The mini golf industry is going through an upswing at the moment. In the US alone, mini golf is anticipated to rise an annualized 1.9% to $484.0 million by 2029.
However, there's no hole-in-one solution for capitalizing on this popularity. You need a complete set of strategies to take advantage of the current landscape and the shifting expectations of guests. In this article, ROLLER will help you tap into new streams of mini golf business growth.
Target audience analysis
The best place to start when strategizing for mini golf business growth is by understanding the demographics of your core audience. By understanding who is spending money at your venue, you can assess fruitful avenues for growth. According to IBISWorld’s industry report, the top markets for mini golf by age group are:
- 42.1% - Adults aged between 25 and 44
- 40.4% - Adults aged between 45 and 64
- 12.7% - Adults aged 65 and older
- 4.8% - Adults, teenagers, and children aged 24 and younger
This data helps us narrow down who to target when marketing your business. That being said, these figures don’t mean we should just cater to the leading age groups. After all, mini golf is a family-friendly activity, and parents and grandparents are likely to purchase tickets for those aged 24 and younger. This especially rings true when we consider that not many children bankroll their birthday party.
Using tech to go deeper into audience data
Another way to analyze your audience is by using a CRM. CRMs, like our own, offer insights into the individuals frequenting your mini golf business, detailing aspects such as their average spend, visit frequency, purchase history, and more.
Utilizing CRM data enables you to understand your strengths and opportunities. Is there an overlooked pool of parents who could be enticed back for a date night after their first visit with the kids? Could an organized tournament be profitable to boost mid-week bookings? How about increasing food and beverage sales by promoting package deals? A CRM will highlight these areas and help you make informed decisions for your marketing activity.
Marketing your way to mini golf business growth
Once you’ve assessed your audience and picked an objective that could work for you, it’s time to get your venue front-of-mind for future visitors. There are multiple ways to go about marketing, so it’s best to break things down into online and offline activities.
Digital marketing encompasses a lot of forms and mediums, including:
- Social media
- Third-party reviews
- Email campaigns
- Digital banners
- Sponsored content
- Video content
- Paid media
Offline marketing activities include anything that you do outside of the digital world, such as:
- Physical in-venue collateral – including posters, banners, and signage
- Sponsorships with local schools, sports teams, and events
- Print, radio, and TV advertisements
- Takeaway collateral – like brochures and physical newsletters
You should combine online and offline activities to market your business successfully. Choose an achievable selection, and remember you don’t have to do everything at once. For example, if you want to focus on booking more children’s parties, combine social media posts, banners for online party booking on your website, and physical posters in your venue.
Blending your approach
To market your business effectively, it’s crucial to blend online and offline marketing strategies. There’s no need to implement every tactic simultaneously; instead, focus on a manageable selection that aligns with your goals. For instance, aiming to increase bookings for children’s parties could involve a combination of social media campaigns, website banners for online bookings, and physical posters at your location.
You’ll also want to make the most out of your customer acquisition cost (CAC). Acquiring a new customer is often the most significant expense in marketing. So, once a customer has been acquired, you should encourage repeat business to improve the efficiency of the CAC. Employing a diverse marketing approach not only broadens your reach but also ensures that the investment in acquiring each customer yields substantial returns over time. This strategy enhances the value derived from the initial expenditure on customer acquisition by maximizing the lifetime value of each customer.
Marketing with impact
Whichever marketing format you choose, you should plan moments throughout the year that create a sense of spectacle. Activities like themed nights and competitions will likely pique interest and could be the key to your mini golf business growth.
Another way to make your marketing material more appealing is to add incentives for people who engage with your business. Discount codes, free items, and exclusive offers are more likely to grab attention and entice people to visit.
Did you know? 91% of customers are more likely to purchase from brands that provide meaningful and relevant offers.
Whichever marketing method you choose, you should track its success. Keep an eye on key performance indicators (KPIs) such as website traffic, conversion rates, and customer acquisition costs to understand the impact of your marketing strategies.
If you’re going down the predominantly online route, dive into website analytics, social media metrics, and email performance to see how your audience responds. For offline marketing, don’t forget the human touch – gather customer feedback through conversations or ask guests how they heard about your mini golf business.
You can also use tech to learn more about your guest’s perception of your venue. Tools like ROLLER’s guest satisfaction feedback software automatically collect, analyze, and action your guests' feedback and allow you to unlock powerful insights in just a few clicks.
