As the newest face of the Billy Casper Signature team, Danielle’s primary focus is in private club membership sales, growth, and marketing. With more than 15 years of relevant experience in a private club setting, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her position. Mrs. Hopper is involved in every aspect of club membership sales, marketing and retention, and lives by her mantra: “The Best Serving the Best.”
Private Club Marketing to Danielle Hopper: The Billy Casper website notes that you have the “second largest portfolio of golf courses in the U.S.” What is the key to managing such a large portfolio (include specific numbers if you can, please), and addressing what must be a diverse set of needs?
Danielle Hopper: The key to our business, much like any business, is finding the right team and giving them the tools to succeed. Given that our portfolio consists of a variety of relationship agreements, along with a diverse set of clients, it’s imperative that we build the kind of structure that leaves room for agility—flexibility, nimbleness, the ability to quickly switch between each of our clients and their different needs. The linchpin to this model is our ACE Training Program, which takes all of our employees on a journey pointing out all of the service opportunities along the way. ACE gives our team members real life examples of what they will face every day in the field. Every single one of our employees is required to complete this training at the beginning of their engagement with us and continually through their tenure.
In the end, what we all have to understand is that our team members [always] have to have our members and guests at the top of their minds. When considering our scale, our team members have tens of thousands of interactions with members and guests every day. The [acceptable] margin for error during those interactions is very small. Our goal is to “ACE” as many as those exchanges as possible – that’s what our success boils down to.
PCM: Our readers will be specifically interested in the 12 Private Clubs in your portfolio. How does the way you manage sales and marketing for your Private Club clients (Signature Club Management) differ from the way Billy Casper Golf manages clients with daily fee courses?
Danielle Hopper: The way we manage our daily fee courses versus the way we manage our private courses varies greatly. While the game itself is the same for both, the similarities end there. From our sales efforts, to our F&B beverage operations and offerings, to managing member expectations and the way we market the Club, [each one is] a different animal. Members are committing to a more luxurious way of life. Having a membership at a private country club is more than just stopping in for a round of golf. Their private club is the course they are going to play every day. It’s the place where they bring their families for Thanksgiving dinner, and where they bring their friends to celebrate birthdays… [With] our signature clubs we have to be nimble and adept at being everything to everybody.
PCM: What are the most effective tools you use to increase sales for a Private Club?
Danielle Hopper: Having a dedicated CRM tool that allows us to capture the most accurate lead information is one of the most, if not the most, effective sales tool that we use in the Private Club space. Our CRM (Customer relationship manager) has been written specifically for our Signature Club division. We wrote the program based off of years of experience in a Private Club setting by asking the questions that lead to more membership sales…In addition to our CRM tool, all of our sales people go through extensive sales training to ensure that they have the knowledge and ability to sell Private Club members to qualified prospects. We also offer weekly sales calls, group discussion emails and quarterly game planning, all designed to offer the most support and to give our expert sales people every tool possible to meet their sales goals for the year.
PCM: What do you think is the biggest difference between Billy Casper management and the competition?
Danielle Hopper: There are certainly some other quality golf management companies in the market. We know them well and have a lot or respect for what they do. What I can say is that Billy Casper Golf really does have a culture of team[work], of fun, and [of] feeling like you are part of something bigger… Given the diversity of our portfolio, we would not be able to service our different clients if we did not have strong sense of team[work]. Each Club has a variety of support levels, whether it be agronomy, IT, HR, Ops, marketing, sales etc. That support team works closely together to ensure the onsite team and the client are getting what they need. In that environment it’s crucial that the support team has the ability to make decisions and provide direction without multiple layers of approval. Creating that type of ownership is what sets us apart from some of the other large management companies.
PCM: Can you talk about Billy Casper Signature’s upcoming rewards program?
Danielle Hopper: We are currently working on another offering for our members and guests [that would] extend membership benefits beyond their current home club, [although] I can’t give out the details just yet!