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October 10, 2014

Brett Eaton: Get the Whole Facility Involved in Demo Days

Brett Eaton, a member of the Titleist Leadership Advisory Staff, is the PGA director of golf at the Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club in Blaine, Washington.

Brett Eaton on the importance of getting the whole facility involved in demo days:
Every spring, Semiahmoo Golf & Country Club offers a multi-vendor Demo Day on our golf range, featuring seven club vendors, that goes from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Currently, we are one of the only facilities in western Washington to offer this type of event. Having the top hard good suppliers in one place at the same time provides a tremendous value to our membership, guests, and everyday golfers, allowing them to test out the latest equipment side-by-side, using TrackMan and FlightScope launch monitors for instant feedback. Another key component of our multi-vendor demo day is the role of our golf staff. Our team, including all the golf professionals and our resort merchandiser, are on the golf range tee for the entire day answering questions and working as a liaison between vendors and the players. Building rapport between golf staff, sales representatives and our membership creates a relaxed and inviting atmosphere, making the customers feel more comfortable to ask questions or seek advice. Marketing, word-of-mouth, and customer incentives are also another important component to our very successful demo day. Our demo day is an annual event, held on the third Saturday in May; we’ve found that the consistent date is easier to remember for all involved. Our primary method for marketing the demo day is through email communication, and we have a database of more than 3,500 people.

Brett Eaton on the business impact of getting the whole facility involved in demo days:
Our average demo day sales prior to 2008 from single-vendor demo days were estimated at $15,000 combined. Since implementing both the multi-vendor version and our enhanced staff and marketing strategies in 2008, we have consistently grown our demo day sales at least 10 percent each year, taking them from about $20,000 per event all the way up to $40,000 in 2012. In 2012, we explored new customer incentives to promote sales and decided to include a voucher for a complimentary round of golf, which could be used at any time during the year, for every $250 the customer purchased in clubs on that day. This incentive enticed customers to purchase clubs that day. The majority of the clubs we sell during demo day are drivers and sets of irons. A few months after demo day, those that purchase sets of irons look to complete their set by adding new wedges. So our ancillary golf club sales during the summer have increased as well. We’ve also found that building member rapport and taking the time to learn more about our members’ golf game, in turn, increased lesson revenue by 10 percent. In addition, the foot traffic we create during demo day benefits our food & beverage operation at the course and exposure for Semiahmoo Resort, Golf, & Spa as a whole. This year, in an effort to make our demo day a larger event, we partnered with Wilson Motors, a Mercedes dealership in Bellingham, Washington, and displayed a 2014 Mercedes on the golf range. While it hasn’t led to any car purchases yet, it did bring in some new eyes to our demo day, which can only be a positive. Next year, we hope to have a few more cars on display, as well as several shoe vendors, and a food & beverage station. Providing a memorable experience and exceptional customer service for our members and guests keeps them coming back year after year.

If you would like to email the author of this Best Practice directly, please email beaton@semiahmoo.com