It is a constant dilemma for us golfers when we plan our golf holiday or golf trip abroad whether to bring our customized golf clubs with us or utilize golf club rental services at the local golf resort or golf club.
I am one of those who prefers to play with rented golf clubs when I am playing far away from home (e.g. in Portugal, Thailand, Turkey, Estonia etc.).
Before you would reply immediately, I will definitely take with me my customized golf clubs to my next golf holidays, think about the following trends that are shaping customer behavior in favor of using rented golf clubs during golf holidays.
The recent Experience is Everything study of PwC found that people care most about these values:
- Knowledgeable help + friendly service
In the very same study found that 43% of all consumers would pay more for greater convenience! Would you sacrifice your convenience for playing with your own clubs? I prefer those golf travel agencies where I can arrange everything from tee times to rented golf clubs.
Based on the popularity of golf club rental services, I expect there will be more and more “borrower” golf tourists for whom the freer golf holiday experience will be more important. I think it is an influence of on-demand services like Uber, Airbnb etc.
Today’s golf tourists want more flexibility and freedom in their golf holidays. This is not just about the preferences of the Millennials, but Baby Boomers are looking to downsize and simplify their lives and golf holidays as well. Just think about:
- weight limit and size restriction on golf baggage;
- some airlines require hard-sided traveling case;
- hidden airline fees;
- cost of insuring your equipment;
- if you don’t fly directly to the golf destination then additional fees can occur.
The popularity of rented golf clubs will depend on the golf travelers’ perception who will judge this option based on their efforts, success, and emotions (=feel good or not).
Those golf travel agencies that provide rented golf clubs should think about how can they help their customers to accomplish their own goals.
Rented golf clubs & the on-demand economy
Today golf holidaymakers’ 3 main expectations are:
- Personalization – since our customers have got different needs, desires, and goals.
- Ease – they don’t want to make an extra effort to get a product or service + they want to get it when they feel like (see on-demand economy)
- Speed – people got used to getting most of the things by a single click or immediately or in a very short period of time. They want matters resolved quickly (e.g. golf club rental). So they will not around…
The emergence of on-demand services (e.g. CaddieNow an on-demand caddie service in the US; BewNow an on-demand food and beverage ordering solution; Club Car’s Visage system‘s F&B on-demand service feature; Golf Digest Pros on Demand; Onefinestay, an Airbnb competitor acquired by Accor Hotels) is built on mobile technologies and people’s desire for time-saving.
Let’s not forget also that people are instinctively self-centered!
I expect that such services will change significantly customer behaviors and competition. The on-demand economy has plenty of room to grow, especially in the golf industry. Just to circle back to rented golf clubs, ClubHub is providing on-demand access to premium rental clubs (e.g. TaylorMade).
Therefore, my recommendation to those companies that involved in golf club rental business is to get prepared to be able to provide on-demand services as well.
Customers will or already got used to on-demand services will not turn back to ‘old-school’ services. To stay relevant you not only have to exceed their expectations but also focus much more on customer experience.