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Loyalty Limelight: Golfantage

Loyalty Limelight (light)-01The initiative: Golfantage – mobile-based golf course rewards

In a nutshell: Golfantage is taking a swing at B2B loyalty by capitalizing on a channel that is heavily relied upon by a distinct consumer segment – golfers. The platform is mobile-based and course-specific, delivering offers directly to the mobile phones of the course’s best customers while sending insights to the course operators through weekly reports.

Founded in 2013, Golfantage in June will begin the client on-boarding process for its mobile platform, according to President Shawn Pjesky.

Features: Golfantage delivers rewards, exclusive offers, coupons and digital punch cards through a single mobile platform. Program members (golfers) get a profile page and manage “punches” and rewards through a code or GPS auto-validation. Golf course operators (customers) receive weekly analytic reports via email. The tailored mobile programs, each of which is branded for the course, offer incentives to increase engagement across activities, from the green to the dining room to the pro shop.

The program is packaged in three membership levels, ranging from $59 a month for 1,000 subscribers to $99 a month for an unlimited number of subscribers. All inbound and outbound texts are 5 cents, so a text to 1,000 members, for example, would cost $50. This also applies to the subscriber opt-in process and auto reply welcome messages.

The company is contract free, meaning course operators can jump on and off at will, and upgrade or downgrade as well.

The Takeaways: Like all loyalty programs, a key factor to success exists in the capability to gather insights and then put them to use in a way that benefits the customer. In this case there are two customers, the course and the golfer. Golfantage appears to follow through on both fronts.

• The platform uses real-time analytics to alert course operators of which offers are performing best and those that are not. A weekly performance summary is sent to the course managers, who then can track participation and redemption activity to inform future coupons and rewards.

• Each course operator gets a specific SMS long code to notify customers of new rewards and special offers. But the members have to be on course to redeem – Golfantage’s mobile rewards platform includes geo-location technology that requires customers to be at the golf course to use their offers.

• Based on insights, the course can offer rewards designed to increase revenue in areas where the golfers may not typically spend, such as the pro shop or restaurant, resulting in increased spending per member.

• All of this translates to meaningful rewards for the golfer, who – unlike a supermarket shopper – is largely committed to one course. By sending rewards, offers and related communications directly to the players’ mobile phones, the course is ensuring it will reach them precisely when those rewards are of most interest.

My one concern with the Golfantage model is that courses can opt in and out of the program at will, and that could potentially affect the data’s reliability. That said, it is a nice selling feature, one that requires Golfantage to prove its worth.

If Golfantage can do that, it could lead to a higher level of trust among course operators, which is the premier goal of any loyalty operator.

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