Charleston, SC – The National Golf Course Owners Association (NGCOA) has released a comprehensive set of guidelines for the online distribution of tee time reservations.
Endorsed by the PGA of America, the guidelines set forth a framework for third-party, online agents and golf course owners and operators to conduct business together.
“Tee times are the fuel that power billions of dollars in revenue for golf courses,” says Mike Hughes, CEO of the NCGOA. “Proper education and management of that inventory is critical to optimizing yield in every channel of tee time distribution, particularly in growing online and mobile bookings. It also benefits all segments of vendors which sell into golf.”
Developed following a thorough market review with input from several subject-matter experts, including online agents and the PGA of America, the guidelines are designed to help golf businesses leverage the benefits of online tee time distribution. Some key points include:
- Allowing for better control and price integrity of tee time inventory, including barter rounds
- Clarifying alternative payment modes for services
- Delineating independent and bundled services, including POS, tee sheet management and tee time distribution
- Restricting online agents from purchasing course names and other keywords and terms for SEO
- Requiring online agents to post only approved tee times on their networks while prohibiting representation of availability and pricing for tee times not on their networks
- Emphasizing yield management and mobile-optimized solutions
- Promoting consistent technical standards for connectivity and content
- Offering methods to clearly and simply share data
Ultimately, the guidelines seek to create an open marketplace that fosters choice and competition.
“These are tools and a framework to assist in making informed and independent decisions when working with online agents,” says Linda Rogers, past president of the NGCOA and owner of Juday Creek Golf Club in Granger, Indiana. “Having worked diligently in the field with many online agents and software providers, we are highly confident the guidelines will be incorporated into agreements that allow owners to be in control of their individual pricing and will mitigate confusion in the marketplace.”
To assist NGCOA members in implementing the guidelines, the organization will soon host a series of webinars. Topics include distribution basics, data processes and marketing, reputation management, alternate distribution channels and contract structures, yield management and search engine optimization.
In the coming months, the NGCOA, in conjunction with the PGA of America, also plans to introduce a comprehensive training initiative and a guidelines compliance program.
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