America has her roots in the British Empire, but we pulled away and have now established our own identity and dominance. We still have an almost innate interest in goings on ‘across the pond’ as seen by our obsession with royal weddings. Of course we do have a justifiable reason now … #DuchessMeghan. But even outside royalty, we’re curious about ‘British sports’.
Soccer hasn’t quite caught on, but we do have polo clubs. In Europe, these events are social as much as they’re athletic. It’s an ideal chance for eligible society singles to mingle, combining the adrenal rush of powerful horses and the top-tier stakes of high fashion – the ultimate mish-mash of masculine and feminine. During chukkas, attention is largely on the pitch.
Action on and off the field
But during breaks, polo fans take center stage. It’s a fairly ‘executive’ sport, if only because of the cost involved. Players have to own or rent a horse, which isn’t cheap. Alternatively, you could join a polo club, or a country club with polo facilities. The membership fee itself could be as low as $50, but that just gets you in the door. Active participation could cost $15,000 a year. Also, many clubs require a 10-year commitment up-front, meaning you pay closer to $100,000.
Since members and players are already among the upper echelons, price isn’t really a problem. But they don’t always handle their own financial interactions, and are unlikely to deal in cash. They live the swiping lifestyle, so as a polo club owner, you need your credit card system swift and up to date. This isn’t the kind of client that will wait around as you look for change. They might not even have – or want – hard currency on hand. They do have wallets / clutches though.
Get the right payment partner
When you’re looking at merchant accounts – therefore – make sure their card verification is instant. Because polo playing customers won’t wait around as your system buffers. They’ll get fed up and leave in seconds … and that walk-off could literally cost you thousands of dollars in sales. (Good luck convincing them to come back!) But while upper crust citizens rarely carry cash, they always have smartphones, just like us. Mobile phone signals are a great equalizer.
So ensure your merchant processor has a swift, secure mobile payment app. Club members can use this for membership, day passes, parking fees, or even for off-field nibbles during the more social portions of polo. It’s likely these add-ons will be included in their ‘gate fee’, but just in case they need to make a quick payment, they can swipe and go. Also, because a chukka is barely 7 minutes (with three-minute breaks between), and transactions have to be fast. Swiping helps.
For more information on how polo clubs use credit card processing for successful chukkas, or to sign up for a merchant account, please call (888) 924-2743 or go to Charge.com.