This week’s blog covers three of the questions we get asked most regularly by golf course operators...
1. What does The Revenue Club actually do, are you another 3rd party tee time market place website?
We are not another 3rd Party website, but we do help golf courses to increase their net revenue through green fees booked online. Our service is about ensuring our partner golf course’s "online reach” is maximised, and applying “revenue management” techniques to their tee sheet much like hotels do with their bedrooms.
We measure and manage the different routes a golf course has to sell their green fees online, ensuring that our partners are selling through the most profitable channel at the best rate possible. Practically speaking we do a twice-weekly ‘sweep’ of our partner’s tee sheets for the coming 1-5 days, and adjust their pricing to ensure all pockets of availability are maximised, if it’s busy the price might jump up, if it’s unusually quiet then perhaps we publish a special offer, as part of this sweep we also consider how other factors can affect price such as weather. Further to this we monitor the costs that are associated with online green fee booking, which includes commissions, net rates and inventory costs such as barter tee times. We wrap all this activity up into a comprehensive monthly report which helps us track progress.
We are also Google Adwords certified so can help golf courses manage their online paid advertising campaigns.
2. How can we increase the average green fee rate?
This is a complex question which should not necessarily be met with the simplistic answer of “increase or hold rate” as a number of factors can affect the average rate. For example, booking channel will affect the net green fee rate a course achieves, third parties will generally take a 20% commission in golf instantly reducing the net average rate overall. It is also important to consider if the green fee is packaged up as part of a corporate/society/residential package, as the allocation for green fees is often lower than the 'normal' rate.
Time of play and day of week is a big factor when looking at average rate, for example a Sunday morning tee time is worth considerably more than a Monday afternoon tee time, so if a golf club were to generate 90% of its business through week day afternoon green fees (other than a Friday) the average rate would be considerably less than if they sold 90% of their golf on a weekend morning. It’s also worth thinking about whether you are interested in the average rate per person or the average rate per booking, with the latter often leading to the former reducing!
Some course operators and perhaps members committees put a lot of importance on “the average rate” as it can be regarded as an indicator of status. At TRC we generally take the approach that this more historic view is relevant to the average rate of “the members times” but less relevant to the quiet/off peak times. Somewhat ironically this can often lead to the prime/members times going unsold due to holding the rate too high or being blocked off completely from sale. The net result can be that the club increases the volume of green fees but achieves a lower average rate, as the only tee times being sold are the most under-utilised and generally cheapest. Online review sites such as golfshake.com are now a better indicator of course quality.
The final point I will mention (although I could go on!), is the general rule that direct bookings through your own website will achieve a higher average rate than those which come through a 3rd party website. With that in mind it’s an easy win to ensure you offer all your best times to visitors firstly through your own website (if at all possible).
Although average green fee rate is a very important factor at any golf course, we encourage our partner courses to consider REVPATT (revenue per available tee time) and TREVPATT (total revenue per available tee time) which also considers on spend such as buggies etc.
3. How much does becoming a 'member' of The Revenue Club cost?
We work on a monthly subscription of £200 + VAT per course per month. We offer interested golf courses a no-strings attached 1 month trial, and if we provide an ROI then we hope that the golf course will continue to work with us and pay us for the work completed. Our service is designed to help golf courses add a specialised team member to their operation for a few hours each month, unlocking potential to generate more revenue, whilst working in line with the courses’ own priorities, much like a revenue manager would for a hotel.