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Golf Club Talk UK Podcast

The Revenue Club talks technology with the Golf Club Talk UK podcast.  Host Leighton Walker is joined by Gavin Robinson of GCMA, Craig Higgs of Golf Genius and Rob Corcoran from The Revenue Club.

How can improved technology enhance customer experience and aid the objectives of those running clubs?

Is golf behind on technology because the members don’t demand it?

How can you devise a technology strategy?

Click here to listen and find out now

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UK & Ireland Market Overview – October 2021

In the typically wet and warm month of October 2021, visitor green fee sales at UK and Irish courses dropped by 21% from September to an average of £8,927 per club. This was a smaller month on month reduction to the previous year which encountered a sharper drop of 26% in October 2020. It follows a similar trend to the year to date which has been characterised by a more consistent volume of sales from one month to the next with less volatile external factors.

Average sales were 13% down on last October which is also in keeping with summer trends and illustrates the slightly lower demand across the domestic markets. The average UK and Irish golf course still remains 8% ahead of their 2020 sales with a full month of growth to come against the lockdown of November 2020. This should cement the overall increase in sales for the majority of courses although the recent heavy rain and unpredictability of the weather at this time of year could hinder sales at the start of the winter season.

The average green fee at UK courses was up by £1.69 per person on last October to £21.75. This has led to a healthy £5 increase per booking to £49.76 which is the highest recorded and shows how the industry continues to develop with raised prices to take advantage of the high volume of sales. It is also indicative of the slowdown in cheaper twilight sales that tends to happen late in the season with the reduction of daylight hours.

Demand on booking engines reduced in line with sales by 18% from September and 28% on the previous year. This is a more significant year on year drop than the summer months when the volume of traffic was more in keeping with the previous year and could indicate that golf courses could be more susceptible to the post Covid-19 slowdown in the winter season as fairweather golfers elect not to play.

November 2021 presents an excellent opportunity for courses to generate additional year on year growth, and as Covid cases increase across the UK again, it could present favourable conditions for golf courses with caution around indoor activities. One point to bear in mind is that December 2020 sales were very strong due to the lockdowns in November and January so it may be challenging to keep pace with the previous year.

 

To benchmark your club against this data contact [email protected]

 

 

 

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Webinar – how to maximise your tee sheet

We’ve been working alongside the Golf Club Managers Association to deliver a number of webinars to help their members look at ways to use online tee sheets to their full potential.

 

 

 

 

 

In this GCMA Hot Topics webinar we talk through the three pillars of effective online green fee sales:

– Pricing

– Digital Marketing

– Reporting

Find out more about how we operate, and get some ideas on what you can do to increase the sales at your club by operating more effectively online.

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COVID-19 Support Fund – England Golf

England Golf have announced the availability of a Covid-19 support fund of up to £10,000 per club to help ‘develop a resilient business strategy and then plan for future sustainability.’ Applications for the grants must be submitted by 31st July 2020 and require clubs to justify how they will spend the funds to strengthen their business.

The fund must be used for future expenditure and clubs will need to show how the money will make an impact to their business and how it will help future sustainability.

Ideas given for expenditure include:

  • Promotion of membership and playing opportunities to lapsed or current golfers

  • Ways to keep vulnerable and under-represented groups, including young people, engaged with golf and your club in order to support their retention and wellbeing

  • Support from appropriate partners and organisations to support the business

  • Changes to the way services are provided, for example moving onto digital platforms

As an England Golf supplier we can help golf clubs in all of these areas. The key focus of our service is to generate additional revenue through sales (visitors, new members and societies) and reduce costs by operating smarter online.

The Revenue Club is fully accredited by Google, Facebook Business & HubSpot (CRM). We operate with 140 golf courses across the UK and are the industry’s biggest online marketing agency.

We can help prepare your application to England Golf and can evidence how the funding would fit their criteria to deliver increases in revenue. From a practical perspective, the funds could be used for but not limited to:

  • Membership lead generation campaigns on social media channels

  • A more comprehensive online booking platform

  • The installation of a new customer relationship management system to process member and society leads more efficiently.

