It is important to consider your membership when setting an online green fee rate strategy. For a lot of golf courses, members can be the largest income stream and therefore need to be prioritised. A few points we consider when looking at how members affect the online green fee pricing are:
When are members playing the golf course? A lot of golf courses have member only times, but often these are not fully utilised and are in prime revenue generating times. If this is the case, it may be worth having a last minute (24-48 hour) green fee release on any times that are available.
Members guest rates are traditionally a static price. If this is a sticking point then consider flexing the price based on XX% below the lowest rate at that time. It’s also worth highlighting any times where visitors cannot play the course but members can.
Online visitor bookings undoubtedly target a different market to traditional walk-in/over the telephone green fees, and because the customer is booking online you will generally capture the visitor data. Make sure you are re-targeting this data for membership.
We covered this in more detail in last weeks blog about lead time (click here for more info), but in short make sure your members have longer to book than visitors.
When looking at converting online visitors into members it will be important to have the correct membership category/price point to do this. With that in mind, flexible membership schemes are an extremely useful tool, they can also help you better use your golf course by making certain times better value to play than others. There are external schemes such as PlayMoreGolf which can help you market flexible membership, or you can create your own flexible membership offering – just be sure you have the technology to track when the members are playing as manual intervention can be very time consuming!
In summary, online green fees make up one part of a golf course's revenue but can be a great way to bring new customers into a golf course.