The European Golf Course Owners Association (EGCOA) Golf Business Conference 2016 took place last week in Amsterdam and left delegates inspired by the Big Opportunities available to attract, retain and utilize new members writes Matthew Enevoldson
The annual event was well attended by a healthy mix of golf course owners, managers and industry professionals from around the globe, all of whom left eager to put into practice the latest trends and developments put forward by some of the most revolutionary experts in the field. They were joined by the ‘big hitters’ of Europe, the Multi Course Owners who shared their invaluable experience and attended their own meeting on the state of the European Industry.
Speaking after the conference EGCOA CEO Lodewijk Klootwijk stated: “This year’s conference has to be one of my favourites so far. Not only were the speakers inspirational, but also gave up information that I, having worked in the golf industry for 30 years, had never considered. For our industry retention is key, through the innovation offered this week in mapping, marketing, measuring and pricing different opportunities available to every single one of our members, I know that our delegates have gone home inspired to improve each segment of their customers journey through the world of golf.”
The theme of the 2016 conference was focused on how to create, nurture and make the most of the Big Opportunities on offer to the industry during the current social and economic climates. The line-up concentrated on how to improve the journey of new and existing customers, from the first piece of information they see to the last time they leave the 18th Green.
Keynote speaker Nienke Bloem, Founder of CX, kicked off the conference with a talk on the importance of mapping the Customer Journey for each segment of your clientele. Jonas Meyer of Raw Milk and the Danish Golf Federation then built on Nienke’s work, showing how clubs across Northern Europe had utilized systematic measurements of their customer’s wants, needs and complaints, to better understand where improvements can be made.
The conference went on to show exactly how to Market, Practice and Price what had been learnt over the morning. Digital Distilla’s Creative Director and former EGCOA man John King gave an example based presentation on easily implementable, practical marketing techniques that reach out to your customers like never before. Richard Horton, a former Investment Banker who turned around the almost bankrupt Black Bear in Florida in less than a year, showed how an alternative viewpoint can allow you to make the most of any Opportunity.
The first day was brought to a close by the EGCOA Innovation Award. It highlighted the latest trends in European golf to find the most profitable and exciting opportunities to attract new customer groups and increase revenues in golf clubs.
Friday saw the first ever workshop at an EGCOA Conference, led by Nienke Bloem, where participants created their own persona for a segment of their customer base, building for them the perfect customer journey to take home and implement. The day was concluded by Andrew Davies of WellPlayed and former Owner & CEO of Eagle Ridge Golf Course, Australia, who brought his extensive experience of a key driver of revenue growth in the modern market, Strategic Pricing.
The conference was brought to a close by the one and only Peter Harradine, who gave his own views on what Opportunities the industry still has to grasp, and those of the past that have slipped away. Delegates left enthused with a sense that all the Opportunities of the week had to be grasped and confident in the knowledge of how best to put all they had learnt into practice.