Online Bookings: growing your public player database
Pay for Play
Over the past couple of years we have welcomed dozens of clubs to MiClub’s public portal bookings module, Pay for Play. The benefits of utilising online bookings are numerous, for both the customer and the club.
- Saves time and money spent on phone calls, emails, and manually managing bookings for club staff.
- Clubs can collect prepayment upfront for bookings, reducing costly no shows and cancellations.
- Convert website visitors to customers with a seamless online booking process offering a clear view of availability, direct payment, and confirmation at any time of the day.
- Customised management of your club timesheet allowing you to advertise whatever availability you choose to fit your member and corporate golfing commitments.
- Collect 100% of your advertised green fee without paying commissions to a third-party.
The most overlooked feature when implementing Pay for Play for public green fee bookings is arguably the most important; namely the creation of a ‘public’ visitor contact database through the online registration process.
Utilising Pay for Play not only increases sales, but significantly reduces other external marketing costs. Clubs that have grown their visitor contact databases incrementally over the last few years, have also enjoyed incremental increases in green fee revenue.
The strategy is simple, the bigger the database the greater the opportunity to reach out and engage public players for repeat visits and subsequently promote the benefits of club membership. If you are serious about marketing your club’s facilities, then collecting names and contact details of visiting players via the Pay for Play online registration process is the key.
With this in mind we have created a simple 5-point plan to assist in converting green fee visitors into a regular online customers.
Converting online customers
We suggest following these five simple strategies to convert your green fee visitors into regular online customers.
1. Pricing strategy
Purchasing products online is still primarily a price-driven exercise. However, advertising green fee availability online doesn’t necessarily mean that clubs need to discount their green fee rates. It is simply a matter of making online bookings a cheaper option. Set your rack rates as your online pricing and increase green fees for phone bookings, walk-ins, and other third party platforms. This way you immediately create an incentive for visitors to book online without damaging your bottom line.
2. Materials at the point on sale
During the conversion process you will in all likelihood have outstanding bookings taken by phone, email, or other means. As these pre-booked players attend the Pro Shop for registration, remind them of the benefits of your online bookings portal by supplying them with some simple marketing material. A printed A5 or A6 card advertising your message of ‘book online and save’ will work wonders in growing your online public database overnight.
3. Phone reminders
Train your Pro Shop staff to redirect all current phone enquiries back to the club’s Pay for Play booking portal. If a direct “we only take online bookings” approach seems too abrasive, a softer “did you know you can book online and save” message will usually do the trick. Don’t forget to use your other telephone platforms to advertise Pay for Play availability; most importantly your welcome, hold or after hour’s telephone voice messaging services.
4. Provide additional incentives
Everyone loves a prize so why not incentivize visitors to book online with the lure of being entered into a weekly or monthly prize draw. Remember that the perception of prize value is must be greater than prize cost. No sport is more reliant on ‘accessories’ than golf and most players jump at the chance of winning a golf related prize. Consider engaging one of your club sponsors to provide the prizes – the cost of providing the physical goods or services is low and the recognition factor of your sponsors name and corporate is branding high.
5. Post-round communications
After sales servicing remains an important marketing component to increasing customer loyalty. You can utilise the tools available from the MiClub timesheet system to automate post-round messages to your public visitors. All retail customers like to feel ‘wanted’ and failure to communicate with customers for extended periods may give the impression that you don’t care about their repeat business. Communicate with your public players immediately following a round and include them in your fortnightly or monthly public database email campaigns.
NOTE: All registered Public Players are listed in the MiClub database as a ‘Public’ player with a ‘PUB’ suffix related membership number. Public player email addresses can automatically be linked to MiClub’s eNews program for inclusion in regular email updates.