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Cradoc Golf Club: Improving your visitor marketing

Cradoc Golf Club overlooks the outstanding and unspoiled natural beauty of the Brecon Beacons National Park, a stunning backdrop that few golf clubs in Wales can emulate. Named Wales' Golf Club of the Year in 2005, Cradoc is just a couple of miles from the bustling historic market town of Brecon and within a 45 minute of Celtic Manor, the home of the 2010 Ryder Cup. The club is also very accessible to golfers from South Wales, the Midlands, and South West England.

While membership subscriptions are the club’s main source of income, at well over £120,000 green fees represent an additional and very welcome income stream to the club’s bottom line. Visitors had always phoned the club to book tee times, which used to mean a high volume of time consuming calls to the Pro Shop, and a lot of administration for the office.

Replacement booking system

In 2001, to make life easier for the club’s administration a member wrote an offline booking system that served the club well for ten years, although visitor and society bookings were still handled on the ‘phone and recorded on the computer. When that member retired - and with it the club’s source of support for the programme - the club needed to find a replacement as soon as possible.

Robert Southcott, Club Manager at Cradoc GC, knew about the BRS Golf system and in December 2010 the club went ahead with the installation of the Admin and Visitors modules: “We have a very high volume of visitors coming to Cradoc, and a healthy number of societies as well. It was our aim to try and make things even easier for visitors, and that meant going online so that the club could be open 24/7 to visitors anywhere in the world, whatever their time zone.”

“We also needed a system installed quickly, and with no other systems on a par with the BRS Golf one, either in terms of the number of other clubs using it or the proven range of its capabilities, we were very happy to go ahead. The visitors are handled by the Pro Shop, so the BRS system is set up there as well as in the office, and it’s also set up on a PC in the lounge for members to see what’s happening at the club and on the course.”

High take up, large visitor and society database

“While the previous offline system we had was very good, the BRS one is excellent. In many ways the two are similar, as they’ve both been developed by golfers who understand golf clubs and the needs of golf club managers. We’ve already got most of the club’s members registered with the system, and now that the club’s newsletter is only available to those with e-mail addresses, more are coming on board and registering with the club.”

“We’ve a visitor database of over 650 e-mail addresses and growing, and a society organiser database of over 180 people as well. I really like the BRS system’s e-mail capturing ability, and this will make a very powerful weapon for Cradoc when it comes to marketing the club for green fee business.”

Encouraging migration to online booking saving precious office time

Robert’s keen to push visitors from the website to the booking module rather than the ‘phone: “We’re encouraging visitors to use the online booking system by offering attractive discounts if they book online with us, instead of calling. The times we’re making available are prime time as well as off peak, so it’s a real encouragement and it’s helping users to do things the online way. This saves us a lot of time, e-mails and calls, so that’s one immediate benefit we’ve gained from the BRS system.”

“We will get the members to book online in the future, but the system’s currently targeted at enhancing our visitor income stream. In terms of the members going online to book, we will probably start with competitions because they’re used to putting their names down for them.”

Very user friendly, intuitive

Not all new systems are easy for club managers and their clubhouse team to get to grips with, but Robert and his staff have found the BRS system has been easy to learn and use: “From my own perspective, the BRS system is very easy to use. Taking on a new system is always going to mean learning a new way of doing things, but I’ve found the BRS one very intuitive to use. There are all sorts of features that make my life easier as well. For example, setting up a four ball competition means you’re going to need a longer amount of time between the tee times. With BRS that’s a simple thing to do.”

Superb support and training

Support was the reason the club acted quickly to move to another booking system in the first place, and Robert’s expectations have been more than met by the BRS Golf team: “Their support is excellent. I’ve not needed to make many calls at all, and mostly I prefer to use e-mail as I’ve got a record of the issue - usually of the ‘What do I do next?’ variety! – that I can then follow at my leisure.”

“So it’s to their great credit that they always send me a reply that is prompt and easy to follow. Their support team is superb, and they obviously know the programme inside out. I really like their online tutorials as well. These have proven ideal for our Pro Shop staff as well as the back office team, and these are in my opinion really excellent training tools.”

Comprehensive reporting

Progressive club managers value software that improves their data and information, so that they can make better decisions and reports to the committee, as Robert explains: “Of the reports that I can generate, the ones I use the most are the Revenue Summary, both projected and to date at the end of every week. These are very useful as I can help the Pro Shop reconcile the amount that forms the green fee balance every week.”

“We are also able to break it down into different categories so that we can see casual, society, members’ guests and tour operators revenue percentages and figures. “

“Another report that’s really useful for the members is the Caddy Master’s Report. This is mainly so that I can see forecast bookings, actual numbers, any special needs, additional charges I need to account for, and all the contact details. But it’s the best way for the members to be able to see what’s going on and what’s happening on the course throughout each week. This report also lets the greenkeeping staff work out when the quiet periods are for any major work that needs to be done on the course.”

“Lastly, there are the reports I can generate for the Caterers, enabling them to see what sort of numbers are coming during any particular day and week, and of course any special requirements that visitors or groups want to make of the club’s catering. That helps us to look very professional and caring in the eyes of society organisers and visitors, and makes us an attractive club to come return to for another visit.”

Getting the big picture

“What I like best about the BRS system is that as the manager, I can see the whole picture, a complete overview of what is happening and what is booked at the club and on the course. That makes it a terrific tool for any club manager, and it’s why I can happily recommend the BRS system to any club and manager.”