How should golf destinations get prepared for 2018?

By: September 15, 2017

This post could have been only about the coming IGTM event that will be held on 11-14 December, in Cannes, France, but I think we should focus more on the global travel forecasts and hospitality trends (e.g. smart hotels, smart golf courses etc.). I tell you quickly the key figures of the IGTM and after that, I will share with you the latest global travel forecasts and trends for 2018.

In 2015, the IGTM generated €9.5 million worth businesses. The organizers are expecting 1300+ suppliers and tour operators & 16000+ pre-scheduled meetings.

IGTM - golf destination challenges in 2018

What are the travel forecasts for 2018?

What I thought to share with you is the findings of the  GBTA Foundation (in partnership with Carlson Wagonlit Travel, and with the support of the Carlson Family Foundation):

  • global airfares are expected to rise 3.5% in 2018;
  • hotel prices are expected to be 3.7% higher;
  • Across EMEA, air travel is anticipated to continue growing, with prices rising a whopping 7.1 percent across Eastern Europe and 5.5 percent in Western Europe.
  • The Middle East and African countries only expect a 3% increase as they face ongoing security threats and an oil industry that is still in recovery.
  • North America will see prices rise by a modest 2.3%.
  • Suppliers are progressively moving corporate buyers away from fixed, negotiated hotel rates and toward dynamic rate pricing.
  • ‘Smart hotels’ are gaining momentum.

As I am reading the PWC’s 2018 forecastPorto heads the rankings with 12.8% RevPAR growth. By the way, the Porto region has got 5 golf clubs (Vidago Palace Golf, Estela Golf Club (a links golf course), Oporto Golf Club, Amarante Golf Course, Axis Golf Ponte de Lima).

My recommendations for golf destinations and resorts

We all agree golf destinations should also avoid sameness. A great way to avoid it is to invest in customer experience. When you are thinking about how to create the most appealing and wanted customer experience, then do NOT focus solely on guest experience inside the golf resort/hotel/golf course, but also about the outside guest experience. Also in the hospitality industry, the right approach to this challenge is the holistic approach to overall guest experience.

You should not only invest in technology, but also in your employees’ development who are in daily connection with your guests. A well trained, engaged and satisfied employee has a great impact on customer experience. A well-known customer experience strategy is to become the customer experience leader in your region, town, country by focusing first on employees. To achieve this you should involve your HR department/HR manager.

I would not neglect the local inhabitants. They can be a new source of revenue. Next time when a local dares to enter your hotel, golf resort, etc. then do not get him embarrassed rather ask him how you can help him. Thus the golf resort can become an integral part of the city, region etc.

Probably, you have already noticed that in almost every industry companies are striving to provide personalized offers and services. The golf tourism industry and within it golf resorts and clubs are no exceptions. The enabling technologies are already available in most markets and countries.

Now we have arrived at the issue of smart hotels, and golf resorts.

Just like in case of our own home, we also welcome and desire to get sophisticated personalization.

Have you heard about smart hotels?

A smart hotel is a hotel that utilizes the Internet of Things (IoT) technologies (most of them are mobile-based) to provide personalized services. The essence of it is to provide guests a favorable destination/holiday experience by accessing to their personal information with their permission:

  • Location based services (e.g. geo-targeted mobile offers),
  • Streaming in-room entertainment,
  • Service automation: check-ins and outs via a mobile application, online table reservations, booking tee-times etc.,
  • Artificial intelligence: we will be able to anticipate the needs of our guests based on his historical data. Pebble Beach is using this technology in his virtual concierge.
  • Facebook Messenger Chatbots: they are the great hit of 2017. Another tool to provide better service and information about the golf resort and hotel.
  • Virtual Reality – Marriott, Shangri-La Hotels and probably many other hotels are using this technology to show their hotel/resort to their guests or simply promote themselves at an exhibition.
  • Beacon technology

These advanced technology solutions are not just for guest experience enhancement. You can utilize them also for operational efficiency improvement.

I hope these insights will help you to succeed, not just at the coming IGTM event at Cannes, France, but also in your everyday work.

Your Turn

What kind of trends do you see in the golf tourism industry? What do you expect what will be in 2018? Any best practice idea?