Fall12_G&L.qxd      9/10/12      8:22 PM     Page 74                                   GOLF                               ...
Fall12_G&L.qxd     9/10/12      8:22 PM      Page 75                                                                      ...
Golf Bookings Management - Kauri Cliffs & Cape Kidnappers Case Study, Gaming & Leisure Magazine, Fall 2012
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Golf Bookings Management - Kauri Cliffs & Cape Kidnappers Case Study, Gaming & Leisure Magazine, Fall 2012

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World Leading Courses from New Zealand
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Gaming & Leisure Magazine
www.gamingandleisuremagazine.com


We are fortunate and grateful to have Ryan Brandeburg, Director of Golf at both Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers participate with us on this article. Karui Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers Golf Courses of New Zealand are both ranked among the world top 100 by Golf Magazine. Their accompanying luxury lodges are part of Relais & Chateaux and are listed among the top 25 hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure.

The courses and lodges have been highly recognized around the world, with many of the reviews found on their websites: http://kauricliffs.com http://www.capekidnappers.com

Our following discussion with Ryan is to review how he managed their transition from a manual golf booking sheet to a leading golf software system. The exchange highlights how a properly implemented system can assist even the most unique golf facility in enhancing the customer experience and increasing revenues.

[GL] You have been using the OpenTee / OpenBook system since early 2006. In fact, implementing these systems was one of your priorities. What were some of the reasons for implementing these solutions?


[RB] Although the defining characteristics of the facilities where I have installed OpenTee/OpenBook have been different, the decision to install was simple due to the features of the software and the ease of use. (OpenTee / Open Book are golf management software systems developed by The Active Network).

In 2006, I began using the software for installs within the golf portfolio of LXR Luxury Resorts, an owned asset of The Blackstone Group, the world’s largest private-equity firm. These installs were at high-end resort courses with large room inventories and moderate/busy annual rounds.

At Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers, we are lucky enough to have two of the highest ranked hotels and golf courses in the world, but with a very low room inventory (22 suites per property) and low volume of rounds…approximately 5,000 rounds per course annually.

Even though the facilities have vast differences, the software is equally beneficial. At Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers, we were utilizing pencil/paper for tee times when I arrived in early 2010. By January 2011 we were fully functional with The Active Network.

The switch from “notebook” to “network” has had many benefits. We now house all of our data electronically, so the threat of a spilled cup of coffee ruining weeks of tee time data is eliminated. Our golf staff, superintendent, front desks, culinary team, reservations staff, and even our owner can now view our tee sheets remotely instead of lengthy email chains to forecast golf rounds.

We’ve opted to host this solution on an Active Network server in San Diego, USA, but the 6,500 miles of distance hasn’t impacted the system’s performance at all. With 400 miles between Kauri and Cape, and with a

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Golf Bookings Management - Kauri Cliffs & Cape Kidnappers Case Study, Gaming & Leisure Magazine, Fall 2012

