Is Golf Taking Adequate Advantage of Inflation?
It’s nearly impossible these days to consume any general or business media publication without seeing the “I-word” on the first page. Even closer to home, it’s equally impossible to purchase anything recently that’s within shouting distance of what you paid for it a year ago or, for that matter, generally over the past relatively placid decade.
This month’s column was sparked by one of our Golf Market Research Center (GMRC) subscribers asking if we had done historical tracking of prices by facility in their market and what it might say about how trends have changed in the past two years vs. pre-COVID. After figuring out that we had the information assets at our disposal to undertake that with at least directional accuracy, it dawned on me that it’s also an interesting question at the national, macro-level for golf. This continues to reinforce the fact that our best ideas often come from our progressive, independent thinkers dialed into the “Pellucid channel”. Here’s this month’s roadmap on this challenging but insightful topic:
How did we approach and tackle the question of whether pricing (golf fees) has led/paced/lagged inflation over time nationally?
Our analysis suggests that golf fees have lagged inflation significantly since COVID after generally pacing it during the ’15-’19 period. Interestingly, we also segmented the Public Regulation-length courses by Pellucid facility types which revealed that Public-Premium have more aggressively priced relative to inflation than their Value or Price counterparts
So, should you take an across-the-board 10% rate card increase for your ’23 season? No, probably not but the data suggest that we have conditions which would support a more aggressive increase vs. “standing pat” in fear of pricing ourselves out of the market as some industry pundits have recently suggested based solely on their qualitative consumer research (i.e. asking consumers “How do you feel about prices and their general direction?”) which always returns the response of “I’d like prices to be lower”)
For our subscribers, read on to get the supporting facts and insights. For everyone else, you can get the rest of the story one of three ways:
- Subscribe to the Pellucid Publications Membership for $495/yr (most comprehensive coverage & detail) – Annual subscribers get access to the following:
- Outside the Ropes monthly digital newsletter
- Annual State of the Industry report portfolio (PowerPoint presentation, PDF commentary report, access to Jim/Stuart video of presentation)
- Geographic Weather Impact Tracking (US, 45 regions, 61 markets) or Cognilogic for Golf Playable Hours/Capacity Rounds for individual facilities
- National Consumer Franchise Health Scorecard (expanded data and tables underlying this issue’s summary figures)
- Subscribe to OtR, 12 monthly issues for $250/yr (or you can opt for monthly payments of $25, annual term) with a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied at any time during your subscription. Subscribers also get access to the historical archive of past issues (last two years) via the members-only section of the Pellucid website
- Subscribe to Golf Market Research Center (for operators wanting a combination of insights and action tools) – Here’s what’s included in the current “promo package” for either $500 annual or $450 for NGCOA members (or $45/mo or $41/mo respectively):
- Full suite of Performance Tracking reports – Market profile, comparative trends report and 7 KPI scorecard for any month and Year-to-Date for data provided by facility
- Facility-level Cognilogic historical weather impact portal/reports access, Golf Playable Hours & Capacity Rounds by day in current month, by months in current year and by day-of-week in current year with comparisons to Year Ago and the 10-Yr Norm
- Facility-level Foresight 60-day Capacity Rounds forecast, select forecast weather elements (hi/lo temp, daily precip etc.), variance to last year and long-term Normal. Not infallible but better than guessing or trying to collect all that yourself and organize it manually…
- Outside the Ropes monthly e-newsletter (consider this a sample of topics and treatments)
- State of the Industry Presentation, PowerPoint presentation slides of quantitative results and qualitative trends-to-watch as well access to 90-minute PGA Show presentation video
To learn more:
- Click here for 2-page program overview or
- Click here for 15-minute video demo (you do have to register to see video; don’t worry, you’re not signing up for anything)
- Click here to subscribe for a single facility
- Email me for multiple facilities or special situations
Like all intelligently-run businesses, it’s a delicate balance in inflationary times of our economic needs (we need to at least cover increased materials and labor costs) and wants (we’d like to increase our margins in periods of strong demand).