Oliver, you are the commercial director of Zest.Golf, a new golf technology company, with offices in Scotland and the Netherlands. Can you provide the background to the company?
“The golf industry is continually developing, with the game being played across six continents by an estimated 60 million people. This evolution creates a number of challenges and many of those can be overcome through the adoption of golf technology solutions.
“Zest.Golf Technologies is the first open golf technologies platform. It was born out of a desire to do two things; firstly to provide innovative technology solutions demanded by the industry and, secondly, to enable golf businesses to take complete control of their golf technology solutions.
“Our Channel Manager technology gives golf courses the opportunity to sell tee-times to the market from one single platform, meaning anyone can become a partner or customer. We already have 72 golf courses and 23 distribution channels pre-registered.
“We have also recently partnered with the UK Golf Club Managers’ Association, who have 1,1700 members, as we are keen to illustrate the benefits of our technology to such an audience as we look to grow.”
And a little background on yourself?
“I’ve been involved in the golf industry at various levels for over 20 years, with roles focusing mainly on sponsorship, player representation and event management. I also enjoy playing the game – I’m very fortunate to call St Andrews home and try to get out on the links whenever time allows.”
Why are you based in Scotland and the Netherlands?
“Scotland is the Home of Golf after all! We would like to make an impact on the UK golf market, as well as markets abroad, so it makes sense to be based here. We have also been fast tracked by Scottish Enterprise as an emerging small business and are pleased with our progress to date.
“We have partnered with Rotterdam-based company, Lunatech Labs, to develop the technology. Lunatech use the very latest tools and programming language, with offices in Amsterdam, Paris and Niort. They also work with world renowned customers including Audi, ING and EuroDisney. Together, we have over 100 years’ combined experience in the golf and technology sectors.”
Can you provide information on the benefits of your Channel Manager technology?
“The Zest.Golf Channel Manager provides a 100% open connection between golf courses, tee-sheet providers and distribution partner platforms.
“It gives courses the opportunity to increase revenue by having more control – they simply choose which distribution channels can sell their tee-times and set the price and availability with each separately.
“Courses can sell times via any business that has a golfer audience; including golf websites, federations, media companies, local accommodation providers, tour operators and even airlines.”
How does that work for distribution partners?
“Distribution partners benefit by having a real-time connection to golf course tee sheets, meaning they can develop revenue opportunities through direct consumer booking options on their digital platforms.
“The connectivity provided by our channel manager can improve the way the industry operates as it allows tour operators to log into multiple tee-sheets and book tee-times simultaneously. This saves a huge amount of time and resources when compared to the current requirement of emailing and calling golf courses when pulling together an itinerary.
“It is really interesting that there are a lot of new distribution channel companies and technology driven companies coming into the market. That has to demonstrate that there is a need or a pull factor in the industry.
“We are looking to become almost the ‘voice’ for distribution, providing that one connection that can benefit courses, tee sheet providers and distribution partners.”
How does a course integrate its tee-sheet then with your Channel Manager?
“This is easy. Courses can contact their tee-sheet provider and let them know they would like to connect their tee-sheet to the Zest.Golf Channel Manager. If required, we will then provide their tee-sheet provider with the necessary documentation to connect. Once the connection is in place, a quick background test is undertaken to ensure everything is working smoothly and they are then ready to go.”
Are there any costs?
“There are no upfront costs or complex contracts, just a fixed €1 fee per player booked when the connection is used to make the booking.
“The Zest.Golf Channel Manager connects to current tee-sheets, meaning the payment process courses already have in place with a tee-sheet provider continues. Zest.Golf then invoice clubs on a monthly basis for the €1 fee per players booked. Zest will never charge for tee-time bookings via other channels, for example directly through club websites or third party re-selling platforms.”
What are your overall goals and how excited are you for the future?
“This is an exciting time. We would like to revolutionise the industry by transforming the global online tee-time marketplace. We believe our customer focused technology can do this in much the same way channel managers have done for the airline and accommodation sectors – and literally connect a golf course’s tee-sheet to the world.”
Golf courses and distribution channels can pre-register for the Zest.Golf Channel Manager now at www.zest.golf, with the platform launching globally early in 2019.