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Golf resorts like Reunion have taken “uncool” marketing tactics and made them beautiful.

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Of all the industries to learn from, I’ve always felt golf holds some of the closest, most insightful parallels.

So from fall 2014 to spring 2015 I studied golf resort marketing as rigorously as I do ski, collecting a long list of examples to learn what they’re doing well and what they’re not. This week I’ll be sharing three of those lessons.

Once upon a time I was on the junior high golf team. In the mid-90s, most 14 year olds playing golf were from well-to-do families. A few, like me, were poor but lucky enough to have a set of hand-me-down women’s clubs and free pass to the local course.

So it should have been no surprise that my first tournament paired me with a kid sporting the latest golf duds, a Biggest Big Bertha in his bag, and a near-perfect follow-through (that honestly looked like Tiger Woods had died and come back as an 8th grader). To his peers, he looked like an amazing golfer.

But me in my old jeans and running shoes beat him. Handily. By about 10 strokes if I remember right. Because where it counted – my golf game – was leaps and bounds ahead of his.

Moral of the Story
In a lot of ways, marketers can be like this kid. We sometimes worry more about what our peers think than how our efforts will perform in the wild.

The result, unfortunately, is that we create “cool” looking marketing but leave out really effective, solid, powerful marketing tactics. And we leave them out because, for lack of a better word, we as a marketing community don’t like them.

Things like popovers.

Concept + Design
Part of the reason many marketers dislike popovers is just that, we personally dislike having to deal with them. But another reason is because most are so in-your-face and used-car-lot-commercial-esque that we think there’s no way to do it well.

Reunion Resort, however, thought differently.


Because here’s the thing, popovers work really, really, really well.

If you want to gather emails, if you want to give some timely bit of information a lot of valuable visibility, if you want to do that without having to change anything on your home page (or any page for that matter), popovers absolutely crush it.

All they did was take the concept, strip away the yelling, and apply a beautiful, well-designed skin.


What’s even more interesting is how often I saw popovers show up on golf resort websites. It wasn’t a majority, but a fairly good number have found ways to strip away the annoying bits in order to capitalize on the potential behind this technology.

A Reason Why
But there’s an interesting story behind why this may have happened in golf and not in ski,

Because, unlike skiing, there is no golf resort marketing community. People don’t stay in the industry for life, they rarely know more than 1 or 2 other golf resort marketers, they aren’t texting their marketing buddies to grab drinks at the Golf Business conference. In other words, they aren’t trying to impress anyone but they also don’t have peers to learn from. Additionally, if they don’t like some tactic, there’s no community to rile up and share/spread that sentiment with.

It’s a bit of a unnecessary catch 22, but an interesting lesson nonetheless. We have a priceless community is skiing, but we shouldn’t let what the community thinks prevent us from taking advantage of the stuff that works.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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