The Covid-19 pandemic has presented some considerable challenges to the industry and an unprecedented demand for golf in recent months. We always evidence the impact and success of our service/digital marketing campaigns in our reporting suite, REPORTS.GOLF.

If you would like to talk about how to make the most of this opportunity, please feel free to get in touch.

 

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Post lockdown statistics in golf

We teamed up with the 59 Club and the Professional Golfers Association to provide some key insights around golf post lockdown utilising our reporting tool, REPORTS.GOLF.

Check out the video and infographic below.

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PGA Live Webinar – Green Fee Digital Marketing and Revenue Management

Find out more about using online tee sheets to their full potential in our webinar on Digital Marketing and Revenue Management with the PGA in their series of live broadcasts.

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How can email help your golf course re-open after the pandemic?

Obviously Covid-19 is grabbing all of the headlines at the moment, however it feels that the golf industry is gearing up to re-open. Here at The Revenue Club we have been planning out how to help our golf course partners market themselves once we are allowed to play golf again.

Email will be one of our main communication tools to help golf clubs attract those looking to play golf. With that in mind, we have created a check-list for golf clubs to ensure they are getting the most out of their email marketing, now and in the future.

Data Collection

  • Best collected at the point of sale. Online in advance ideally or completed on a data capture form on arrival for offline sales.

  • Having a booking system with an email tool is ideal as the database is updated live with recent bookers added instantly.

GDPR

  • Ensure everyone on the contact list has opted in to receiving marketing communications.

  • They must have the option to unsubscribe on every email they are sent.

  • Data must be kept secure, not shared with anyone and the user should only receive emails that are relevant to what they have opted in to receive.

Design

  • This is an opportunity to showcase the course. Ensure there are two or three images that show off the venue and clubhouse.

  • Avoid repetitive use of images and keep them at a resolution that is easy for slower internet speeds and doesn’t overload email inboxes.

  • Don’t make it too text heavy, this will be unappealing to the reader and the message may be lost.

  • Ensure the email is mobile responsive.

  • Include direct, trackable links to the correct destination of your website so that interested customers can go directly to where they need to.

Content

  • Use a title/subject/pre-header that captures interest and isn’t deleted before it is opened.

  • Include an offer as often as possible. Subscribers will be more likely to remain on the mailing list if they feel they are receiving exclusive offers for being a valued customer.

  • Make the content engaging. Steer away from routine messages – capture the interest of the consumer through creativity.

  • Make it relevant for the time of year and conditions i.e. don’t try to market green fees when the forecast is bad or the course is not in good conditions.

  • Consider timeliness. An email around bank holidays is likely to get a higher rate of engagement.

Reporting

  • Review email performance a few days after sending. Look at open rates, click rates and unsubscribes.

  • For golf courses, fortnightly emails work well to keep open rates high and unsubscribes low.

  • Review what customers are clicking on and refine future emails for improved performance.

#Email

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How will the coronavirus pandemic impact the visitor golf market?

At the time of writing, the length of the restrictions that are in place is still unknown. However, the shockwaves that have been sent through our society will be felt right across the golf industry regardless of the time we remain in a lockdown situation. Anyone working in this area is looking ahead with a huge amount of uncertainty and surmising their own hypotheses of the possible implications. Here are a few from the perspective of the visitor market.

Courses will be very busy when they reopen

In the lead up to the lockdown, there was a week of good weather where there was a huge surge in demand for our courses, indicated by a significant increase in web traffic to booking engines and subsequent green fee sales. If the restrictions are lifted to allow golfers to play again in the summer, the level of pent up demand will be huge. Most big sporting events have been called off, and individuals may choose to steer clear of pubs and restaurants. Golf could fill the social and sporting void that many golfers will have been yearning for over weeks of isolation indoors.

The number of your competitors may reduce

One of the issues that is regularly discussed across the industry is the oversupply of golf courses versus the number of participants. The pandemic may intensify this economic situation and clubs with high ground rent and an ageing customer base are likely to suffer the most. It is possible that more vulnerable elderly members may not renew this year, if at all, and they form a vital financial base for many clubs. The virus has hit the UK at the worst possible time for clubs whose renewals are in the Spring and it may be that a large proportion of member golfers will take a year’s sabbatical on their membership, particularly if their own income is uncertain.

