Measuring and Monetizing Social Networking & Mobile Media

Kris Strauss of OB Sports Golf Management and I teamed up to present Measuring and Monetizing Social Networking and Mobile Media for the 2012 National Golf Course Owners Association Annual Conference held February 29, 2012 at the Renaissance Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada.


What happens in Vegas… Stays on Facebook… Successful visits to Sin City are now measured by the amount of incriminating evidence posted on social networks

Golf courses and private golf clubs in particular may be the premier example of offline social networking. Similarly, due to the demographics of golfers and the strong symbiotic relationship of golf with business, mobile penetration is among the customer pool is extremely high. As a result, a discussion of social and mobile at the largest gathering of golf course owners is more than appropriate.

The challenge for the golf industry is that while golfers are highly engaged with social and mobile technologies, course owners have typically been a bit late in arriving to the technology party. Justifiably, a good portion of technology related expenditures have been dedicated to core operational platforms like tee time booking platforms, GPS-based cart technology and food & beverage ordering systems.

Now however, innovative course owners are getting more adventuresome by creatively applying social and mobile technologies to help players and members interact with each other, drive more rounds and improve the end-to-end experience of the game itself.

Here is a copy of the presentation. It can be downloaded from the RobertKCole SpeakerDeck page.

I teed things up (no, we didn’t rely on golf clichés to annoy our standing-room-only audience) with a high level overview of the promise and pitfalls of the most dynamic aspects of modern personal computing.

My focus was the integration of SoLoMo, but started with social and a warning to focus attention first on running a quality operation and the needs of customers.

I continued with cautions about the mobile complexities and the impatience of mobile consumers, adding some mobile design best practices.

Kris then took the mic to provide an extensive array of examples including location based services, user generated content and social ads to engage golfers and promote both golf-related and non-golf events.

He then offered a similar variety of examples highlighting mobile strategies encompassing QR codes, text clubs, mobile websites and tee time apps.

One additional note regarding the conference is that the NGCOA leadership has been very proactive in embracing Open Travel Alliance XML standards that are used extensively to facilitate the booking of tee times.

The golf industry is now facing many of the challenges faced by the hospitality industry in the early 2000’s when intermediaries began flexing their muscles due to greater marketing reach and an ability to produce customers.

It will be interesting to see how golf course owners will embrace social and mobile technologies to attract, retain and create value that will increase player loyalty.

About Robert Cole

Robert Cole is the founder of RockCheetah, a hotel marketing strategy and travel technology consulting practice. He also authors the Views from a Corner Suite Blog and publishes the Travel Quote of the Day. Robert speaks regularly at major travel industry conferences, authors articles for leading travel industry publications, advises travel-related startups and the equity investment community. He is an evangelist for the global travel industry.