Recently, Troon has been selected to provide full-scale golf course management services to the Oaks PGA National, just outside of Prague, Czech Republic. Oaks Prague also becomes only the third Troon Privé venue in Europe, following Aloha Golf Club in Spain and England’s Centurion Club.
The PGA National Course, which has been designed by world-renowned golf course architect, Kyle Phillips, is part of a wider development plan that will see the construction of 250 residential properties. In the heart of the facility will be the Oaks Country Club, home to a tennis academy and horse riding center, as well as the golf course and its accompanying golf academy.
It seems like the owners and developers don’t want to leave to chance the success of Oaks Prague. I don’t know if you paid attention to this detail, but Oaks Prague invested even more in their golf club marketing when they became a PGA National branded golf course.
The “PGA National” brand is limited to only one per country. The Belfry (England) and Gleneagles (Scotland) are among the selected golf courses. It is clear that The PGA wants to generate more revenue from its prestige, reputation and rich history.
The question what can gain a golf club/resort from such a brand name in terms of revenue and profit. What can it give more in comparison to World of Leading Golf (46 golf clubs in Europe) or IMG Prestige (a reciprocal program; 20 golf club members) or TPC Network?
Maybe the commercial support can be interesting (e.g. standardized annual audit and benchmarking via 59Club).
I am not sure if Czech golf clubs who are much closer to the mainstream of the European golf tourism and golf life than other Eastern European countries (e.g. Bulgaria, Hungary) would need this level of branding support. Maybe next time they will become a European Tour destination…
Of course, Oaks Prague can say that they position their golf course, as a luxury one then it is a different story.
In 2015, KPMG wrote that there are 63401 registered golfers and 104 golf courses in the Czech Republic.
Along with this, I would rather invest in customer experience right from the beginning. All future product or service (e.g. companion apps) should be based on customer centricity. Let’s not forget that Millennials care more about the experiences.
It is very good that Oaks Prague is offering various sporting opportunities (see lifestyle heterogeneity).
What Oaks Prague and many golf clubs and resorts are underestimating is the importance of influencer marketing. There is no week when we could not find an article about customers’ skepticism regarding advertising and how much they pay attention to peer group members’ and influencers’ opinion.
Influencer marketing opens up an entirely new world for companies to connect with increasingly elusive and discerning audiences in ways that are more natural and relatable. Influencer marketing is much more than just content promotion. It is about earned media.
Needless to say, it is really challenging to find the real influencers and manage these relationships. I would suggest following the 4Rs model:
- Reach – how many people see their content on a daily basis,
- Relevance – subject of their blog is relevant to your brand and business,
- Resonance – do they engage with their followers, readers,
- Relationship – if he can be an authentic advocate of your golf club or golf equipment etc.
It is important to dedicate resources to develop a meaningful relationship with key opinion leaders. The possible positive outcomes of such cooperation are broader reach and brand awareness and desirability.