Member to visitor shift

What’s almost certain is that former members will continue to play, and this may lead to a rise in demand for green fees. Golf clubs could find themselves with more capacity in traditional ‘member times’ and could fill the void by allowing visitors to play at these peak times. This is often a point for debate and would need to be carefully managed in order to keep the committed member base happy, which could be achieved with careful pricing and management of the booking window.

Visitor friendly venues will prosper

Golf courses that have a strong focus on welcoming visitors and that market themselves effectively will find themselves in high demand. The shift to online sales will only be accelerated through a continued requirement for social distancing at the point of sale. This will give the upper hand to venues with a strong online presence and slick customer journey to booking a tee time. There is a lot to be said for keeping in touch with the local golfing market during the lockdown to continue to build demand.

No golf on the BBC

There are windows of the golfing season when most courses experience an uplift in demand following the major championships that are televised on terrestrial TV. The absence of these this season means that golf clubs will have to work hard to generate that interest themselves through creative marketing that goes far beyond their existing customer base. That said, other sporting events have been cancelled which often provide a distraction for golfers and this could work in the industry’s favour.

Requirement for diversification in the off season

If there is a considerable reduction in annual membership renewals, courses will be even quieter in the winter than normal, particularly if there is another challenging period of poor weather. Many courses are reliant on their member base to sustain them in the winter so clubs will have to innovate to ensure they continue to generate revenue through this period.

The pausing of the golf season has offered a unique opportunity for organisations to take stock and look at their business models to ensure they are in a stronger position for the challenges that lie ahead. We are looking at many different ways to support our customer base of 130 clubs to ensure they are in the best possible position to take advantage of the new situation we will find ourselves in in the coming months. It is time for the industry to innovate and adapt, and what better opportunity than right now?

#covid19 #coronavirus #golfmarketing

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2020 UK green fee market overview

Online sales at UK courses finished the year 234% up on 2019 on average, despite four to five months being lost to the weather and lockdown restrictions. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about some ground-breaking changes to the industry and online bookings in particular. Not only was there an increase in visitor sales that has not been witnessed before but on average more than half of the bookings are now being made online, making it the primary method that visitors are using to reserve a tee time.

The average green fee has increased to £23.27 from £19.62 in 2019. Although many courses have increased their prices, the volume of member play has been much greater leaving little access to the peak times, making the increase even more significant than the £3.65 suggests. Average booking value has risen by £6.54 and although this should have increased in line with the average green fee, the two ball limitations at certain times of the year, along with unprecedented demand prevented further growth as the average group size fell from 2.31 to 2.22 players per booking. It is important to note that some courses have enabled pairing up of golfers and therefore the actual revenue per tee time may be greater.

Outside of the lockdown periods, average web traffic has consistently been three to four time greater than 2019 which illustrates the sharp rise in demand and an indication that the UK visitor golf market has increased in size.

Looking forward to 2021, the initial demand at the end of the current lockdown is likely to be extremely high. With increased daylight and hopefully better weather coinciding with a lifting of restrictions at some point in the spring, the level of pent-up demand will be unprecedented, we predict more than after lockdown 1.0.

Further limitations on social gathering will almost certainly continue well into the year which should work in the industry’s favour. Golf courses will experience high volumes of sales that should be at least in keeping with 2020 as long as the current lockdown finishes in February/March, and there is no reversion to a full lockdown later in the year.

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Happy New Reports!

 

Dec 3, 2019  3 min read

Whilst reflecting on what has been a really busy 2019, the team have pulled together an infographic to show some of the key booking trends.

We also wanted to thank everyone who has supported us through the year. For us, it has been great to work with 100+ golf courses across the country and ‘behind the scenes’ we have been hard at work creating a reporting suite ‘REPORTS.GOLF’, probably our biggest achievement of the year!

 

This new tool helps us to aggregate data across all of our partner courses and make smart, data driven decisions for each golf course. REPORTS.GOLF, is available to a golf course who does not work with us to access an in depth summary of their green fee performance.

You can find out more here.

We hope you will have an excellent New Years Party (or night in!) and we wish you every success for 2020.

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