According to Bhurich, there are about 250 golf courses in Thailand, but about 40 per cent of the overall time slots are not used.
“Our business model is to utilise these time slots and offer up to 80-per-cent savings to golfers who are willing to get the last-minute deals from participating golf courses. It’s a win-win model for operators, who would otherwise get nothing for these time slots, and for players, who pay much cheaper fees.
“Most golf courses have about 60-70 time slots per day, starting from 6am. These slots are usually seven to 10 minutes apart, like the 6am slot, the 6.10am slot and so on, for an 18-hole course. Of these, about 40 per cent of the overall slots are not used throughout the year. The business-opportunity losses are estimated to be worth more than Bt1 billion per year,” the chief executive said.
“As a result, we’ve partnered with more than 40 golf courses to offer the last-minute deals. It’s a new business model, so we have to make it familiar among golf course operators and players.
“Usually, golf course staff work until 3-4pm, after which it’s not possible to book time slots by phone, so it’s not convenient for golfers to book after office hours. However, our app allows them to do so until midnight for the next day’s slots,” he explained.
“Our statistics shows that 50 per cent of all golfers book slots after their daily work in the evening using their mobile phones. On average, it costs just Bt1,000 per person to play a round of golf via Golfdigg, compared to the normal Bt2,000 you have to pay. The saving is about 50 per cent on average.
“However, you may have to adjust your time slot or switch golf courses for availability. At present, we will list all available time slots at various courses for your choosing. You’re required to pay after choosing the preferred slot and golf course. Then take your printed slip and show it to the participating golf course.
“At present, most participating courses are in Bangkok and its peripherals. For foreign golf tourists, they prefer courses in Chiang Mai, Phuket or Hua Hin. Most are Japanese, Korean or European visitors. They account for about 20 per cent of our clients, while Thai golfers account for the rest,” Bhurich said.
“There are about 500,000 Thai golfers [in total] and most users of Golfdigg are regular players and repeat customers. The number of foreign golf tourists in Thailand is about 700,000, so we plan to promote Golfdigg in Japan shortly together with the Tourism Authority of Thailand,” he said.
“We charge a fee to those golf courses that offer the last-minute deals for users of Golfdigg, who benefit from a much cheaper fee compared to the normal rate.
“In other countries, most apps for golfers are mainly for booking time slots, but they are not designed for last-minute deals. This boosts efficiency in the industry, while participating golf courses are happy with the arrangement we’ve made with them. At present, you can book slots on our app up to a week in advance,” the chief executive added.
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By : NOPHAKHUN LIMSAMARNPHUN THE NATION