The November 22, 2010 GolfWire business feature highlighted Sports and Leisure Research Group President Jon Last’s comments on how evolving consumer attitudes present new marketing challenges and opportunities for golf facility operators.
ORLANDO, Fla. (Nov. 22, 2010) – As golfers migrate toward a digital lifestyle and seek out easier ways to make choices, courses that make their tee times available online and use third-party distributors to augment their marketing have a competitive advantage, according to participants in a panel discussion at the Golf Inc. Conference in Las Vegas.
“We’re in a time when there is an overabundance of information, but at the same time consumers are feeling more deprived of time than at any time in history,” said Jon Last, president of Sports & Leisure Research Group. “As a result, they’re looking for simplicity and options in the choices they make. Some of the things they value don’t always lend themselves to the old ways of doing business in golf.”
Last said the time pressures consumers feel and the number of choices they have for their leisure time and dollars argue for a larger marketing “footprint,” which includes online tee time reservation services.
“Given this environment, where people are inundated by messages and their choices include not just where they might play golf, but if they’re going to play golf, the greater presence you have and the more prominent the places where you’re showing up, the easier you’re going to be to find. Online services create a pull strategy as well as a push strategy.”
“The biggest (feedback) we get from our players regarding the online service is convenience,” said panel participant Greg Avant, owner and director of golf at the Lone Tree Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz. “For them, to be able to go online and compare prices is very appealing. Price sensitivity is definitely part of the world we live in today.”
Mike Loustalot, who co-founded Golf Channel’s GolfNow.com online tee time service in 2002 and has been involved in marketing tee times online since 1998,, encouraged operators to show a representative sample of their tee time inventory online to give golfers more choices.
“I don’t necessarily advocate showing all of your inventory at once, but you should have a broad enough selection of inventory on your site so a customer can make a decision to buy,” Loustalot said. “The pricing of that inventory should vary according to dayparts and your patterns of play. I don’t say show 248 times each day, but have times throughout the day, so people have a choice.”
A service of Golf Channel, GolfNow.com uses its broad marketing and distribution resources to help golfers search for available tee times and make reservations that fit their schedules and budgets. In 2009, golfers booked 3.8 million rounds through the GolfNow.com site, generating more than $121 million in online revenues for partner courses. The service is now available at more than 2,400 courses in more than 50 U.S. markets.
GolfNow.com is the Internet’s largest and most comprehensive online tee time booking service. Since its launch in 2001, GolfNow.com has expanded to more than 50 U.S. markets and now provides tee time access to more than 2,200 courses for nearly 1 million registered users. The site’s demand-based Dynamic Pricing Engine™ puts operators in complete control of their tee sheets and pricing. GolfNow.com is powered by Golf Channel, which is seen in 82.1 million homes and by 15 million monthly viewers; as well as by GolfChannel.com, the Internet’s No. 1 golf destination. The service is part of GolfChannel.com’s online platform of Internet sites designed to help the recreational player enjoy every aspect of the game.
Bryant Marketing Communications