Bryan Woodward is helping build a distinctive legacy at Horseshoe Bay Resort as the dynamic Central Texas property evolves from a beloved regional draw to a nationally-renowned travel destination. As managing director of the tropically-adorned 7,000-acre resort, Woodward is guiding Horseshoe Bay to new heights in room revenues, group sales and he expects the property’s recent $90 million renovation to bring new visitors from far and wide.
An award-winning media, marketing and sales executive, Woodward, who holds degrees from Arizona State University and Western Washington University, consistently drives and activates consumer engagement that has resulted in multi-millions in realized revenue and increased market share.
Woodward is the driving force behind signature events at the resort, like the Balloons Over Horseshoe Bay Resort hot air balloon festival, the Beer by the Bay music fest, a professional golf exhibition called The Shootout and numerous food and wine events. Many of these events, which frequently help sell out the resort, are now entering their eighth years.
You wake up in the morning what’s the driving passion?
Every day when I wake up I am excited to come to Horseshoe Bay Resort to create memorable experience for our members and guests. It’s a privilege to have them here and to be of service to them each and every day, and I am eager to help bring those experiences and create those memories for them, so they return time and time again.
What attributes separate HSBR from the competition?
We are one of the only resorts in Texas that is on a lake, so having the ability to bring that lake life to our guests is a huge selling point. Plus to have four award-winning golf courses on our resort grounds, members and guests are able to have both the golf and boating lifestyle in one. Not to mention our onsite airport! Imagine flying in on a charter plane or via one’s own aircraft, playing a round of golf in the morning, then taking a boat out onto Lake LBJ in the afternoon and dining lakefront that evening – only at Horseshoe Bay Resort.
How many rounds are played on the various courses and how many people are employed?
We have over 800 associates at our resort, and approximately 100,000 rounds of golf are played each year on our four golf courses.
Define customer service and approach you follow?
To us, customer service embodies genuine Texas hospitality. That is what we are known for and what we live and breathe each and every day. How we define that is a warm, friendly welcome, engaging with our guests, truly listening to them, anticipating their needs and planning accordingly.
How much contact do you have with guests? Do you reach out to them via email replies?
Absolutely. I respond to as many emails as I can, but also am on the floor all the time to maintain visibility to both our members and guests as well as our associate. I participate in our Lobby Ambassador program, which includes a manager in our lobby during high check-in times to ensure our guests are greeted and taken care of, plus I attend our events to greet and meet guests. And that is true for all of the managers and supervisors here. Here we lead from the front, not from the back.
If you could change one thing in golf, what would it be?
Golf is a sport rooted in tradition, but I think it needs to adjust more quickly to shifting consumer profiles and interest. For example, younger Millennials don’t want to spend five hours on a golf course. They want to play and enjoy but then do something else afterwards. We added in par 3 tee boxes to keep play moving along and make it more engaging to this audience base. This was something we realized and accounted for on our Slick Rock golf course, so you can play it in just a few hours if you want. Golf overall tends to react more slowly to these types of shifts in audience dynamics.
Biggest challenges facing HSBR?
There are always opportunities out there. We are becoming more and more popular, drawing more members, guests as well as national recognition. As we continue to anticipate members and guests’ needs, we know we will need to grow and expand, with more meeting space, amenities, and so on. As we do this, we need be sure we are maintaining our level of service, and therein lies the opportunity we face. As I mentioned before, we live and breathe genuine Texas hospitality, and that is not something we will ever sacrifice.
What’s the best advice you have ever received?
I’ve been told this by many before, and I truly believe it – listen before you speak and react. The art of listening is more important than ever, and something that we here focus on. You must listen and understand before you react, whether it is to each other or a member or guest. That is the only way you will achieve your goal.
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Photos courtesy of Horseshoe Bay Resort.