Things haven’t changed all that much compared to the beginning of 2011, especially uncertainty in the economy.
This year, we’re looking at a European debt crisis that could throw the entire globe into recession and an American economy that continues to struggle. Even economic heavyweights such as China and India aren’t looking as strong as they did not that long ago.
Political upheaval also affects the financial world and we need only look at uncertainty in North Korea and unrest in the Middle East as possible catalysts for economic turmoil in the coming months, not to mention natural events that can strike at any time.
Uncertainty is the key word, which doesn’t necessarily mean that the world will be plunged into the next great recession or depression, just that it’s important to recognize that the possibility of a further economic downturn exists.
According to our GNN Poll, which gauges the mood of the Canadian golf industry, businesses have been preparing since early last year for the possibility of a rough road ahead.
Our look back at 2011 through the GNN Poll begins in the first week of January when we asked what statement reflected readers’ planning strategies for 2011.
Cutting most operational budgets with some exceptions was the choice of 47 per cent of respondents. Add in the 13 per cent who chose cutting all operational budgets and it appeared that the majority planned to run a tight ship in 2011.
Not all, however, as 27 per cent said they planned on increasing most operational budgets, with some exceptions, while another 13 per cent said they’d be increasing all operational budgets.
While 60 per cent of respondents saw the necessity to trim budgets, the majority in another GNN Poll realized that 2011 was not the time to hit their clients with a price hike.
In April, we asked readers what they were doing with their memberships/fees and 48 per cent of respondents said they were standing pat, while another 11 per cent said they were lowering fees.
On the other hand, 41 per cent said they were raising their fees, so there was some confidence out there.
It needed to be strong confidence. A couple of months later in June, a GNN Poll asked how much is revenue down at operations compared to 2010.
Forty per cent said revenue was down more than 20 per cent and another 30 per cent said revenue was down 10 to 20 per cent compared to 2010.
Ten per cent of respondents said they were down 10 per cent, with another three per cent claiming they were about the same as 2010. Only 17 per cent said they were ahead of the previous year.
With that information, one can assume that the ones who cut costs at the beginning of the year were glad they did, but even as recession became a bigger threat as the summer wore on, many were keeping the faith.
In August, the GNN Poll asked if Canada would soon fall into recession. Unlikely, said 41 per cent of respondents, while another nine per cent were even more confident, saying it won’t happen.
Combined, it was an even split as 38 per cent said a recession is likely and another 12 per cent said it can’t be avoided.
These and other GNN Poll results can be found in the Polls Archive section.
It is clear through these numbers that there is caution out there and the industry is digging in its heels. That’s not likely to change as we head into 2012, but we’ll continue asking the questions through the GNN Poll.
In our next blog, we’ll look through the GNN Poll at how morale in the golf industry may be leading to apathy as we progress into such challenging times.
For more on past GNN Polls, click the Polls Archives tab at the top of the GNN home page.