Over the past 10-15 years visitor golf has become easier to play across almost all golf courses. More & more courses are using some form of electronic tee sheet, allowing visitors to book a tee time over the telephone or via the internet. Third party websites such as teetimes.co.uk have also changed how golfers book, and now account for around 1 million rounds of golf per year, further to that (although a bit of an estimate) we believe there are a further 1-2 million rounds of golf booked online directly with golf clubs.
Online golf bookings will continue to grow 2018, especially at those clubs who have the right strategy in place. It is worth noting that golfers will migrate from booking over the telephone or rolling up at the club to booking online. New golfers coming into the sport will simply expect to be able to book online as they do for everything else in their lives, especially if they are of the younger generation. We already know that the average age of a member is 55+ at most clubs and older at others, so these nomads are key to attracting new golfers to a golf courses, and if they have a great experience they may join right away, or come back in a few years when their personal circumstances allow them to become a member of a golf club.
From working with our partner courses over the past 3 months we can share a number of statistics, which should help golf courses better target nomadic golfers through digital marketing and advertising. So here goes…
The largest group booking online is 25 – 34 year olds, followed closely by 35-44 & 45-54 year olds. Put simply, these are the age groups to target when using paid digital advertising.
It is also useful to know that most people are searching on a mobile device. However, we believe traffic from a desktop device although smaller as a percentage of total views converts better than mobiles, which may be used to ‘shop’. Having said that as technology improves along with the booking process so will the conversion of each channel (roll on 1 click purchasing). So make sure you consider what devices you are targeting.
It is worth mentioning at this point, that it is up to the golf industry to make the process of booking online as easy as possible for the golfer. One of the reasons for the success of third party websites is the ease of booking process versus the book direct option, which is generally; non-mobile responsive, takes too many clicks to book, difficult to find on the website and doesn’t remember the customer details – if Amazon (potentially the best e-commerce website in the world) operated like this I question whether they would even exist today!
A couple other factors to consider when targeting golfers online are; gender of people searching, where the web traffic is coming from (directly through your website, social media or referral websites), along with the geographical location, the day and time the web traffic peaks (in order to co-ordinate offers that will bring in the most ROI) and bounce rate.
As part of our monthly subscription service (as long as your technology provider can enable Google Analytics) we provide all this information to you. We then use it to maximise the core of our service which revolves around revenue management and dynamic pricing.
As a final point, we have seen anywhere from a £400 – £7,000 month over month increase from using revenue management combined with improving the golfers digital journey. If you are not sure where to start or simply do not have the time to look at this revenue stream, then please do get in touch and we will come to meet with you and offer you a 1 month no strings attached trial