  1. 1. Fall12_G&L.qxd 9/10/12 8:22 PM Page 74 GOLF Bill Healey GOLF BOOKINGS MANAGEMENT KAURI CLIFFS & CAPE KIDNAPPERS CASE STUDY WORLD LEADING COURSES FROM NEW ZEALAND We are fortunate and grate- Group, the world’s largest private-equity firm. Management is still underutilized in the golf ful to have Ryan These installs were at high-end resort courses industry. Has Kauri Cliffs been able to effec- Brandeburg, Director of with large room inventories and moderate/busy tively manage yield with OpenBook? Golf at both Kauri Cliffs annual rounds. and Cape Kidnappers par- RB: Unfortunately, we are not quite to the stage ticipate with us on this At Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers, we are of needing a yield management tool. At close to article. Karui Cliffs and lucky enough to have two of the highest ranked $500 per round at Kauri Cliffs and Cape Cape Kidnappers Golf hotels and golf courses in the world, but with a Kidnappers, we allow guests to book and play as Courses of New Zealand are both ranked very low room inventory (22 suites per proper- singles, twosomes, etc. It is all about the guest among the world top 100 by Golf Magazine. ty) and low volume of rounds…approximately and what helps create a memorable experience. Their accompanying luxury lodges are part of 5,000 rounds per course annually. One of my priorities is to get to the stage that we Relais & Chateaux and are listed among the top need to start analyzing our yield and maximizing 25 hotels in the world by Travel + Leisure. Even though the facilities have vast differences, our capacity on the golf courses! the software is equally beneficial. At Kauri The courses and lodges have been highly recog- Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers, we were utilizing I do agree that yield management is drastically nized around the world, with many of the pencil/paper for tee times when I arrived in underutilized in the golf business, and several own- reviews found on their websites: http://kauri- early 2010. By January 2011 we were fully ers and operators would learn more about their busi- cliffs.com http://www.capekidnappers.com functional with The Active Network. ness model, their pricing strategies, and their opera- tional efficiencies if they did yield manage. We were Our following discussion with Ryan is to The switch from “notebook” to “network” has working hard to implement yield management review how he managed their transition from a had many benefits. We now house all of our techniques when I left Blackstone’s portfolio. manual golf booking sheet to a leading golf data electronically, so the threat of a spilled cup software system. The exchange highlights how of coffee ruining weeks of tee time data is elim- GL: Has the booking system been integrated to a properly implemented system can assist even inated. Our golf staff, superintendent, front the Kauri Cliffs website? How has the course- the most unique golf facility in enhancing the desks, culinary team, reservations staff, and branded booking system facilitated the book- customer experience and increasing revenues. even our owner can now view our tee sheets ing process? remotely instead of lengthy email chains to GL: You have been using the OpenTee / forecast golf rounds. RB: One of the biggest benefits of the system, OpenBook system since early 2006. In fact, which I specifically omitted above, is the implementing these systems was one of your We’ve opted to host this solution on an Active online booking system. I only omitted it priorities. What were some of the reasons for Network server in San Diego, USA, but the 6,500 because it is so valuable it needs to have a ded- implementing these solutions? miles of distance hasn’t impacted the system’s per- icated space of its own! formance at all. With 400 miles between Kauri and RB: Although the defining characteristics of the Cape, and with a growing company, this hosted solu- The ability to brand our booking engine to facilities where I have installed tion has assured us that we can access data anywhere, match our property colors, use our own images, OpenTee/OpenBook have been different, the anytime. Additionally, the opportunity to view his- and create verbiage that is in line with our web- decision to install was simple due to the features torical data and drill down to player types, plus fore- sites and collateral is a major asset. With two of the software and the ease of use. (OpenTee / cast future business is crucial for a seasonal destina- international “destination” courses, we rarely Open Book are golf management software sys- tion such as New Zealand. The benefits are numer- have an opportunity to speak with our customers tems developed by The Active Network). ous, but the final point to mention is the ease of use, until they arrive at the gate. Due to time differ- which translates intoquick staff training. ences, the cost and difficulty of international call- In 2006, I began using the software for installs ing, and the ease of email, we historically have within the golf portfolio of LXR Luxury GL: OpenBook is an online booking tool with done the majority of our pre-arrival correspon- Resorts, an owned asset of The Blackstone yield management capabilities. Yield dence with guests via email. 74 GAMING & LEISURE FA L L 2 0 1 2 702.547.4545
  2. 2. Fall12_G&L.qxd 9/10/12 8:22 PM Page 75 GOLF BOOKINGS MANAGEMENT In my early days here, we began tracking emails. Ryan Brandeburg, Director During our peak booking seasons, we were of Golf at Kauri Cliffs and receiving close to 40 emails per day regarding tee time inquiries. The manpower it took to respond Cape Kidnappers to these emails kept staff away from the guest and stuck behind a computer. When we drilled down further, we found it took between 6-8 emails to actually book and confirm a tee time. Once we launched the online booking system, we immediately saw a reduction in the number of emails received, and were able to spend more face time with the guest. GL: Has the use of OpenBook improved online booking revenues? RB: In our case, OpenBook has created online booking revenues! We went from 1975 to 2011 in a few short months, and as soon as we went electronic, the online bookings began flowing. We’ve included the link directly into our Lodge guest correspondence, which has changed our business entirely. Given the low volume at our courses, guests were accustomed to showing up and booking tee times on the morning of their intended day of play. By encouraging them to book in providing an orientation, and answering any bookings have added substantial names to our advance, it has allowed us to staff the opera- questions the guests may have. Our “caddies” database. We’ve used this to promote golf tions smarter and more efficiently. serve not only as traditional caddies, but also pick tournaments at the Lodges, increase the sale of the range, clean carts, help with F&B, and ensure holiday gift certificates, and even to promote Additionally, the Promo codes have been a pos- that the guest experience is flawless. junior golf initiatives. itive tool for us, as we can use it to provide “one time” offers to local clubs who we invite to We are running Micros as our POS, and the inte- Additionally, the system gives us the ability Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers once per sea- gration feature with Active’s software is excel- to share information between the staffs at son. Once again, this eliminates several emails, lent. I am confident that our staff is booking the Kauri Cliffs and Cape Kidnappers regarding freeing up staff. tee time correctly, which means that on the day guest preferences, contact details, and special of play we simply have to pull the information notes to help enhance the experience. If a cer- GL: OpenTee allows you to maximize rounds into Micros and the check is created. tain guest mentioned a preference for by managing crossovers, shotguns, events and Heineken at Kauri Cliffs, we can have a cold group check-ins. Are those features that have As you can imagine with a demanding clien- Heineken waiting for them upon arrival at been used at Kauri Cliffs? Do you have any tele, we have several unique situations regard- Cape Kidnappers. These small touch points unique or interesting examples? ing starting times, small shotguns, 10th tee help create the lasting experience we are striv- starts, and overall changes to the tee sheet. The ing for. RB: I am sure this statement will turn some OpenTee system allows us to make these heads, but a day of 35 players at Kauri Cliffs and changes quickly. Gaming & Leisure would like to thank Ryan Cape Kidnappers is equivalent to a day of 180 at Brandeburg for the valuable information he has some of my previous courses in the USA. GL: Has the OpenTee / OpenBook system pro- shared with our readership. vided valuable client information and how has By design, the properties are built to maximize that been used? Based in Bali, Bill has been consulting, the staff/guest interaction. We spend more time installing and supporting solutions in the glob- getting to know our guests and interacting with RB: The simple answer here is yes. We have al golf and leisure industry since 1982. He has them than most places I have ever visited. collected client information that previously been involved with over 1000 systems installa- Additionally, we run a leaner operation, with the was unattainable to us. The use of system tions in 40+ countries from North America to professional staff greeting guests upon arrival, generated email confirmations and online Africa to Asia & Australia. V I E W T H E G A M I N G & H O S P I TA L I T Y R E S E A R C H C E N T E R AT W W W. G A M I N G A N D L E I S U R E M A G A Z I N E . C O M 75

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