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With imperfect golfing conditions, Sycuan didn’t avoid the truth, they made it a reason to come.

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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.

As I mentioned the other day, golf resorts, especially compared to ski, have very consistent conditions. But perhaps it’s their lack of experience in that regard that helps them see their marketing options in a new light.

Because conditions will always go head-to-head with expectations when determining the quality of experience someone has at your resort.

For Example
For example, Sycuan Resort was reseeding their greens. Reseeding, as you can imagine, changes the game of golf as putting becomes trickier and less predictable.

So being, they were left with a few options.

  • Not say a word.
  • Inform them when they arrive.
  • Inform them before they arrive.
  • Inform them before they book.

The first three could very easily backfire because, again, the conditions would not match their expectations. The fourth could, potentially, impact bookings.

Door #5, Please
But instead of doing any one of those, they tried something different.

They wrapped the negative in a positive that not only was transparent about current conditions, but gave people a reason to come anyway.


The result is expectations that match conditions, a few new guests looking for a deal, and Sycuan could improve future conditions without making too big an impact on the bottom line.

Ski resorts are famous for their lack of transparency when it comes to conditions. But if we get people to come and their experience is terrible because of unmet expectations, are we really doing ourselves any favors?

Maybe MRG had it right:

Maybe the long term gains from people coming with accurate expectations are better than whatever losses (if any) come from being honest, especially if we wrap it in an extra reason to come like Sycuan.

Thoughts? Ideas? Feedback? Comments are old-school, click here to grab a slot on Gregg's calendar and let's chat.

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