During the 2nd St Patrick’s Golf Day at Goodwood organised by Golf Ireland this month, some interesting findings came to light about the contribution of golf tourism to the Irish economy.
The economic impact of golf tourism across Ireland has risen by £6 million to £33 million in the last 12 months, with its popularity among golfers set to grow even further in 2015 following the appointment of Darren Clarke as Europe’s new Ryder Cup captain and the forthcoming Irish Open at the end of May.
It is really nice that Ireland gave two Ryder Cup captain to Europe (Darren Clarke and Paul McGinely), not to forget Rory McIlroy. Darren Clarke will lead the European team at Hazeltine National in Minnseota, USA in September 2016. While Rory Ilroy will play at Royal County Down for the Irish Open in May.
To promote Ireland as one of the world's leading golf destinations, it is not sufficient. I mean to have an Irish Ryder Cup captain. Traveler's road to decision is far different than it used to be. People are looking for inspiration via social/video/photo sites, not to mention they ask their friends offline & online. The ZMOT theory (Zero Moment of Truth) is gaining momentum. Golf Ireland should take this in consideration.
Also important to deal with travel review sites and apps. At the very same time Ireland Golf should not neglect the importance of search engines as one of the main planning tool for travelers. According to Google, 57% of the people start their travel booking with Search (in case of business trips it is 64%). If I were Ireland Golf I would come up with mobile app to help golfers to find the right destination (golf club, hotel).
What will Tourism Ireland do in 2015 to promote golf tourism:
- focus on areas including some of the many local golf competitions taking place this year on course around the island;
- TV, press and online advertising in conjunction with top online golf tour operators;
- a presence at events like the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May;
- e-newsletters to a database of more than 10,000 golfers around Britain.
Unfortunately there is no big changes since 2010 when I wrote about Ireland's golf tourism marketing.