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June 26, 2015

Andrew Mitchell: Participate in a Golf Festival

andrew-mitchellAndrew Mitchell, 2012 Marriott Golf Professional of the Year, is the director of golf and rooms operations for Marriott’s Grande Vista Resort in Orlando, Florida.

Andrew Mitchell on the importance of participating in a golf festival:
Being a part of the Marriott Golf portfolio, we’ve participated in their Family Golf Festival for years. In addition to being a resort facility, we’re also open to the public and this is a great opportunity to expose all we have to the community. Approximately 50-100 people usually come to the festival, and it’s completely free to both attend and play golf in the afternoon, with rental clubs free as well. During the event, families participate in golf instruction, clubfitting sessions, games, skills competitions and other challenges. It’s a big opportunity for our staff to get to know the participants and interact with them in a casual, fun environment. We end the event with prizes, raffling off everything from golf balls to equipment and apparel to hotel stays. We also invite participants to dine in our clubhouse for a discount. This ensures participants see and experience all three facets of our facility: the academy, the 9-hole golf course and the grill.

Andrew Mitchell on the business impact of participating in a golf festival:
The festival is always a big day for us. At this year’s event we did an additional 24 lunches at $16 each, along with selling a few hundred dollars in golf equipment, merchandise and other various purchases, resulting in approximately $500-$1,000 in extra revenue that day. Approximately 20-30 complimentary rounds are played as well. We also use the festival to promote our business, especially our youth programs. This year, one family who had never been to the facility immediately enrolled in a FootGolf event, offered here twice a week. We also use this day to support community outreach, as the prizes come from donations from our retail partners and vendors, including Marriott facilities in the area. The instructional portion of the festival consists of quick pointers from our teachers in a relaxed atmosphere. That, with a focus on family fun, has led to the sale of 5-10 lesson series packages over the course of the year. Additionally, we’ve seen an increase in repeat traffic from travelers, and while it’s hard to quantify, the loyalty factor is a huge component to our success. When all the impacts are added up, it’s an extra $5,000-$10,000 of annual revenue directly and indirectly from the festival. So especially if you’re a resort facility, open yourself up to the public at least once a year. You may just find your newest customers.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email andrew.mitchell@vacationclub.com