BRS Golf and Oundle GC: turning those empty tee times into £000s
Oundle GC is a popular private members’ golf club that is usually busy throughout the weekdays and weekends with members turning up to play whenever they want. But like so many other clubs, there were quiet times which if marketed properly could be generating extra and very welcome green fee income from visitors. And when there are visitors, there’s the promise of all those additional Bar and Catering sales.
So how does a private members golf club manage to both identify and market the available tee times, and still enable its members to enjoy their golf course whenever they want? Using just the BRS Golf Administration module, this is exactly what Oundle GC has achieved: keeping its members happy and sales of more than £6,000 of tee times in under 5 months.
Finding more income generating opportunities
In the early part of 2010, in a discussion about ways of generating additional income Oundle’s Secretary Lance Quantrill and Club Professional Richard Keys realised there were two particularly quiet periods during the typical week: Tuesday afternoons and Thursdays.
Selling these empty tee times to paying visitors would not only attract green fee income but boost the bar and catering sales during these time periods, as Quantrill outlined it: “Each year Richard and I invest half a day in planning the year. One snowy day in January 2010, we saw that there was a great opportunity for significant additional green fee income by selling available tee times. We were keenly aware that even though the club has a thriving membership, we still wanted to turn any worthwhile opportunity into income to relieve the pressure to raise subscriptions.”
“We reckoned we could add a further £5,000 in green fee sales, and I knew that we should also be able to persuade the visitors to spend a further £10 a head in the Pro Shop and in the club if we made it an attractive enough proposition.”
“We’d identified the tee times opportunity before, but discounted it as we could not see a way of both administering increased visitor traffic and reconciling the wishes of members to turn up and tee off.”
The key to the solution: the BRS Golf online booking system
The issue they had to resolve was simultaneously enabling their members to play whenever they wanted, while having the means to slot the visitors in whenever the Pro Shop (the focal point for all the green fee bookings and sales) could do so. Quantrill knew what he needed: “I’d seen the BRS system and knew it was exactly what we needed to enable us to handle the bookings, while getting the members and visitors to call us and ask what tee times were available.”
Because Quantrill didn’t want visitors just turning up, clogging the tee and potentially clashing with members - and vice versa - members were given priority on these days, but anyone wanting to play had first to call the Pro Shop to book a time. The BRS Administration module enabled the club to run an internal tee sheet system, and thereby identify, control and manage the available tee times.
Quantrill: “That’s the great thing about the way we’re using the BRS Golf system. Members didn’t want to switch to tee time booking as such, and wanted to continue to enjoy the freedom of turning up and playing whenever they wanted. But we still needed to know and see the available times in real time from both the Pro Shop and the office, so that members and visitors could call us and book the times we could offer. In the same vein, visitors can only book up to two weeks ahead.”
Quantrill explains another restriction on visitors that enhances his members’ enjoyment of their course: “During the lighter part of the year, the available tee times can only be booked up to 4pm, at which point members have the course all to themselves again. This ensures our members can enjoy coming up in the summer evenings and playing whenever they want, while we can push visitors to exactly the times we most want to sell and which avoid any ‘clashing’ or interruption of the members’ enjoyment of their course.”
Making it all happen
To market the new opportunities to play Oundle’s course during the specific time periods, Quantrill put one half page advert into a unique regional golf magazine reaching all golf clubs in the four counties around Oundle, and advertised suitably attractive green fee rates on Tuesday afternoons and Thursdays. Quantrill also arranged for the green fees to be promoted on the club website’s banner, a feature made possible by the ever helpful CLUBView team which generated even more measurable ‘opportunities to see’ for the club’s new initiative.
Net result: £6,000 of green fees plus related bar and catering income
Starting in May 2010, the net result has been astonishingly successful for Quantrill, Keys and the Oundle golf club. In under six months £6,054 additional green fee sales have been made simply by marketing the available tee times on just one and a half quiet days in the week. The impact on the Bar and Catering sales has been equally welcome, with Quantrill generally achieving his goal of encouraging visitors to spend a further £10 in the Pro Shop, in the Bar and on food.
“We’ve turned our typically quiet times in the week when our staff had little to do, into our busiest and most profitable times. The BRS system has been the key to making our initiative happen, and we’ve managed to do it all without disaffecting our members who continue to enjoy playing their course, almost always whenever they want.”
Turning quiet unprofitable days into busy profitable ones
Putting it all into context, Thursdays used to be so quiet that Quantrill was seriously considering reducing the service levels on this day. Now Thursdays are the busiest and most profitable weekday in the club’s calendar, and on one Thursday in June 62 extra visitors coming to play in just this previously ‘dead’ day.
All the extra green fee visitors have also led to new memberships. Six new members have come directly from those who have enjoyed their visit to Oundle GC, representing several more thousand pounds, and completely justifying Oundle’s investment of no more than £1,500 for the original BRS Golf Administration module and some advertising.
So thanks to the integration between the CLUBView website system and the BRS Golf online booking system, Oundle GC has the ideal solution to the dilemma of marketing quiet tee times, while maintaining its membership’s privilege of – apart from Tuesday afternoons and Thursdays - letting them turn up and play whenever they want.
Quantrill: “It’s not simply a matter of either having your members playing whenever they want, or turning everything into tee time booking. Thanks to the flexibility that’s built in to BRS Golf’s system, we’ve shown that any golf club can – if they want to – have the best of both worlds!”
Now that’s something every private members’ golf club could benefit from…