Perspective


Stay Woke, Golf Course Operators

Posted by on 12:49 pm in The Posts | 2 comments

One of our members recently sent me a copy of an article written by the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board (“Google-Hotel Travelopoly”) about Google and hotels not playing fairly with online travel agencies (OTAs), such as Expedia, Travelocity, etc. Here is the gist from the WSJ perspective (my comments in parentheses), and please stick with this until the end. There is a message for the golf industry. Hotels are complaining that OTAs, which make about 20% commission on each room booked, have begun squeezing profits from hotels, due in...

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Roman Gods and NGCOA

Posted by on 12:18 pm in The Posts | 1 comment

I was a huge fan of Greek and Roman mythology when I was a kid. Clash of the Titans was my favorite movie, and I loved translating the Aeneid in high school Latin class. I know, I should’ve gotten out more. But I was on the golf team, so there’s that! Each year at this time, I remember the lesson of the Roman god, Janus, who was the god of beginnings and transitions and had two faces: One looking to the past, one to the future. As we ring in the New Year, it’s a chance for all of us to reflect on how our year went—personally and...

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Data – How New Numbers Can Change Our Industry’s Direction

Posted by on 9:39 pm in The Posts | 1 comment

Data. The word tends to elicit one of two responses out of small business owners. One is: “Give me more! Can’t get enough of it!” The other: “Who’s got time for that?” On most days in the golf industry, it feels like the latter faction has the majority. And I get it—owners and operators are busy people, taking care of customers, tending to employees, watching the cash flow closely, and trying to make sure the product is as good as it can be. It’s hard to imagine time in the day to look at data on rounds, revenue, capacity, RevPATT and how...

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Killing Dissatisfaction

Posted by on 1:00 pm in The Posts | 6 comments

When I was CEO of Select Registry, a portfolio of more than 300 upscale inns, we administered a secret-shopper, 200-point inspection of the guest stay. We knew a thing or two about the customer experience and what guests liked, loved, tolerated and hated. One thing I learned was the power of “dissatisfaction triggers,” which are arguably more impactful to the experience than those things people loved and wanted to experience. Examples might be finding a hair in the bathtub or being treated rudely by staff. We had a lot of first-timers stay at...

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Fixing Malcolm Gladwell’s Shank

Posted by on 11:50 am in The Posts | 7 comments

I saw Malcolm Gladwell deliver a keynote speech at an annual meeting of the American Society of Association Executives years ago. He was very insightful. I read Blink. I read Tipping Point. I read Outliers. I’ve enjoyed how he analyzes the world and its intricacies, patterns and phenomena from interesting points of view. After hearing his recent podcast episode of Revisionist History, in which he attempts to turn “golf” into a pejorative word, my admiration is wavering. I encourage readers to listen to the podcast.  For someone who...

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Crossing the Threshold at the Course

Posted by on 3:04 pm in The Posts | 3 comments

So, I did something this past weekend I haven’t done in 10 years. I went on a guys’ golf trip. Seven of us played 72 holes over three days in North Carolina’s Sandhills. There was beer-drinking. There was joke-telling. There might have been a little gambling. And I might have strung together three rounds in the 70s, something I’ve never done before. But, of course, the “industry guy” in me was making observations and mental notes about the golf operations I was experiencing. I want to share something I admired about two of the courses I...

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“Booking” Golf’s Revival

Posted by on 3:53 pm in The Posts | 2 comments

Bookstores. Small ones, independently owned and operated. Remember those? You know, the ones you would walk into and feel the weight of history’s greatest authors looking down upon you from the shelves, while you looked around in awe at all you didn’t know. A place where you could browse for hours. As a kid, it was a special treat to visit Oxford Books on Pharr Road in Atlanta. When I earned my driver’s license in 1990, I would occasionally venture into the metro area from the suburbs and go to the coolest places, including Oxford. When...

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Presidential Golf

Posted by on 7:12 pm in The Posts | 4 comments

What do Presidents Taft, Wilson, Harding, Coolidge, Roosevelt, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Bush, Clinton, Bush, Obama and Trump all have in common? They’re arguably the full spectrum of conservative to liberal, but they all played golf while in office. Unapologetically, actually. Wilson logged more than a thousand rounds while serving as Commander in Chief! Why on earth do presidents get slammed for doing what we all know is so good? My theory is most Americans—and the media who dishes up the criticism—don’t understand the...

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Golf and Gas Stations, Yet Again

Posted by on 10:51 am in The Posts | 1 comment

One year ago, the The Wall Street Journal printed its piece, “Americans Want to Play Golf—Until They Try It.” The article suggested golf courses are like gas stations: “Come or don’t come. Here’s the price.” Implicit in that statement was that the experience at golf courses might be seen as a nothing-special commodity no better than your typical gas station. So, one year later, an observation of a gas station development here on Daniel Island has me thinking about golf. I’m part of a 500-member “Daniel Island Dads” Facebook group, where most...

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How Charleston Wins and How Golf Can Too

Posted by on 6:38 pm in The Posts | 6 comments

The NGCOA is headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina, where tourism is off the charts. Over the past few years, it’s won about every award imaginable, including top U.S. city to visit by Travel + Leisure. Southern hospitality reigns supreme here. The success of Charleston is due in no small part to the intentionality with which the entire city approaches hospitality and service. For many years, the local CVB has conducted city-wide customer service training for all the frontline employees at hotels, restaurants, tour companies and...

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