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D is for Digital Marketing…


Digital marketing is at the core of what we do at The Revenue Club (alongside Revenue Management of course). To give you an idea of the explosion of online usage in the last 15 years and the importance of digital when marketing your green fees/golf course, consider this: in 2000 about 361 million people were online worldwide. In 2014 there were over 3 billion, that’s a growth rate of 765%. Today nearly half the world is online.

Still not sure if you should sell green fees online? In Europe, the numbers are even more impressive: over 75% of Europeans have internet access. On average Europeans have more than 1 mobile subscription each! No matter which device they use, on average people spend over 1,900 minutes per month online – that’s over 30 hours!

So what are these people doing online? Many of these digitally connected people are shopping. In 2013 the total in online sales for both goods and services in Europe was 364 billion Euros! It is very difficult to get the data for green fee’s alone, however we know that from 2007–2016 has grown from booking 10,000 rounds of golf per year to around 700,000 rounds of golf per year. The adoption of direct online booking technology has been slow in golf compared to other industries. We are still astounded when we find a golf course promoting green fees online but with no way for a golfer to book there and then or even worse, when the booking button is at the bottom of a website!

When people think about digital marketing they tend to think about websites, however this is not the only way you can reach customers. Other examples include a listing in a local business directory (like Google My Business), a presence on social media sites, a website with e-commerce (i.e. being able to buy tee times), a mobile app, email, SEM (Search Engine Marketing such as Google Adwords) and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).

To successfully market green fees through digital platforms we believe you will need:

  1. A well thought out and flexible plan.

  2. To set some realistic expectations. Digital marketing such as SEO/SEM can take time to have an impact.

  3. Make sure you track and measure how your marketing is performing (Analytics).

  4. Adapt to change in technology and your industry. For example, is your tee time booking engine mobile responsive?

When working with our partner courses, we are sure to set out the best and most cost effective route to market for your tee times. For us the idea is to get the right customers (i.e. golfers, who live locally and are looking to buy a round of golf), at the right cost (which the most efficient route to market SEM, SEO, a third party, Social Media or another channel). Once the customer lands on the right page, it is then important to measure the conversion (lookers to bookers). If customers are not buying a green fee this could be down to a number of factors including availability/price (inside your control) and weather (outside of your control). It is also important to remember that not all online green fee revenue is equal. Some costs too much to capture and some could have earned you more!

Digital Marketing is a complex subject and not all golf course operators have the time or expertise to effectively market their golf course online. We see our subscription service as like having a personal trainer. Sure, you are capable of doing it yourself but having an expert at hand is more efficient and you will get better results! If your digital marketing is a little ‘flabby’ then please get in touch on [email protected].

We are here to assist