Explain the concept that is All Square®?
All Square® uses the latest social media and app technologies to harness the passion for golf on a community level and focuses on the massively fragmented golf market that currently has myriads of golf-specific, sporting products. In our opinion these miss the connection golfers share in their love of the entire game whether it is travel destinations, equipment, competitions, or more importantly, their personal relationships that often span a whole lifetime.
All Square®’s innovative platform (WWW.ALLSQUAREGOLF.COM) offers registered users many opportunities to share and engage with other like-minded golfers around the world, including the ability to: find the best courses around you, through referrals from friends; discover, organise and create events with friends; and search an interactive digital course guide of more than 20,000 courses (and growing).
Why did you decide golf needed this new specialist network?
There are 15m golfers on Facebook, which sounds like an alluring prospect. Unfortunately, to reach them directly costs a lot of money. In addition, golfers using social media are predominantly between 20 and 45-years-old. The average age of Facebook users is 40.5 and is getting older. Speaking to leading social media figureheads in Silicon Valley, there is a growing emphasis on new niche networks, which are already proving popular with climbers and kite surfers in sport, as well as in business and, significantly, with women. All Square® is just this, a niche network for golfers, which enables users to join a community of like-minded individuals.
How is the new business progressing?
‘Beta’ testing was initially concentrated on two countries – Switzerland and Luxembourg and this has now been expanded to Scotland and California, USA. Considering the small size of our test markets, we were able to build strong communities without any marketing efforts. In the initial stages of our business, the focus has been on building content and creating a robust system, which has led to more than 850 golf courses registering on All Square® already.
How can travel businesses, golf clubs and resorts benefit from All Square®?
Golf destinations engaging with social media benefit from increased online visibility through members and visitors who become advocates of the courses they play, building global awareness among passionate golfers, which ultimately helps increase incremental rounds. From customer feedback on social media, golf clubs can learn their own strengths and weaknesses as well as discover more about those customers, such as when and how often they play, plus what equipment they like to use, which can help target specific green fee and retail offers. All Square® has a strategic partnership with Troon®, the worldwide leader in upscale golf course management, and together we are trying to find best practices to offer golf courses a platform that will facilitate communication between golf clubs and their members/visitors.
Once we grow our international audience, we will be able to monetise the global number of users, share data and capture their travel habits, as well as offer advertising and sponsorship opportunities.
What does All Square® offer businesses that other social media platforms, such as Facebook, don’t?
Our research is telling us that some businesses that have used general social networks (such as Facebook) as part of their customer engagement strategy are struggling to understand who their ‘fans’ actually are and this is leading to a lack of confidence, and a sense of paralysis, as to how they can measure the actual benefits to their business of supporting more generalized social platforms.
Our insight is that businesses are seeking a more complete, targeted and measurable approach to customer engagement and highly specialist networks, like All Square®, present a very specific opportunity to directly engage with consumers who are fans of golf, enjoy golf travel and regularly purchase new golf products.