Last month, I had an interesting conversation with Carlos Ferreira, the owner of Tee Times Golf Agency (a leading Portuguese golf travel agency) about the possible new roles of golf travel agencies in the promotion of existing and/or potential golf tourism destinations (e.g. Porto region).
The following thoughts came to my mind after our discussion.
The importance of authentic golf travel experience
As golf travelers are seeking more authentic golf travel experiences they will look for advice from experienced, high-touch local travel golf travel agencies like Tee Times Golf Agency.
In the search for an authentic golf experience, golf tourists will be more open to trying secluded golf courses (e.g. Estela Golf Club in North Portugal) and golf resorts.
Carat’s 2018 travel trends report found 4 major travel trends. One of the trends is the need for ‘local connections’. Carat also says:
- 51% of people describe themselves as global citizens, they want to feel part of an international community.
- 59% of them prioritize experiences over material items.
- 76% of Boomers and 62% of Gen Xers rate authentic local culture as the most important aspect of a travel experience.
This is also true for Millennials, for whom experience is everything. Yes, we have to consider and plan with them as they are one of the largest generations in history – even larger than the Baby Boomers.
There’s nothing more authentic than allowing travelers and locals to share their stories.
This is why I recommended in a previous post to organize events where golf tourists could meet with the local golfers and play with them or with the Portuguese national golf champion (e.g. Pedro Figueiredo).
Therefore, I am expecting that the authentic version of a golf tourism destination will be of growing importance to golf travelers in 2019.
This is why the importance of local golf travel agencies will grow as they are the ones who know the hidden gems.
So when you as a golf travel agency thinking about how to compose your golf holiday package offers for 2019, don’t forget to include interactive elements (=connecting with locals) as well.
If I were a golf travel agency, I would add the locals’ recommendations and personal stories to my golf travel agency website. This is a great way to engage and help golf travelers plan their stays.
Don’t forget that during the golf travelers’ customer journeys when they are looking for inspirations for future golf holidays they will turn to:
- Instagram (some of them will check Pinterest as well),
- Golf travel agencies’ websites,
- Golf travel influencers, among them golf travel bloggers and golf travel Instagrammers
According to ADI (Adobe Digital Insights) travel industry market research — 41% of business and 60% of leisure travel arrangements are nowadays made online.
So the bottom line it will be harder to impress and convince golf travelers with ‘sterile’ golf holiday packages without personalization and connecting them with locals.
I can also recommend to national and local tourism boards to include golf travel agencies as well in their promotional campaigns if they want to attract more golf tourists to their country and region.
The local golf travel agencies have got a very actionable, up-to-date consumer database (e.g. email addresses, social media connections, etc.) that can be utilized also for golf destination promotions.
This article was brought to you by Tee Times Golf Agency.