THE IMPORTANCE OF THE WRITTEN CONFIRMATION
As the world continues to blaze the digital frontier, there are now more ways than ever to purchase a tee time or make a dinner reservation at your club. And that’s a good thing. Additional ways to bring in revenue means more ways to make your club profitable. But new digital pathways create opportunities for digital missteps. Mainly, customers want to know their credit card information is secure and they want to know when you have reserved their spot – whether that be for a tee time reservation or a dinner reservation. And if you’re not providing a written record of their spot on your tee sheet or a table at your restaurant, customers will feel uneasy about the entire process. Instead, look at the written confirmation as a first impression of the experience at your club – something that should match the overall customer experience at your club. And most importantly, written confirmation automation gives your club and your restaurant an opportunity to advance your marketing efforts by collecting first-party data – the most cost-efficient marketing strategy available to most clubs.
Unfortunately, nearly half of clubs in the United States do not provide written confirmations for restaurant or tee-time bookings. And, worse, only 12% of clubs ask any follow-up questions in the confirmation, leaving an enormous amount of room for improvement on the marketing side of your club’s business operations.
Let’s be candid. Sending a written confirmation for a tee time or restaurant reservation at your club is the bare minimum. If you ordered a widget from Amazon without a confirmation of the purchase, you would be left wondering if Amazon is, in fact, fulfilling the order. That kind of digital misstep creates enormous uncertainty and is unlikely to be the first impression you want to convey to your customer.
There are two types of digital reservation confirmations: standard and inquisitive.
The standard reservation confirmation gives basic information like the time and date of the reservation, number of individuals in the party, and – in the case of a tee time – the cost of the group to play. This type of written confirmation is rarely visually appealing, but it ensures your customer is aware you have reserved their spot.
The second, and monumentally better form of written confirmation is the inquisitive confirmation which aims to collect additional information about your customer and provide a more welcoming experience. These confirmations provide further insight into the club or restaurant like daily specials, information about the golf course or its history and trains your customer to expect additional questions throughout the booking process. Most importantly, the inquisitive confirmation opens the door to learn more about your customer – what dishes they like the best, what days they like to play or go out to eat, and how far they live from the club for example.
Armed with this new information about your customer, club and restaurant managers can now send out emails or other forms of digital communication directed specifically at these customers and their individual needs, adding to the overall experience at the property and making a personal connection with your customers.
The best of the best also send a reminder 24 hours ahead of the reservation (tee time or restaurant). Just a thought as we measure this in our mystery shops, and we have customers that do it.