This week’s blog is all about what channels are available to golf courses in order market tee times/green fees online. Each channel described below will help drive web traffic (potential visitor golfers) to your website. When you are looking to drive more online green fees it is important to ensure that your tee time inventory is posting correctly on your booking engine at least every week, as unfortunately technology goes wrong! It is also equally important to ensure that your tee times are priced correctly. So, on to the channels available...
Website Design: The biggest asset a golf course has is the golf course itself, so it is imperative that good images of the golf course (preferably professionally taken, they will pay for themselves in no time) on the landing/homepage. Keeping in mind that this blog is all about online green fees, making sure that you have a ‘book now’ button that is visible as soon as you land on the page (without scrolling), through any device is imperative! Also, make sure your website and booking engine are responsive, as at least 60% of traffic comes from a mobile device.
Branding: Make sure the brand (logos, images etc) is consistent across all of your online platforms. The online consumer may not buy on their first visit (for various reasons), and when they revisit via a different device or platform, consistent branding will remind them of previous visits and encourage them to make a purchasing decision.
Email Marketing: This is still a very effective tool. Make sure you are sending HTML emails with a ‘clickable’ link to your booking engine. If you want to learn more about email marketing, check out our previous blog E is for Email.
Viral Marketing: Going viral means that an image, video, or link spreads rapidly through a population by being frequently shared with a number of individuals. Video is some of the most shared content on the internet, and a golf course (with or without golfers on) is an almost endless source of content. Short clips of golfers hitting shots, an overview of a hole, a competition on the putting green all make great content. Best of all, its free and the more people that share it, the more impressions your online platforms will get. Impressions and page views quickly turn into online green fee bookings with the right booking engine and price point.
Social Media: The most used social network is Facebook, so if you are not sure on where to start Facebook is the place. Make sure you are placing regular content on the page and use the 80/20 rule when it comes to regular content vs advertising content. Make sure thought that your social media pages have links to your visitor booking engine.
SEO/SEM: SEO stands for Search Engine Optimisation, if you have good SEO then when people search for tee times in your region/at your golf course your website will appear on the first page of the SERP (search engine results page). Check out where you rank, then look at the content on your website and make sure it uses the same terminology that someone who is searching for tee times would use. SEM stands for Search Engine Marketing and relates to paying to appear at the top of a search engine. The most popular tool is Google AdWords. It is worth noting that third party tee time websites use Google AdWords (and others) to help drive traffic to their websites. It is worth investing in AdWords if you are looking to drive more green fee revenue, and you should expect to pay between 20p-50p per click.
Apps: are a great tool, however when it comes to selling green fee’s online they will only work if the booking engine within them is mobile responsive or built within the app itself. It will also require you to make potential visitors download your app. This can be done in a number of ways but does require a thought out strategy, which should include some SEM! Once you have a good amount of visitor downloads, Apps make it easy communicate with those golfers.
Third Parties: will do much of the above for you through their respective websites, in return for commission or trade/barter tee times. Make sure you consider what tee times you are promoting through the third parties, and what the costs associated with the booking channel are.
The above list is by no means all the options you have when looking to sell green fees online, but we do hope it gives you some ideas to consider and put into practice. It's an old adage, but remember that you can only manage it when you measure it, so please make sure you are tracking the number of page views/sessions you are getting to your booking channels, along with the conversion percentages. Once you know these statistics, you can work to improve them! And one of the best ways to improve conversion is through revenue managing the tee sheet!