Sardinia and Sicily host some of the most prestigious Italian golf venues according to KPMG’s “Golf Benchmark Survey in Italy 2012”. Now, Sicily’s Verdura Resort is becoming the latest addition to the exclusive European Tour Properties network, joining the prestigious group as a European Tour Destination.
The Verdura Resort is the second high-profile Italian venue to become a member, following Marco Simone Golf & Country Club – the venue for the 2022 Ryder Cup. The resort is offering a 5* hotel, a world-class spa, six tennis courts, a 60m two-tiered infinity pool, four restaurants and five bars.
Verdura Resort will host in May the European Tour’s Rocco Forte Open, five years after staging the 2012 Sicilian Open.
What are the challenges of the Verdura Resort?
Today in Italy we can find only 2 45-hole golf course, one of them is Verdura Golf Resort & Spa (designed by Kyle Phillips), the other is Golf Club Castelconturbia (designed by Robert Trent Jones Sr.)
According to Unioncamere Sicilia, the association of Sicilian chambers of commerce 47.8% of visitors come from abroad. In 2014 it was registered almost 15 million visitors (+6.1%) and 4.5 million arrivals (+8.8% compared to 2013).
The obvious, straightforward question is how will they keep up the interest after European Tour’s Rocco Forte Open?
Last year, Italy launched its greatest ever co-ordinated golf tourism initiative – Italy Golf & More – a collaboration between the Italian Golf Federation, the Ministry of Tourism and private sector partner regions (among them Sicily). Italy tried to attract golfers from the UK & Ireland.
I hope this initiative will continue this year by focusing on other key golf markets, such as Germany, Sweden, The Netherlands, and France. Such not so developed golf countries like Italy or Bulgaria the golf tourism needs state support.
What resorts like Verdura Resort has to understand that technology has given to customers the real ability to preview the places before actually experiencing them. This means that what people see about your resort is what you are.
Every single hotel/resort review or social media post or the information available on the resort’s website has a huge impact on the room and tee-time booking. We should try to find an opportunity to get in a conversation with the commenter and the review writer.
This is why not beneficial to post only self-promoting content on our social media channels (e.g. Verdura Resort‘s Facebook page).
I would start to think how to use on-demand technologies (e.g. beacon technology, messaging, streaming in-room entertainment) to provide better services. My other advice is to start to hire a data analyst. You’ve got an extraordinary amount of data available and you only have to do is to turn them into actionable information.
Along with this, Verdura Resort had a good year. They have seen increasing booking numbers and won several top international accolades, including being named as Italy’s number one golf venue in a recent Golf World list of continental Europe’s top 100 golf resorts.