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March 18, 2013

Charles Sims: Host Customer Appreciation Events to Showcase Your Facility

Charles-SimsCharles Sims, the 2010 Illinois Parks & Recreation Association Golf Manager of the Year, is the manager of golf operations at Links & Tees Golf Practice Facility in Addison, Ill.

Charles Sims on the importance of hosting customer appreciation events to showcase your facility:
Being in the golf-hungry Chicago market, owning a golf dome can be a lucrative business when the Windy City’s cold winters arrive. Our dome, 300 feet long by 200 feet wide and 70 feet high, features 45 hitting stalls over two levels, has five artificial target greens and six hanging targets, along with a putting green, chipping green and practice bunker. The dome is utilized from November to April, but we really see a rush in early January, after the holidays when our customers have received their new “toys” over the holidays. As a result, that’s when we host the largest indoor golf dome customer appreciation event in the Chicago area. Called the Golf Dome Open House and Demo Day Event, this free event includes a demo day, complimentary golf clinics, complimentary food & beverage, local celebrities and prize giveaways. It serves not only as a great way to kick off the new year, but also as great exposure for our facility. The event also serves to show off any changes we’ve made to the dome during the summer months. It’s also a great family atmosphere and we welcome people of all ages and skill levels.

Charles Sims on the business impact of hosting customer appreciation events to showcase your facility:
The business impact is wide-ranging. From a financial point of view, it increases sales of every category by 25 percent or more for the following three months because it kicks off the season and gets people excited to come to the dome. In fact, we see a 20 to 25 percent increase in customers after the event. Although the event is free, 20 percent of what we earn every year comes from customers who attend the Golf Dome Open House and become regular customers afterward. We also discount memberships and platinum discount cards (that save customers between 20-40 percent) to entice event attendees to become regular customers of our facility. We also heavily publicize this event using radio, print and television ads to expand our reach. And with most Chicagoans taking golf vacations in February, having the event in January serves as a nice kickoff to their lucky forays into warmer weather.