Pro tips

The importance of a strong online reputation to attract golfers

Golf clubs are facing an increasingly pressing challenge: to stand out amidst the growing competition in the digital world. And in an environment where reputation is a pretty decisive factor, a crucial question arises: how can golf clubs not only survive but truly shine in golfers' minds? The answer is online reputation.

Emilio Adan Soriano
March 12, 2024

We are talking about more than just a web presence. A good digital reputation can make the difference between merely being an option for a round and being the preferred choice among golfers. From player reviews to impressions of the facilities, any positive mentions about the golfer's experience contribute to improving the online image of the club.   

Of course, the benefits of working actively on your reputation are obvious. No golfer would avoid a club that other golf pals have vouched for. Leaving reviews and compliments for everyone to see is actually one of the biggest compliments your golfers can give you. This not only indicates that golfers like the club but also reflects the great experiences that the club offers. And for this reason, it might be time to influence what's said about you on the internet. 

3 ways to improve your online reputation

The reputation of your golf club is closely linked to the opinions shared by your customers, and these can positively or negatively affect whether golfers will visit your club. And this matters quite a lot, actually.  

Our recent data on CxM in golf businesses shows that nearly every other golfer starts playing because others encourage them. So, opinions are very important for these golfers who consider reviews, word-of-mouth, and recommendations before hitting the course. 

But how can you get started taking your reputation into your own hands?  

The basis is offering great experiences worth recommending and not bad experiences worth bashing. After all, the ones who recommend clubs on a positive note are the most satisfied. On the other end, you'll find the most dissatisfied ones speaking ill behind your back. So, working on your experiences in general and increasing your Net Promoter Score should always be the primary focus. 

While working on your experience, you can start exploring plenty of methods to improve your digital presence. Below, we will explain three tips to consider when enhancing your online reputation. 

1. Invite golfers to explain their experiences to you 

Controlling whether someone writes about you online is simply not possible. Well, sneaky golf course operators might be tempted to delete negative comments on review sites. But this is neither a sustainable nor ethical solution. And it does not change the fact that a bad experience has led to the comment in the first place. 

Waiting for positive comments to pop up is also not really sustainable. Even though you deliver top-notch experiences, some golfers might hesitate about sharing their opinions – or simply don't know where to brag about their great experience.  

So, assisting your golfers in sharing their experiences is a great way to start working on your reputation.  

For the unhappy golfers, also called detractors, you want to provide them with a way to share their feedback with you before they head to the big web. For the happy golfers, also called promoters, you want to inform them where and how they can share their golf reviews online. But for both golfers, getting them to provide you with feedback will open opportunities for managing your reputation and lower the risk of unseen negative feedback floating around in the digital ocean. 

Now, there are two main methods to gather direct feedback from golfers: surveys and interviews. Surveys help capture feedback from golfers on and off the course, providing them with a channel to express their opinions. If needed, interviews allow them to explain their experiences further and in depth. 

2. The more professional you are in your responses, the better you will handle criticisms 

Dealing with negative feedback from golfers can often be frustrating, especially if it's expressed in an aggressive tone on a public online forum. But remember it's essential to respond to these criticisms professionally - even when they feel like mudslinging. 

A nice response not only humanizes your golf club but also indicates that you value golfers' concerns and are working on continuously improving their experience at the golf club. By responding in a respectful and understanding voice, you also show other golfers that you take responsibility instead of hiding behind a screen and hoping for the situation to calm down. 

And we've likely all been in the shoes of unhappy golfers at some point. When things don't go our way, emotions can run high. But taking swift action can help resolve the situation. 

How to handle negative reviews effectively at your club
How to handle negative reviews effectively at your club

3. The more visible you make positive reviews, the more trust you will generate 

As already explained, positive reviews from golfers are crucial for attracting new members to your golf club, as they build trust and credibility among people on the edge of becoming golfers. To squeeze as much potential out of the promotors, you should share their positive reviews and ratings on your communication channels, such as social media or websites, to strengthen your reputation and overshadow any negative feedback with glowing online recommendations. 

If you really want to take this to the next level, video testimonials are never a bad choice. Video testimonials are basically like mini-movies where golfers can share their experiences at the golf club. You can encourage them to record clips of themselves enjoying the golf course or having fun at events, while sharing why they love being part of the club. Think of it as your members giving a friendly shout-out in a more personal way than just written text. 

Some advantages of using video testimonials
Some advantages of using video testimonials

In the end, there are endless ways to use these reviews. Video, text, sound bites: whatever it may be. And most importantly, it's essential for golf clubs to continuously strive to improve the experience of their golfers, so it will be a no-brainer for them to talk about their incredible time at the club. Then, the reviews will surely come right away.

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