With a new CEO, Courtsite tries again to make a dent as a sports facilities booking app
By Parvinjeet Kaur February 14, 2023
- Simplifies process of finding & reserving sports facilities for users
- Solution designed to help venue operators streamline booking processes
Businesses making changes to adapt to new market dynamics because of the Covid-19 pandemic are not uncommon. However, Joey Ng, Ian Lai and Aaron Sheah, who founded the sports facility management and booking app, Courtsite in September 2017, took it a step further.
After pivoting Courtsite into a Progressive Web App in December 2021 to offer a better user experience and leverage SEO (search engine optimization), they then felt that they had done all they could to grow the business and decided to bring in a new CEO with fresh perspectives to drive growth.
Enter Eugene Low (pic), a seasoned professional with extensive experience in online aggregator platforms, who joined them in July 2022.
"I decided to join Courtsite when approached by the founders because I believe with my knowledge and experience in building aggregator platforms such as Uber Eats in the past, I can build a platform which solves the pain point of facility operators and create a seamless experience for the sports enthusiast to book a facility for their favourite sports," Eugene said.
Easily accessible via any mobile device, tablet or desktop and able to accept payments through the app, Courtsite provides comprehensive solutions for athletes, sports fans and facility owners. It bridges the gap between sports facilities and their users, making it simpler to locate and reserve available sports facilities.
The Courtsite platform is currently accessible only in English with over 110,000 active users, with a 15% monthly growth rate since January 2022, when it had 30,000 users. The spike in users coincides with the loosening of pandemic restrictions in Malaysia since 2022 and the heightened importance among the public of staying fit and being physically active. Courtsite is particularly well-established in the Klang Valley and is used by 57 sports facilities across eight states, with plans for further expansion in 2023.
Gone are the days when booking a sports facility was a time-consuming, tedious process. "Traditionally, when it comes to booking a place for sports, you'd have to search for the facility online, obtain their number and reach out to them after much back and forth on availability, a manual bank transfer to facilitate the payment. And the process repeats in the event the place is fully booked,” said Eugene.
Thanks to Courtsite, users can now access real-time availability of facilities for a variety of sports, including but not limited to badminton, football, basketball, dance, swimming, bowling and fitness workouts so that they can reserve their preferred locations across eight states in Malaysia with just a few clicks, he added. This expedites the procedure of finding and booking sports venues, thus saving time and energy.
Ask Esha Kaur, a 26-year-old corporate executive who uses Courtsite. "It is a user-friendly and easy-to-navigate platform, and with its live availability, I'm able to book a badminton court quickly, even on short notice after work. Additionally, I can participate in the social games listed on Courtsite and meet new people who share similar interests.”
Since its inception in 2017, Courtsite has been financially backed by founding members and angel investors, with the exact amount undisclosed.
While catering to the Malaysian public and their athletic endeavours, for facility owners there is Courtsite for Business, a facility management software. Designed for sports facilities of any size, the solution helps streamline facility booking processes through availability tracking, calendar management, online payments and more, ensuring they benefit from more bookings with less admin, a win-win for all.
The platform has enabled many centres to reach a steady state of revenue, with some surpassing their projected revenue goals in the first month, claimed Eugene.
“The finance staff of the facilities love Courtsite’s efficient reporting system, which generates reports with complete audit trail and provides transparency for every booking made,” said Eugene. Additionally, to ensure that facility owners get their payments in a timely manner, Courtsite has a settlement system which ensures payments are made every ten days and has never missed a single payment, he added.
[Ed: Paragraph edited for clarity.]
Despite the quick payments one of the major challenges faced by Courtsite is convincing facility owners of the benefits of an aggregator platform. Many facility partners are still focused solely on their own centres and are reluctant to share their customer base. “However, our observation and platform data show that users are no longer sticking to just one centre. For instance, there is one individual who played at 11 different centres in the last four months, and there are more and more users using multiple centres, which further affirms the positive effect of using an aggregator platform, Eugene said.
The game plan for growth is simple - acquire more customers. Helping Eugene is tha fact that it is not a crowded market with DNA finding only one other player, AFA Sports, launched in April 2020, who provide a similar platform for sports facilities booking in the Malaysian market and serves as a competitor to Courtsite. (There seems to be only one player in Singapore, SGactive.) Still, he has the eyes of the founders of Courtsite on him, who will be looking forward to stronger growth and validating their decision to step back and let Eugene run the show.