One of the most important steps for building a successful outing schedule is the promotion and recruiting process. At our club we have some events that remain consistent from year to year as well as a small group of outings that are new each year. In order to recruit new outings we use our members as resource for potential clients. Every Fall we send our members an informational guide outlining our outing process. When we first created this guide there were many things that we had to consider. How much should we charge? What should be included? What additional amenities should we make available? Once these concerns and many others were decided we were able to create the different portions of this guide. The guide contains a lot of crucial information including:
• Grid of available dates and courses
• Contact information
• Timeline of the process
• List of items included in the package
• Rules and regulations
• Food and beverage menus
• Available golf services
• Merchandise options
Mailing this guide to members gives them a great opportunity to show their respective companies what we have to offer them. In many cases they already host an outing at another facility and they might decide to move their event to our facility. In other cases the guide sparked some interest to start an outing that they had not previously done. After they have received the guide we begin to field phone calls and emails asking us to elaborate on different areas of the packages that we offer. In most cases these calls and emails are directed to me which means that I need to have knowledge of all the areas of the club that are involved in hosting a great event. If they previously hosted their event elsewhere I use this time to explain to them how we can take what they have done in the past and incorporate it at our club in addition to making some changes and improvements. Hopefully once the potential clients have finished talking with me they have a complete understanding of what we can offer them and their guests.
After they decide to host their event at our facility they sign the contract, which was included with the guide, along with their preferred dates. They are also required to put down a deposit, which is non-refundable once they agree to the date they are assigned. Part of the contract is that the outing is sponsored by one of our members. This is a very important step which not only protects the other members, but also the club. It also creates accountability for full payment once the event is completed.
In addition to hopefully recruiting new outings we also try to retain them from the previous year. When we send our members our Monday Outing Guide we also send the guide to the outing coordinators from the previous year. Before we mail this out each year our staff meets and collectively discusses the previous years’ outings and the different areas of the guide that we send out. When we discuss the outings that were held at our club we start evaluating different criteria in order to decide whether to invite them back in the coming year. Here are some of the questions that we address:
• How easy was their staff to work with?
• Did their guests follow club rules and respect the golf courses?
• How much did they spend in the golf shop?
• Did they go above and beyond the basic package?
• At the end of day what was the club’s net profit from the event?
Once we agree on all of these items, we send the guide out to our members and the coordinators from outings that are going to be offered a chance to return.
After we get responses from the majority of the previous years’ events and some new ones, we then start to layout the schedule. Once the outings have been assigned dates, we send out confirmation letters. The whole process takes about two to three months and is usually completed by the time that we close the golf shop at the end of December. When we return in the Spring we are then able to with start with initial meetings to begin the process of hosting a profitable and successful event.
Brian Dwyer – Tournament Director, Medinah Country Club