The launch of www.GolfTeeTimes.co.za will see the Dublin-based firm open its first business outside the UK and Ireland. Online TeeTimes (South Africa) will be headed by Cape Town businessman Andrew Warner.
Golfers will initially be able to search for and book tee times online at a cluster of golf clubs in the Western Cape Province, the Johannesburg region, and Durban.
The international expansion comes three years after Online TeeTimes launched its UK business, after starting in Ireland in 2004. In 2010 Online TeeTimes will generate over £2.4 million in sales for its golf clubs, and €850,000 for its Irish golf clubs.
“Golfers here have very few online booking options at the moment,” said Warner. “Online TeeTimes will open South African golf up to a new market, improving clubs’ ability to control prices at different times of the day and week.
“It’s exciting – this will light a fire in the South African golf market. Golf clubs will need to adapt their old processes, but there is overwhelming evidence from Online TeeTimes’ success in the UK and Ireland to date that online booking – properly managed – can greatly benefit more or less any type of golf club, and any kind of golf operator.”
Although the Western Cape is noted worldwide for the quality of its golf courses, the Gauteng Province which contains Johannesburg and Pretoria is viewed by most as South Africa’s golfing heartland.
Warner explains the company’s strategy to expand after the initial launch: “We will follow the well-trialled expansion model which Online TeeTimes have pioneered in the UK and Ireland. I am excited that we have already created strong relationships with golf club operators throughout South Africa: we are now focussed on attracting golfers to book their tee times with us, and to register to receive our special weekly ‘last-minute availability’ emails for their region.
Online TeeTimes Managing Director Paul Heeney, who runs the company from its Co. Wicklow base in Ireland, said: “The South African market presents very similar challenges to the UK and Irish markets, so with the knowledge and experience of the Online TeeTimes team, and the enthusiasm and ability of Andrew Warner, I am confident that we will quickly grow Online TeeTimes (South Africa) into a strong business.
“We enable a golf club to use the internet to offer a more dynamic pricing structure for its tee times inventory. This is not as easy as some would imagine. Online booking goes hand in hand with proper yield management of tee times, and it can be highly effective in filling off-peak times while maintaining price points at busier times. This is the key experience which we bring to South Africa.”
With 500 golf clubs South Africa is a mature market in golf terms, and faces the same challenges to grow participation as other well-established golfing nations around the world.
“This is an opportunity for golf clubs and golfers alike to use the internet to improve their experience of golf,” said Warner. “It’s an important step forward for golf in South Africa.”
Online TeeTimes www.golfteetimes.co.za.