Jordan Tillett: Create a Robust Loyalty Program to Spur Business

Jordan Tillett is PGA Director of Golf at the Hidden Creek Golf Club in Sellersburg, Indiana.

Like many facilities, we’ve been searching for a way to offer specials to our customers without hurting our bottom line. Our answer: loyalty programs. The way our program works is that when a customer signs up we collect their name, phone number, physical address and email address. We then create a profile in our system and assign them a loyalty card, à la the ones you see at restaurants. Once the customer profile is set up the customer will then start earning “loyalty dollars” for every purchase at our course. Loyalty dollars can be earned from greens and golf car fees, merchandise purchases and food & beverage. When they have accumulated enough dollars, they may cash them in towards a free round of golf with golf car.

The program has been a huge success, with someone using it almost daily to pay for something in full or partially. Our program is a five-percent-back system, where for every $20 they spend at the course in any department they receive one dollar back onto their account that can be used towards golf. The only cost associated with the program for us is the cost of your physical loyalty cards. The program has 500 members and it’s improved our merchandise sales by a considerable amount since the customer knows if they purchase their new equipment or apparel from us, they will receive money back on their account for golf. It has also helped retain customers for our food & beverage department as people will stay to eat and drink here at the course instead of going off property since they will get money back on their accounts. Not only does this program build loyalty with our customers, it provides us an excellent marketing tool by collecting customer data on their account. With the requirement of an email address, we can market to more of these customers about upcoming events, course news and special promotions we may be having at the course. We can also use the physical address to determine what demographic of customer we have at the course. Another unexpected benefit from our program is the word of mouth exposure we have gotten from customers. The program has given us the opportunity to offer loyalty discounts to our customers without cheapening our product or hurting our bottom line and keeps our customers coming back to us for the best deals.