BRS Golf in Belfast has won its first business in South Africa for its innovative software technology after visiting the market with Invest Northern Ireland.
The company has recently sold its Tee Time Management and Online Booking System to nine leading golf clubs, including the Pearl Valley parkland course in Cape Town, ranked South Africa’s third most important, and the King David, also in Cape Town.
The new business in South Africa was announced by Brian Magee, Sales Manager of BRS Golf, and welcomed by Dr Vicky Kell, Invest NI Trade Director, during a visit to the company.
Dr Kell said: “BRS took advantage of our recent mission to Johannesburg to identify and sign an agreement with Andrew Warner, who runs a successful golf business there. Our in-market advisors located a knowledgeable representative to work with BRS to identify the most influential courses to approach and the best way to do so.
“South Africa is a dynamic economy offering significant opportunities for Northern Ireland companies. It has a large golf marketplace and boasts some of the world’s best courses. It is also an affluent market in which technology is becoming increasingly important in relation to sports and leisure activities.”
World-class venues and supporting infrastructure, top international events such as the South African Open, and South Africans' passion for sport combine to make the country a huge draw for sports fans. More than 10 per cent of foreign tourists come to South Africa to watch or participate in sport events, with spectators accounting for up to 80 per cent of these arrivals.
Mr Magee, commenting on the new business, said: “We approached Invest NI for advice and assistance on how best to expand sales outside Ireland, where 90 per cent of the top courses, including Royal Portrush, Royal County Down, K Club and Druid’s Glen now use one system to manage all aspects of their bookings from societies, corporate, visitors and members.
“We identified South Africa as a market offering substantial opportunities due to the popularity there of sports and leisure pursuits and the existence of a vast network of clubs. In addition, the country has the sophisticated communications network that ensures our broadband-based system works to best advantage.
“Invest NI was extremely supportive and helped us to pinpoint Andrew Warner as a potential representative with the knowledge and network of contacts to help us in establishing a strong presence there.”
The online booking system is now the market leader in the UK and Republic of Ireland because it is modular and very flexible, features which facilitate growth in booking volumes.
The system is a complete management tool for tee time bookings and includes over 50 reports delivering course usage, revenues, and facilitates the development and subsequent use of a marketing database. In addition, the system allows both members and visitors to book online through their club website. Currently 260,000 members use the system to book times for competitions and/or casual tee times. In 2011, furthermore, green fee revenue totalling £6.4 million were booked online by visitors using the system.
BRS Golf currently employs 19 people and has established in other markets such as France, Australia and the Arabian Gulf.