The digital era is in full swing. Golfers are utilizing new technologies every day that allow them to improve their game and have a great time on a course. Golfers are also adopting new technologies to help them decide where to play and when to play. This directly impacts how courses manage reputation, interact with players, and the golfers experience.

The world is seeing online reviews take place of the word-of-mouth referral. Why? Because online reviews provide consumers the kind of clarity into a course that a single recommendation cannot. Online reviews are, for the most part, unbiased and real. They allow any player, whether they are local or passing through, anywhere in the world, to determine whether or not they should play your course. This is a major step forward from players being swayed simply by advertising, and a single word-of-mouth referral. Today, purchasing factors like online reviews play a more integral role than ever before for your course.

In the current golfing climate, no marketing strategy is complete without online reputation management and reviews.

Not with reviews carrying more weight in Search Engine Optimization and trust than ever before.

Review Generation

Online Reviews are user generated comments that curront or past players can post about courses on online reviews sites such as Google, Facebook, and Golf Advisor. Generally, an online review site will structure a review to allow the customer to give a rating between 1 and 5 stars and add commentary to that review rating. Once a player posts their review, that review will be tied to that specific course for the public to see. Positive or negative, reviews are collected by that review site and displayed for other potential players to see.

Golf Advisor review system.
Golf Advisor Review System

Why Online Reviews Matter

Depending on the review site, online reviews can be displayed in search engine results. For example, Google displays their reviews in the search engine results, making them ideal platforms for gathering online reviews. Those same reviews play a roll and have an impact on local Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

It’s estimated that of the over 200+ ranking factors in Google’s search engine algorithm, almost 10% of the total weight accounts for online review signals such as: Review Quantity, Review Velocity and Review Diversity.

Local SEO benefits aren’t the only reason online reviews matter. In fact, there are a number of benefits that come from online reviews. The two foremost benefits, aside from local SEO, are the potential for associated increases in revenue and increased trust in your brand.

A recent study by Harvard Business School (HBS) found that a one-star increase in a restaurant review can lead to a 5-9% increase in revenue2. That’s anywhere from $50,000- 90,000 in additional revenue for a $1M/year business. That’s simply from unleashing your silent majority on Google, Facebook, and/or other online review sites.

According to research, 93% of consumers say online reviews have an impact on their purchase decision. That same report shows that a 3.3 star rating is the minimum star rating of a business consumers would consider engaging with.

Review Generation

It’s important to understand your players’ technology habits when evaluating the review generation component of an online review management platform. For example, the odds of a player filling out an online review that they receive via email is very slim.

Instead, courses are harnessing the power of textbased review requests. The players are receiving review requests directly to their phone via text message. Using text-based requests, courses are seeing review completions rates much higher than email-based requests.

In general, text message-based review generation will be more effective than traditional email-based requests:

1. Text message-based requests are received instantaneously before, or as, a player leaves your course resulting in completion rates up to 15x traditional email-based requests.

2. Text message-based requests are easier for players to access. Open rates on email-based requests see an average anywhere from 20-30%. Text-based requests see open rates close to 98%.