corporate and team building events.
The key is that your marketing materials make it clear that you have the facilities to accommodate parties. Talk about any bulk discounts that you offer and highlight things like your café and party room.
Host Special Events
Special events are a huge draw for your mini golf course.
For example, you could host a tournament where the best players pit their skills against each other. That tournament comes with a prize for the winner, which creates an incentive for attendance. Of course, it also comes with an entry fee, which will cover the cost of the prize.
As for the prize itself, anything from straight cash through to gear from your pro shop will work. You could even offer things like a free month’s worth of play at your course.
Consider holding small tournaments and events on a weekly basis. You could even hold a larger monthly or quarterly tournament that’s designed to attract more players.
Now, here’s where the marketing aspect comes in.
Tournaments create competition, which will always draw a crowd. People will show up to watch good players make their way around your course. And many of the people in that crowd will want to give the course a try for themselves, especially if they have designs on winning one of your tournaments.
Furthermore, a special event gives you something to advertise on social media and in the local papers. Typically, these types of advertisements serve as more of a draw than a straight ad for the course.
You have several sponsorship opportunities available to you with a mini golf course. For example, you could have a company sponsor the entire course. You could even have smaller companies sponsoring individual holes. If you run tournaments, you could have local sponsors for those. In fact, such sponsorship may help you to cover the costs of your prizes.
One of our clients has had great success with this marketing technique. He offered naming rights to his mini golf course for 5 years. The amount of money generated will cover advertising costs for the next 10 years!
There are two great things about sponsorship from a marketing perspective. Firstly, you get to associate your course with trusted brands that will put your name out there.
Secondly, sponsorships create another revenue stream for the course. You can use that money to pay for other marketing, such as TV and newspaper ads.
Sponsorship can come in many forms including having sponsors for each or specific holes on your course
Create Opportunities for Social Sharing
Social media is one of the most powerful marketing tools that you have at your disposal. Best of all, you’re not limited to just using your own posts to market the course.
You can also leverage your existing customers to appeal to new ones.
A simple way to do this is to create a photo stand at the end of the course. Allow players to pose at the stand with their scorecards and encourage them to share the photos. You could even create a hashtag for them so that the photos they share spread wider.
Social proof is a powerful thing. When people see others having fun at your course, they’re going to want to try it for themselves.
Create a Loyalty Scheme
As the course starts to build some momentum, you’ll have players who come in regularly to play.
Take advantage of this by offering a loyalty scheme. This scheme could provide your regulars with discounts on play, equipment, and items from your café.
But from a marketing perspective, you can create a referral program for members of the loyalty scheme. Offer additional discounts and bonuses for whenever they refer somebody to your course. The incentive creates motivation for your most loyal players to spread the word. And as your loyalty scheme grows, you’ll have plenty of people acting as advocates for your course.
A loyalty scheme is a great way to attract new clients while also ensuring existing clients return time and time again
Have Local Celebrities Play on the Course
Any newsworthy event gives you a chance to draw players to your course.
Having local celebrities play on your course is one of the best ways to get it into the local papers. Offer the celebrity a free round or two in return for the photo opportunity. You may also need to contact the local press to let them know that you’ll have an important player on the course.
You should also advertise the celebrity’s appearance on social media and in the papers. Much like with tournaments, people will turn out to see the celebrity in action. Again, this means you’re getting more eyes on your course, which usually translates into more customers.
Another idea: We have great relationships with many of Australia’s best mini golfers and putting experts. We can work with you to create a mini golf tournament that will certainly generate interest in the mini golf community as well as local media. Why not incorporate a tournament as part of your launch strategy?
Having a Great Course Isn’t Enough…
You also need to have a solid marketing plan to attract as many people as possible to your course.
These strategies will help you to get more players, which ultimately leads to higher revenues. Of course, you need to build the course first!
On the next page see how Mini Golf has taken America by storm.....