Major Investment Planned for
Europe's First Open Real-Time Online Golf Network
FEXCO, the Kerry, Ireland-based global payments company, announced today (Monday, 3rd May 2004) that it has acquired a majority shareholding in Online TeeTimes Limited (OTL), the Wicklow-based company that provides an online platform for the sale of Irish green fees.
The company announced that it will be making a significant investment in OTL to develop its leadership position as Europe's first open, real-time online golf network and that Dick Spring, FEXCO's Executive Vice-Chairman, will serve as OTL's Chairman. OTL will operate within FEXCO's Travel & Leisure product market group in conjunction with Gulliver Ireland, Ireland's leading cost effective provider of tourism information and reservations. According to the company, the Irish green fee market is worth €200 million annually.
OTL will feature real time availability from golf clubs all over Ireland on its website, www.teetimes.ie. Clubs that make teetimes available for sale will also get bookings from a wide range of third-party distributors such as travel websites, tourist offices, tour operators, hotels, the national media and car rental companies. There are no up-front costs. Clubs manage their own availability, rates and information and are provided with all necessary training and support.
Speaking at the announcement, Dr. Stewart Stephens, Managing Director, Gulliver Ireland, said, "Golf in Ireland is a wonderful product and FEXCO's investment in Online TeeTimes Limited represents the first serious attempt to bring it online. Access to real time availability will have a huge impact on the golf market in the coming years, just as it has in the accommodation sector. Online accommodation bookings through Gulliver are almost doubling every year, and this year will reach over 50,000. Online golf bookings will follow a similar pattern. There is enormous pent up demand in the domestic market, not to mention the potential for the marketing of Irish golf overseas. From the clubs' perspective, online distribution through www.teetimes.ie and its affiliates, as well as through their own websites, will give them a powerful yield management tool while retaining full control of their product."
Mr. Adrian Waters, Managing Director, Online TeeTimes Limited, said, "I am delighted that FEXCO, the online tourism leaders in Ireland, are part of OTL's initiative to provide price competitive choice to the golfing public. FEXCO's financial and operational commitment facilitates OTL's strategy, which is to operate hand in hand with golf courses to be the leading distributor of green fees in Ireland. This cooperative approach will result in greater choice and value for the golfer and incremental revenue for golf course operators."