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  • Writer's picturePanomax Canada

Drive your best season yet: 2023 golf club marketing trends

March 16, 2023

Golfer driving a golf ball

Golf club marketing pros will be working double time to outpace competitors as the tourism industry continues to recover from the pandemic. The pressure to create memorable guest experiences in crowded markets is real for all tourism and hospitality operators, including those managing golf courses.

Golf in Canada saw strong numbers through 2020 and 2021, with many people flocking to the outdoor pursuit in search of recreation, exercise, and safe ways to connect with others outdoors. Over half of the golf resort operators surveyed said their 2020 gross revenues were up more than 10% over 2019, according to the National Golf Course Owners Association Canada’s Pulse Report.

What’s the catch? While golf enjoyed a surge in popularity while the rest of the tourism industry suffered double-digit losses, the need for golf resorts to differentiate themselves has never been higher.

In this blog post about golf club marketing in 2023, we’ll explore:

  • Current challenges faced by golf course marketers

  • Trends that will affect golf club marketing in the year ahead

  • How interactive webcam software can give you a competitive edge

  • The benefits of adding an immersive online experience for your guests

Challenges faced by golf courses

While the golf industry didn’t fare too badly through the pandemic, some upheaval did occur. Uncertainty always affects planning, and certain aspects of business simply couldn’t operate as usual.

For example, while 57% of all golf courses had significant reductions in labour costs (likely from closures and restrictions), this can create challenges in hiring, training, and retaining the staff needed to ramp operations back up.

Additionally, in many cases, while golf courses allowed guests to play, profitable food and beverage services may have been shut down partially or completely. Clubs that typically host events with catering and service staff may have had to shut down event operations entirely.

And even as these stressors subside, it’s critical for golf courses to offer unique experiences that get visitors excited and eager to return. This kind of competitive advantage must be front and centre in your golf club marketing.

With approximately 1,700 golf courses and country clubs in Canada, competition for visitors is always top of mind. There are still a large number of clubs vying for the same guests, and as the tourism industry recovers from a major slump, those guests will have a lot of options as they get back to planning trips and recreational activities.

Trends in golf club marketing for 2023

While the game of golf may not change dramatically from year to year, how you connect with potential visitors and create the best experiences will need to adapt to meet evolving consumer expectations.

Here are a few trends we’re seeing that golf resorts would be wise to watch:

1. Younger players embracing golf

Golf is now attracting younger players, which is great for the industry's future. Those who may view it as a pastime for retirees would be surprised to learn the average age of a golfer in Canada is 39, according to Golf Canada.

Consider this reality as you build your marketing strategies and choose how to connect with these audiences. Everything from messaging and visuals to advertising channels should be carefully targeted.

2. Increased expectations for online experiences

These younger players are also more likely to be tech-savvy and accustomed to researching brands and booking activities online. For example, Gen Z is “a hypercognitive generation very comfortable with integrating virtual and offline experiences,” according to McKinsey & Company.

These consumers look for a better digital experience that allows them to find all the information they need to make their decisions before ever setting foot on a course. So, make sure your online presence delivers.

3. Social media increasing in significance

As the average age of golfers in Canada drops and social media usage climbs steadily upward, consider your social media strategies to ensure you have a robust presence on the social channels where your target audience spends time.

Most social media platforms have sophisticated targeting features that allow you to create and deliver campaigns to specific audiences to ensure you’re connecting with potential new guests in meaningful ways.

4. Marketing activities refined by data and analytics

Marketers have access to a massive amount of information regarding the performance of their marketing efforts. New tools and technology offer precise targeting and detailed results that help you monitor the success of your golf course marketing in real time.

These advances can help you understand how people engage with your club online, how they find you, and what keeps them on your website the longest. As you learn what drives the biggest impact on your audiences, you can lean into the tactics that work most effectively, making better use of your time and marketing spend.

5. More women players on the courses

Two lady golfers

The total estimated golfing population in Canada is between five and six million players. Notably, of those returning to the game after the pandemic, 65% of new golfers were women, with 70% in the 18- to 34-year age range, according to Jeff Sibley, CCO of Golf Canada.

This shift in demographics should inspire golf club marketing teams to assess how they connect with these players and how they can personalize online experiences, so women feel welcome at the club and comfortable booking an afternoon or trip to visit.

Stand out from competitors with interactive webcam software

A visit to your golf club can show guests how carefully you’ll take care of their needs and how you have everything they could want in a well-designed course. The trick, of course, is to get guests to visit–and you’re competing with every other golf course in your area for each visitor.

When deciding which course to visit, your guests will start their search online. Your website creates a first impression for every potential visitor who is researching golf courses online. It acts like a salesperson, offering valuable information to your target market.

An effective golf club marketing website needs to do far more than simply showcase a few static images and basic information. Instead, consider how you can offer a curated experience for your potential guests, reassuring them with every click that they have found the right selection for what they need.

Interactive webcam software can captivate visitors with high-resolution images and an immersive experience that delivers targeted marketing messages every time a user visits your website.

The right tech can create a curated experience for every website visitor with marketing and promotional information available based on their activity on your site.

Benefits of adding an interactive webcam system to your website

An interactive webcam system can help you engage different demographic groups with an immersive experience guided by their interests and needs, which is critical for clubs welcoming new members. You’ll be able to empower guests to explore the details that interest them most to help reassure them they have found what they need in your club.

Let’s look closely at other benefits of adding an immersive online experience to your website.

An interactive webcam software system allows you to:

  • Showcase your golf course in spectacular high-resolution imagery.

  • Offer valuable details about your club, the amenities, and what visitors can expect.

  • Highlight nearby points of interest to aid out-of-towners with trip planning.

  • Attract high-quality website traffic with webcams and keep visitors on your site for longer visits and better engagement.

  • Provide easy ways for website visitors to review and compare options, then link to booking information on your site.

  • Boost sales by attracting and engaging more visitors in meaningful ways.

  • Build new revenue streams through built-in features in the interactive software.

  • Partner with other companies to leverage high-end tech in affordable ways.

Creating online experiences that users will remember is critical to moving people closer to booking their visit with you. Not only do they create a better online experience for your potential customers, but they also drive results in your bottom line by helping you secure more bookings.

Better online experiences will drive golf club marketing in 2023

The best golf clubs offer expertly-designed courses, gorgeous settings, and top-notch service, but many rely on traditional marketing tactics that don’t set them apart. If potential guests aren’t wowed by your website the first time they visit, they’re unlikely to return.

What if you could communicate the same value when a visitor lands on your website for the first time? When you deliver a high-quality online experience, you make a memorable impression that attracts more visitors. These experiences attract, engage, and empower your guests in ways that will help you stand out in the season ahead.

Book a call to explore the possibilities of interactive webcam software and how we can help you leverage 2023 trends for your best season yet.

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