Forge Relationships With Visitors and Vendors
Bill Crist on the importance of forging relationships with visitors and vendors:
After a few decades in the golf business, I know the importance of forging relationships with customers and vendors. We often read about private club staff anticipating its members’ needs and fulfilling them almost before requested. It is that intuition and preparedness that has made our facility and golf shop so successful over the past five years. During that time, we have identified two very distinct types of customers. First, we have the folks who are there to enjoy the hotel and bustling casino. The second type of customer we entertain are those here for the golf course. Through conversations and customer service, we develop relationships with all of them to better serve their needs. For the latter group, soft goods represent their primary purchases. We logo our shirts and hats, knowing that almost everyone playing our course will come in looking for something by which to remember their round. On the other hand, hotel and casino guests have different needs. Through word of mouth, and the relationships that have formed over the years, they have come to expect us to have almost any golf club they seek. Our close proximity to all the major club companies, along with the established relationships we have with them, definitely assist in expediting orders as needed. We do a large business with special orders as we’re able to get equipment in a timely manner. Also, we continually have the newest equipment in stock and we make sure our guests know if they are looking for something recently unveiled, we will have it. In addition, our club company representatives are continuously visiting our shop and offering buying selections to keep us “in the game.” Many facilities are hesitant to tie up a lot of money in hard goods inventory. We stock more than most because not only do our guests know we will have product that they can purchase but we know we’ll sell it in a timely manner. Taking the time to develop relationships with our customers and local club companies allows us to conduct business in this manner.
Bill Crist on the business impact of forging relationships with visitors and vendors:
With a customer base as diverse as any other, we have come to know what they are looking for when they walk in the door. The resort currently has 517 rooms. By the end of 2017, that number will double. The potential for growth in our golf shop is immense, and staying abreast of customer needs via communication and customer service is vital to our golf shop growing with the rest of the resort. Resort and casino customers account for about 75 percent of our hard goods sales, while local and regional golfers represent about 60 percent of soft goods sales. It is a dynamic that makes buying for the shop exciting and has contributed greatly to the 100 percent growth in revenues from 2012 to 2016. With soon to be over 1,000 rooms, a casino that attracts folks from miles around, 32,000-33,000 rounds of golf annually, and close, personal relationships with major club companies that we consider our neighbors, our golf shop staff is always very busy greeting customers, selling merchandise, and generally ensuring the shop is fresh and new.