Bromsgrove Golf Centre
In September 2017, Mark Laing, General Manager at Bromsgrove Golf Centre contracted The Revenue Club to assist with generating additional green fee business through online channels. Having sold tee times online via BRS Golf for a number of years, and more recently through Teeofftimes.co.uk, the owners and management team wanted to see if they could increase revenue through the online sales channel.
After an initial face to face consultation and appraisal of their existing sales and technology arrangements, the club conducted a trial month to see what difference and opportunities The Revenue Club could make. As well as achieving a 53% uplift in online sales, it became apparent there were a number of key areas where the club was not able to capitalise on online demand, namely:
- The direct online booking page was not mobile responsive.
- Pricing did not change dynamically inline with demand and other factors like weather.
- The existing social media following and email databases were underutilised marketing channel for selling green fees.
- Better commercial arrangements were available with technology and distribution partners.
At the time, the club were using BRS Golf by GolfNow software to manage their tee sheet, and selling tee times online via Teeofftimes.co.uk and GolfNow. The club was giving BRS Golf/GolfNow two tee times a day in lieu of payment for their tee sheet system and marketing exposure on GolfNow. Additionally, they were also paying a commission of 20% for all online sales through Teeofftimes.co.uk.
The course is extremely busy with member, visitor and group play, and is utilised more than 60% of the time year round. Typical members’ clubs run at around 30%.
What We Did
Direct and Third Party Bookings
The first step was to make the online tee booking process easier. We implemented a mobile responsive booking engine, and made the tee time booking option more visible on their website. The club was already entitled to use the software under their existing arrangement with BRS Golf so there was no additional cost. We also conducted a review of their presence on third party websites, improving course imagery, and setting them up to sell via other distribution websites.
In order to capitalise on digital interest, it is important to ensure that green fee pricing is pitched at the right level, so a full review of the price structure was carried out, based primarily on historic sales, course utilisation and local competition. The existing pricing structure was already well considered, with five rate bands throughout the day. Once the initial price structure is set up we carried out twice weekly ‘rate sweeps’ and adjust the prices according to a number of different factors which can influence demand such as: weather, lead time, competitor rates, big sporting events etc. We also check how well the structure is performing by monitoring the conversion of page views to bookings through a combination of Google Analytics and other reports.
To encourage more direct business, we deliver weekly marketing activity across Google, Facebook, Twitter and email. The club uses MailChimp so we regularly update their database from recent sales (in accordance with GDPR) so that email campaigns target active customers.
Social media activity is designed to highlight the best offers of the week as the price moves dynamically. The club were already active on social media so this activity compliments existing communications and balances engaging content with commercial promotions.
Cost Management & Reporting
Because there are various costs associated with selling tee times online, including, commission to third parties, barter sales and cash costs for software, it is important to monitor these on an ongoing basis and compare with previous years, just like you would with top line sales. We provide all of our partner clubs with a detailed monthly report which covers the costs and sales per channel alongside a number of key metrics. This is then used to identify opportunities for revenue and profit growth for the club on a monthly basis.
Bromsgrove Golf Centre have recently made the homepage on their website mobile responsive, and the next step is to roll this out across the entire website (around 65% of their bookings come from a mobile device). Pricing tactics continue to evolve with the increase in data on consumer behaviour, and as the database and social media following grows, the club’s online presence becomes more refined which facilitates cost effective and highly targeted marketing.