SBJ/March 13-19, 2017/Leagues and Governing Bodies

TeeOff.com waives fees in bid to increase bookings

TeeOff.com, the online golf reservation site owned in part by the PGA Tour, is waiving all booking fees, a major shift in the company’s business model.

No longer will TeeOff.com charge golfers a non-refundable $1.99 per round booking fee for the hundreds of thousands of rounds it reserves annually.

Instead, the company, which is operated by Chicago-based EZLinks Golf and includes the PGA Tour as an investor, will count on increased bookings to make up for the loss of revenue from its new no-fee booking policy. The company earns undisclosed commissions from the courses on tee times booked through TeeOff.com.

“We think the strategy will increase the number of rounds on TeeOff.com,” said EZLinks Golf CEO Gary Cohen. “We will sacrifice some revenue in anticipation that it will grow our business. Being part of the PGA Tour, one of the missions is to grow the game and this is an investment in the industry.”

Cohen would not disclose the number of rounds booked annually through TeeOff.com.

TeeOff.com tested the no booking fee policy when it launched its mobile app in November. At the time, TeeOff.com waived fees on rounds booked only through the app. After seeing 20 percent of the company’s total bookings come through its app since then, TeeOff.com now has adopted the no-fee strategy on all of its platforms, including rounds booked through the PGATour.com site, its online site and by telephone.

The company’s decision to waive booking fees comes shortly after competitor GolfNow created a policy that waives booking fees for those who join a V.I.P. membership for $99.

“This is a strategy we have been looking at for a decent amount of time and it comes on the heels of the launch of our app,” Cohen said. “We saw how successful it was and it tells us that booking fees are a hindrance.”

The elimination of booking fees on TeeOff.com begins today.

“We are eliminating them for every golfer, whether you play one time or 50 times,” Cohen said. “The key here is to reduce a barrier to get on the course.”

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