Suggestive Selling | The Easiest Means to Create New Revenue
Might I Suggest!
My wife and I went on a 5 night Royal Caribbean Cruise in early December and as I do with any experience, my goal was to keep an open mind and learn from this leading company in the travel and hospitality industry and see what might be applied to our partner clubs.
A cruise is dependent upon onboard selling to make the trip a profitable one. The fare for the cabins is a good start but it’s just that, a start. To create a profitable trip, onboard selling, and lots of it, is a MUST. And they do it very well!
Okay, what did they sell?
A better question might be what did they not sell? As we began the process of boarding the ship, lanyards with multiple nautical themes to hold your “Sea Pass” which served as your room key as well as a credit card for everything you purchased onboard were a popular item among many cruisers. Only $15 for these souvenirs that not only would serve as a great memory but also provide the convenience of not having to search your pockets or purse every time the Sea Pass was needed. With 3500 passengers sailing, and seeing the line to purchase this impulse item, I’d estimate that at least 1,000 were sold. We opted out.
Once Onboard the Real Selling Starts
Now the FUN began! As you might imagine everyone was excited and in a party mood upon boarding and what better way to party than with a few cocktails. And they certainly gave you a fine opportunity to imbibe. On every area of decks that had bars, unlimited drink packages were available for sale. Only $55 per person per day including gratuity! Now this might seem a bit high but if you consider beer was $5/$7, wine $10/$12, and top shelf cocktails and specialty drinks even more, it wasn’t a bad option. In fact, there were lines to purchase it. We opted in!
Get Away but Stay in Touch
The World Wide Web with a Deal
Not quite as popular as the drink package was the internet package. For only $24 per day you had unlimited access and could stay in touch with your business, family or friends. Two devices in the same cabin for only $40 per day was the DEAL of the DAY. Again, we opted in. Doing some work on our balcony at sea was exquisite!
Shore Excursions, Onboard Sail Away Sales,
Drawings, and Specialty Restaurants
Upon boarding, everywhere you turned there was a buzz. A drawing with 5 winners for a spa package. (The entry form included your name and room number and you continued to receive special offers from the spa throughout the cruise.) A presentation on shore excursion in the ports of call for the ship. The cruise line gets a 40%/50% commission. We charted our own course at the ports of call.
There were flyers everywhere promoting a tour of the bridge for only $89 per person. We opted out. A tour of the kitchen followed by a special champagne brunch for only $29 per person. We opted in. An art sale. Not for us. Upgraded dining to specialty restaurants including a fine steakhouse, sushi, Italian, and Mexican. We stayed with the Main Dining Room fare and were quite happy with the experience.
And of Course the Photos!
There was a ship’s photographer imploring you to pose every day and every night. From reality photos at your dining room table, with the Captain at his reception, in front of the magnificent Christmas tree, overlooking the promenade, and on the spiral staircase, to themed setting with a variety of backgrounds, you were given the opportunity to have your picture snapped dozens of times. And most people really want a picture of themselves, especially on vacation! We opted in for the 6 image package on a zip drive for only $100. Best deal was ALL of your pictures for $225. Lots of folks were buying this.
Next Cruise Desk
What better time to book your next cruise that while enjoying the cruise you’re on! And Royal Caribbean made sure that they gave you a chance to do just that! The Next Cruise Desk was near our cabin and without fail I saw 4 to 5 people at the desk exploring options for future adventures on the high seas. By doing so while on the cruise ship, you were guaranteed the best prices available. Good hook! We didn’t bite though.
Thanks for Sharing your Cruise Vacation.
But What Does that have to do with my Golf Course?
Good Question. Lots!
Let’s look at what can be done at your club or course to create additional sales. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination, willingness to step out of the normal course of business, and try some new things. Consider these as starting points.
- When a person purchases a membership or season pass, what else can you suggest to the person to make the experience and value even better? How about an annual cart plan? A locker or bag storage? Handicap service? Buying club? A Dining Club, yes, a Dining Club! Pay a monthly fee and enjoy a 25%/50% savings on all of your F&B purchases.
- Similar to a Next Cruise Desk, what about a Next Round Desk. It could be a lone standing computer in the golf shop or restaurant or even at the counter where the person working could suggest booking the “Next Round” Suggestion is powerful and not done nearly enough in the golf industry.
- When a person who is not a member signs up to tee it up, suggest a 3, 5, or 7 round package that saves them money compared to the regular fees. Or a replay round tomorrow or within the next 3 days for a special price.
- Suggest merchandise or accessory sales. Counter top items like sunscreen, golf ball promotions, hats or visors, golf gloves, and any and everything else. SUGGEST!
- Suggest any special leagues or upcoming events. Ask the person to sign up!
- Suggest upcoming golf clinics or demo days. Ask the person to sign up!
- Host a behind the scenes tour of the golf course maintenance area including the pump station and explanation of the equipment, frequency of mowing, hours of the staff, and any other interesting tidbits. This is not going to likely have broad based appeal but there are certainly some golfers who would enjoy this type of experience. And it will build great loyalty!
- Walk the range and provide “quick tips” to golfers at a scheduled time on a busy day. That little bit of good advice might just be the nudge a golfer needs to begin taking lessons.
- Much like shore excursions, host a day of golf at a Pro-Am or even a road trip to a neighbor course. Again, not a huge revenue event in and of itself, but another big-time loyalty builder.
- Take pictures on the first tee or signature hole on special days such as Memorial Day, July 4th, Easter Day, Christmas Day, or whatever holiday brings play to the course. No need to sell them. Just post them on Facebook and tell the golfers to look for them. You will get new Fans! Oh, and did I mention loyalty?
- Have a difficult par 3 over water, a ravine, or other hazard? Provide a basket of used ball at the tee with a sign as follows: “Concerned about losing your ball? Use one of ours. Good luck!” Not a revenue generator but certainly a memorable moment.
- Especially at the start of a new golf season, set up a grip replacement display in a high traffic, high visibility area of the golf shop. Have a variety of grip options on display, promote with a special “new season” price and do the work where the golfers can see it being done, if possible.
- A once per week “putting contest” Set up a 3 to 9 hole course and provide a prize for each day’s winner. Do it between 12 and 2 to catch morning golfers after their round and afternoon golfers before their round. Do it consistently and your golfers will look forward to participating.
- A Hole in One Contest for an additional fee of $2 to $5 included with your round. If you score an ace you receive a grand prize that you designate. The golfer gets $2/$5 in credit in the restaurant after the round if he/she didn’t score an ace. There are companies that provide a camera and monitoring for this contest.
3 Ways to Increase Sales
There are only 3 ways to increase your sales. (1) Get new customers, (2) raise the price, or (3) sell more to the customers who are already yours at the course playing golf or dining. . The 3rd is the easiest if only you and your staff SUGGEST!
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