Breaking Up With GolfNow
By: Bo LeHew
The Full Story
Every significant relationship is defined by its partners’ duties to each other. Each party has something to give to the other to keep it balanced. GolfNow is in a relationship with over 9,000 golf courses in the world. I was one of those golf courses.
Being in a relationship with GolfNow is simple. You don’t pay them a dime, all they want in return is your golf course’s tee times. Starting off at one tee time going all the way up to four tee times, per day, in exchange for various services they offer. Between their 3rd party booking site, marketing and social media support, website hosting, point of sale software & even an answering service, you would end up paying them nothing! Just a measly 16 rounds per day. Or 480 rounds per month. Or up to a staggering 5,840 rounds per year. For a golf course averaging 40,000 rounds a year, that’s 15% of your inventory. And with no up-front costs, many courses overlook this steep price because the perceived value of this relationship looks very fair… on paper.
GolfNow cares about one thing and one thing only, their bottom line. So, how have they managed to entrench themselves so firmly in the golf industry? They preach they are here to help golf course owners, but from my experience they look at golf course operators and management companies as supremely naïve. GolfNow reps come bearing gifts as well as lunch for their quarterly visits to explain “how great they are performing for you”. What is left out is the massive revenue they are stripping from your golf course and the booking fees they are gouging your golfers for as well. On top of that, they have done an impressive job at making you believe you have no other option in the golf market.
Well, that’s just not true and certainly not a relationship I wanted to be involved in. I wanted to separate myself from the competition. I wanted to break free from this toxic relationship. I didn’t want to wait for a quarterly statement from someone controlling my inventory to stop by with lunch and tell me how well I was doing. I wanted to look at how I was doing every month, week or even every day by checking the analytics myself.
I also wanted my golfers to benefit by getting amazing instant rewards, special promo codes to save money on future tee times, bad weather discounts & most importantly stop the booking fee gouging on my golfers. I wanted a better overall experience for my golfer.
So, I had enough. I started thinking outside the box and doing some research, there had to be better options out there. I decided I wanted to take back my golf. I wanted to control my dynamic pricing and keep 100% of my revenue for every tee time I sold online. Sound too good to be true?
Sound too difficult to accomplish? …. Well, It’s not.
I decided to break up with GolfNow.
It’s already become the smartest move I’ve made in my career.. With GolfNow I averaged 600 online rounds booked per month. With an average of $18,000 in monthly revenue. Two hundred of those rounds generated $0 in revenue due to my tee time trade agreement I had. That’s an Average Round Per Golfer (APR) of $34.
In the one month since I have left GolfNow, in the shoulder month of July no less. I increased online rounds by 35%! From those online rounds, total revenue was increased by an astonishing 120%!! July produced an eye popping $51 APR, an increase of $18 in revenue per golfer! In that very first month I left GolfNow, I had a RECORD month in online bookings for rounds and revenue! I also had a record number of e-blasts opened, the highest click through rate EVER & a record number of new E-Club subscribers. There aren’t enough exclamation marks in the world to properly express my elation.
How did I do this, though? How did I break up with the one entity everyone in the golf industry MUST be in a relationship with?
I formed a new relationship with a partner on the cutting edge of the golf industry who made this transition as effortless as possible. I now have the sharpest looking website in my city and the most beneficial booking engine in the industry today. Not to mention access to cutting edge analytics.
My biggest fear was, “what will happen to all of the rounds that were booked through GolfNow?” I was petrified. Did I make the right call? Will people still book at my golf course?
The answer was a resounding “YES”!
The most important lesson I learned is that the average golfer is smart and savvy. If they want to play at my golf course, they will simply type my course name into a search engine and go to my website.
Why am I telling you this story when I could easily keep this information to myself? As being part of a community of golf course operators, I feel it’s my duty to share best practices. GolfNow isn’t helping the golf industry, it’s hurting it.
So, who am I in a relationship with now, I’m sure you’re asking yourself?
GolfBack Solutions, you can visit their website here www.golfbacksolutions.com
If you’d like to hear more about my journey and how I can help you take your golf back,
here’s my cell phone, call me at 210-885-1302, I can help you through your break-up.