Is it time to discover golf in North-East Poland?

By: October 7, 2016

I am always curious to read about Central European countries’ golf clubs’ efforts to attract golf tourists. This why I thought to write about two Polish golf clubs’ latest initiative.

Two of the leading golf clubs in Poland, Sand Valley Golf Resort (near Gdansk airport) and Sierra Golf Club, will be showcasing their stay and play packages as part of the ‘Golf in North-Eastern Poland’ stand (stand number A20) which is set to feature at the 2016 International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) in Mallorca next month.

They seem to build upon the strong links they already have with markets such as the UK, Germany & Scandinavia.

The north-eastern region of Poland (Warminsko – Mazurskie and Pomorskie) attracted 11 million visitors in 2015.

Recently, Sand Valley Golf Resort (see picture below) was voted in the Top 200 courses in Europe 2015/16 by Golf World magazine. The Tilander-Ristola have designed an inland links layout. The Sand Valley Golf Club also has got luxury villas in Scandinavian design just a few meters from the golf course.

They are able to accommodate between 4 to 12 people each. I found Sierra Golf Club’s apartments much cozier, although they are less in line with the latest travel trends.


What could attract golf tourists to North-East Poland?

I can see today, 2 major trends in tourism. They are:

  1. Foodie culture – food is now the leading hook in travel. At this moment I cannot see any sign at both golf clubs would exploit this trend. A good example is the Macdonald Monchique Resort & Spa in Portugal where you can find 4 restaurants. It also worth to check Hotel Camiral‘s 1477 restaurant in PGA Catalunya Resort and Quinta do Lago’s Bovino Steakhouse.
  2. Experiential tourism – health conscious travelers like to combine adventure with exercise (e.g. biking, fitness). The above mentioned Portuguese resort, for instance, offers sensorial spa, Turkish bath, sauna (Sand Valley Golf Resort has also got) and a state-of-art fitness center.

I would also think about how to attract Boomers and Millennials. In the case of the Boomers, I would advise to come up also with entertainment that speaks to the Boomer experience.

Furthermore, both golf clubs of North-East Poland should exploit the power of social media and have a mobile mindset.

What do I mean?

Currently, both golf clubs’ website is mobile friendly, but they don’t offer mobile solutions that could make  more comfortable and seamless our stay. Both of them are present on some of the leading social media platforms (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, TripAdvisor, Flickr, YouTube).

However, they do not invest enough in these channels to generate sufficient awareness and interest in their golf clubs. Today, the video is a very effective communication and branding solution to generate awareness and interest and influence purchase decision (see the example of Lumine Golf Club at Mediterranea Beach & Golf Community).

Golf clubs and hotels should connect all of their digital communication channels to act with 1 voice and 1 mind. Today, customers want a situationally relevant relationship. We should create such “micro-moments” that make them happy. For this, we have to invest in customer journey mapping and customer data analysis.

Our actions and offers should be based on customer data and insights and personalized instead of giving mass offers.

The data-driven approach can also help us to develop a 1-on-1 relationship with our customers. This is why I recommended in the past to use wearable technology in golf retailing.