Ultimately, sales data will be the best way to determine your marketing success, as you’ll want to see a return on your investment, with increases in bookings and return visits.
Top tip: If you’re not getting the desired results, try A/B testing material to see what resonates. Think of your campaigns as a marathon and not a sprint. You might need to fine-tune things as you go.
Ensuring your website is easy to navigate with a smooth checkout is paramount to mini golf business growth. Here are some tips for creating an optimized site and experience:
- Make purchasing tickets and passes seamless and easy.
- Show high-quality images of your courses to make them appealing.
- Make your location and contact info prominent.
- Feature guest testimonials for social proof.
- Put easy-to-find links to your social media accounts throughout.
- Include digital waivers with ticket sales to reduce check-in times when guests arrive.
Turning guests into regulars is a great way to unlock recurring revenue. Make membership upsells part of your sales journey and offer membership sign-ups across multiple touchpoints. You could offer sign-ups online and in person at the POS, and advertise the benefits of becoming a member throughout your venue.
To implement this, consider partnering with a software provider that makes managing and retaining members easier. For example, ROLLER’s membership management feature can help you boost revenue through return visits and encourage mini golf business growth.
Since launching our membership program 12 months ago, we have 12,000 active members, generating $2 million in revenue.
Did you know? Repeat customer statistics reveal that return customers spend an average of 33% more than others.
Birthday packages can be a lucrative source of mini golf business growth. This is especially true when you do all the hard work for the person booking the event. For instance, you'll be more attractive to potential guests by including pizzas, hot dogs, drinks, and a private space alongside a round on your course. The good news is that ROLLER can make parties easy to set up and sell online, saving you admin time and increasing profits.
In two days, we received around 90-100 party bookings after switching to progressive checkout. That's a massive number!
Increasing in-venue appeal
Maintaining and updating your mini golf business is crucial for sustaining customer interest, attracting new patrons, and fostering long-term growth. Regular maintenance ensures the facility remains visually appealing, safe, and enjoyable for customers.
Regularly inspect and repair equipment, such as putting greens, obstacles, and scorecards. Attention to detail will help build a reputation for quality and reliability, fostering customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth.
In addition to maintenance, strategic updates and improvements can inject novelty and excitement into the mini-golf experience, driving increased interest and customer engagement. Consider introducing new course themes, obstacles, or interactive features to keep your course fresh and appealing.
For inspiration, monitor industry trends and pop culture touchpoints. Look at including immersive features such as moving parts, unique aesthetics, and ways to celebrate players who score a hole-in-one.
Let's look at some of the world’s leading mini golf courses to see what they’ve done right and how we can learn from their success.
Bubbeljungle Golf in the Dark, Leiderdorp, Netherlands
Bubbeljungle Golf in the Dark is a glow-in-the-dark course where putters piece together a narrative involving a famous singer's kidnapping. Players collect clues as they move through the course, and in the finale, they are tasked with putting a ball into the mouth of the story’s villain.
To replicate their success, look for a unique hook – whether it’s storytelling or an exciting visual theme. And remember, features such as these are incredibly shareable on social media, which provides a strong marketing stream and level of awareness.
Can Can Wonderland, Minnesota, USA
The minds behind Can Can Wonderland asked the mini golf community what they wanted to see in a course, and then they tasked local creatives with making these visions come to life. Part of the venue’s profits go back to the arts community, so it’s their dedication to community building that earns them a place on this list.
To replicate their success, consider including the local community in your business. Are there charities that you would like to partner with? Can you crowdsource ideas to give your guests the features that they want? However you go about it, building a sense of community can be a robust revenue stream.
Lexington Ice Center course, Kentucky, USA
Featuring 54 holes, Lexington Ice Center offers mini golf enthusiasts a lot of themed fun. Their hook? All of the courses are based on bible stories and verses. They’ve gone all out from Old Testament to New – with Noah’s Ark, Jonah and the Whale, and the miracles of Jesus all making appearances. While the theme might not appeal to some, their dedication to delivering a cohesive vision is a marketing masterstroke.
Try leaning into well-known stories, folktales, and pop culture touchpoints at your venue for a similarly noteworthy drawcard. It’s a great way to reach an audience that feels connected to your offering before they’ve even stepped onto the green.
Conclusion: Swing big
Ultimately, how you achieve your mini golf business’ growth will depend on your personal preferences and the strategies that click with you and your team. Whether you make your name through sharp advertising, throwing killer parties, or making memberships a no-brainer, ROLLER is here to help.