November 7, 2018

How Northern Ireland’s Golf Courses Can Use Proximity Marketing

Northern Ireland’s golfing history dates back nearly 150 years and, with its stunning landscapes and challenging courses, it’s not hard to see why it is one of the world’s premier destinations for the sport.

We look at how Northern Ireland’s golf courses can use proximity marketing to maximise business opportunities.

World Class Golf in Northern Ireland

Several golf developments and successes underpin Northern Ireland’s reputation as a country that delivers great golfers, great courses and great events.

  • Two of world’s top golf courses: Royal County Down and Royal Portrush
  • Successful Northern Ireland players: Graeme McDowell, Darren Clarke and the 2014 Open Championship winner, Rory McIlroy
  • Hosts of the 2012 Irish Open at Royal Portrush
  • Hosts of the 2015 Irish Open at Royal County Down
  • Hosts of the 2017 Irish Open at Lough Erne resort
  • Rostering of Royal Portrush for the Open Championship from 2019

Research shows that the value of golf tourism in Northern Ireland in 2013 was £27m and the number of visiting golfers was over 134,000.

Visitors from the USA were by far the largest group of visiting golfers and they spent the most too.

As well as being important for the perception of Northern Ireland as a tourism destination, golf is important for jobs and services in the local economy.

By installing simple wireless technology via in-obtrusive beacons throughout its course Northern Ireland’s 88 golf courses can maximise their potential and engage more effectively with golfers.

Here’s how.

Proximity Marketing for Golfing Events

Golf courses hosting golfing events, big or small can use simple bluetooth technology to:

  • send welcome messages to new visitors
  • send thank you messages to returning visitors
  • send information to enhance the experience at particular holes, eg stats from past competitions, videos of previous shots etc
  • send deals and offers that golf fans will appreciate, eg eating, accommodation, transport, evening entertainment, fringe events

Proximity Marketing for Golf Clubs

Once the tournament or event is over the proximity marketing opportunities continue.

Beacons can be placed at the entrances to engage customers as they enter (or exit) the Golf Course.

  • VIP Members can be greeted and thanked for returning
  • Non members can be greeted and sent details on the benefits of joining and instructions on where to sign up
  • All visitors can be reminded of the lunch/dinner menu; evening entertainment etc

Additional beacons can also be placed at notable areas around the site, for example at a particular hole or green.

This will allow the sending of content to enhance the golfing experience, for example:

  • short animations or videos on how to play the hole,
  • how a famous golfer fared on the same hole (eg Rory McIlroy, Royal County Down)
  • what can be seen from that hole, eg mountain ranges, seascapes, wildlife,
  • information about the designer of the course or inspiration for the design of the course

Proximity Marketing for Local Businesses near Golfing Events

It’s not just golf clubs that can benefit from proximity marketing during golfing events like the 2015 Irish Open at Newcastle, County Down.

Local businesses in and around the host town of Newcastle and throughout Northern Ireland can use proximity marketing and the event to attract visitors during the Irish Open in May 2015.

Northern Ireland Tourist Board Visitor Attitude Survey

in 2013 showed that the top activities visitors do are:

  • visit castles
  • visit historic properties
  • visit pubs and
  • go hiking

However, a lack of things to do in the evenings and on Sundays remains a pain point for visitors and, although 70% say service in eateries is excellent or very good, not all aspects meet visitor expectations.

Many visitors are unaware of food provenance in restaurants and consumers continue to expect value for money at every stage of their journey.

Local businesses can use this information to create tailored offers for visitors which are then delivered via proximity marketing.

Ideas include:

  • Send information about evening entertainment
  • Send information about Sunday activities
  • Provide details behind the menu, for example who the local food suppliers used are and where they can be found
  • Offer relevant food deals to demonstrate value for money; free aperitif, kids eat free, Early Bird menu etc

The survey also said that visitors commented time and time again on the people they encountered and the friendly welcome they received.

Proximity Marketing Builds Long Term Loyalty

Local businesses who use proximity marketing to keep in contact with customers can encourage loyalty for the duration of the visitor’s stay and encourage word-of-mouth promotion by the visitor once they return home.

To find out more about how proximity marketing can work for your business download our brochure, below.

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