I am almost completely sure, that when someone asks you about golf in Portugal, you will answer as a flash the Algarve. This is not a big surprise, 45.1% of golf courses supply in Portugal is concentrated in the Algarve. Furthermore, the region gets heavy marketing support from Tourismo de Portugal, the Portugal Tourism Board.
However, we should ask what about the 54.9% of the golf course supply of Portugal? How can golf clubs excel in the content tsunami (text, photo, video etc.) about Algarve?
Reflexively, you can say inviting golf journalists to know more about the golf club/resort or run an image or promotional campaign in your key markets in print magazines (e.g. Golf Monthly, Today’s Golfer, Golf Digest) or present yourself at a European Tour event (e.g. Made in Denmark) etc.
What I see today is that:
- people do not trust ads,
- it is hard to get their attention (their attention-span is very limited) and
- it is hard to target the right people.
- ad blockers’ popularity is growing.
Golf tourists want to get accurate information from reliable sources (e.g. local people or who have been in the place), and not PR content.
As we can see these issues are about reputation, awareness, and becoming mobile-friendly. In the very first place, I would strive to turn the non-Algarve golf clubs’ and resorts’ website mobile friendly that can provide the essential information (=answers all the questions of a golf tourist who is planning his next golf holiday abroad) about the golf club and its services.
We must accept the fact that we are living in a mobile-first reality. Therefore, customers can, among them golf tourists expect from us to address their needs with real-time relevance.
The real challenge for golf resorts is to find those moments in the life of the golf tourists when they are looking for an answer/solution/offer. These are the moments to engage with future customers and push them forward in the sales funnel. Hence, you must be there, be useful and be quick during those micro-moments.
These “micro-moments” as Google calls them are:
- I-want-to-know: Is there any golf resort in North Portugal? Is there any golf course designed by Robert Trent Jones in the Lisbon region…if yes then where? Where is the nearest golf resort to Porto?; What is the easiest way to book tee-time/room/etc.?; Is there any PGA professional in the golf club? Etc.
- I–want-to-go: is there any golf tournament in October in Royal Obidos for amateurs?
- I-want-to-buy: What is the latest offer at the Marriott Hotel in Praia D’el Rey?; holiday package, tee-time etc.
- I–want-to-do: What can Estela Golf Club offer to me in addition to golf?
How to use content marketing to boost awareness and revenue for your golf resort?
To raise awareness, it also means to educate the potential golf tourists of the non-Algarve region and their golf clubs and resorts. Such educational materials (see: content marketing) should answer and explain every important question of prospects who would like to try new golf courses or even buy real estate in a golf club/resort. We need to show the what, how, when, where and why!!
Golf tourists care about:
- How they are going to spend their precious time,
- What they are going to spend their money on,
- What it looks like,
- Which of his friends have been there before?
If we do this, we’ll be seen as a trusted voice. By creating such content for your website, you will attract much more inbound traffic from Google and gain more exposure to potential guests.
Such education materials can be a great tool for the sales managers as well. This requires a close cooperation between the sales and the marketing team and breaking down the walls between the teams and the silo thinking.
Since we tend to trust less and less on ads, we should exploit the power of review sites (e.g. Leadingcourses.com, Top100golfcourses.com etc.) and golf travel influencers.
What is also important that you must manage these reviews whether they are positive or negative. If you do not respond to negative ones, then your customers will think you don’t care about them. The same applies to unanswered comments and direct messages on your social media channels. I believe this is a great opportunity to get into a conversation with your clients and turn a negative experience into a positive one.
Since we are relying more and more on our friends and influencers’ opinion, it is important to gain additional social proofs.
Here are 6 great ways to drive more social proofs:
- “As seen on” – if your golf club/resort was mentioned somewhere in the media, then you can refer to it as a positive example.
- Proactively request reviews from your guests. If you already have got an account on golf review sites like Leadingcourses.com then ask people to review your golf course. This can be done in many ways: POS communication (e.g. table tent in your restaurant, reception), email/newsletter, in Facebook posts, etc. BrightLocal‘s survey found that 70% of the people would leave a review about your service or product if you ask them.
- Ask your social media heavy user colleagues to share your content (e.g. Facebook/Instagram/YouTube posts, website or blog page etc.). The visitor of your website or Facebook brand page will see that a significant number of people shared the post and he will think that it must be something awesome.
- Adding the World Golf Awards, TripAdvisor, and Today’s Golfer Awards badges to your website (at the bottom of the website). Have you got any of these? If yes, then add them quickly to your website!! You should highlight them in your electronic and offline newsletter, + in your social media channels.
- Ask for testimonials from your customers and highlight them on those pages of your website where people can book tee-times, rooms, holiday packages etc.
- The golf course could limit the availability to create FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I saw this marketing technique at Booking.com and Amazon.com to motivate people to purchase.
Influencer marketing usage in golf tourism development
What is less used in the golf tourism communication is the influencer marketing. In the last couple of years, influencer marketing has gained momentum in both B2C and B2B marketing. Some of the reasons for the popularity of influencer marketing are the difficulty of marketers to target and reach decision makers (see: ad blockers, social algorithm changes, low organic reach etc.) and customers’ skepticism and lack of TRUST.
I believe modern customers require transparent, legitimate, value-based online conversations and content to trust brands. Customers are turning to influencers like me for such conversations and content. Let’s not forget that people are relying heavily on peer group members’ and family recommendations.
The power of influencer marketing is coming from the network connections of the influencer, the long-term collaboration (=always-on engagement), and quality content.
By cooperating with the right influencers golf clubs/resorts can:
- improve brand advocacy,
- expand brand awareness,
- reach new targeted audiences,
- increase share of voice.
Check out my TOP 10 golf travel bloggers‘ list + best practices!
What do you think why golf tourists do not visit as much those golf resorts that are outside the Algarve? How could golf resorts and clubs outside the Algarve generate more awareness and interest?