Attracting the US Golfer
By Nakita Mason, Content & Community Executive at IGTM Team
With the challenges of the pandemic set to be following us well into next year, the questions surrounding the golf travel trade industry right now include managing existing relationships with clients as well as enticing new ones in a world that’s overrun with restrictions. Most notably, of course, is the subject of the affluent and highly receptive US market and how the current health crisis has affected their usual relationship with golf travel.
For IGTM Links, we were lucky enough to get some valuable insights on these pertinent questions and here we can give you a glimpse of the conversation that took place.
The individuals making up our US Golfer panel were Melissa Porzak, Travel Advisor for Protravel International, Sean Winton, the Founder and President of Distincte Travel Group, and our fantastic host Farhad Heydari, the Editor of NetJets Magazine and Founder and Chief Executive Officer of House of Heydari.
Americans are, of course, facing tough restrictions when it comes to travel right now and it’s clear that there are far fewer opportunities to get away internationally than what was previously the norm. However, what’s particularly interesting is that for the vast majority of Americans, it’s simply a question of getting the green light and they will happily travel again. As we’ve heard from other experts and professionals in the industry, there is understandably a lot of anxiety about safety at this time and many people are shying away from activities they once wouldn’t have thought twice about. For many clients to still have a strong desire to travel then is, of course, hugely positive and means the industry now needs to be prepared for restrictions to lift and for the flood of travel-starved clients to make bookings.
Staple locations such as Ireland and Scotland will still be key for US golfers in 2021, with England, Wales, and Northern Ireland all also still held aloft among traditional golfers as fundamental places of interest. With capacity issues anticipated for 2021 (due to the 2020 crowd having been unable to visit their desired locations this year) there is a real opportunity for those courses that are off the beaten track to shine and soak up the overspill from the more well-known resorts.
Many high-end US clients have already experienced the classic courses of Scotland and Ireland, and now resorts in Spain and Portugal are getting increasing interest thrown their way as are neighbouring locations like Mexico. The overall trend expected and highlighted by the IGTM Links US Golfer panel is that it will be lesser-known courses that ultimately have a unique opportunity in 2021.
Other key topics discussed included what might draw a US client to a resort, the clear benefit of having multiple developments in any one location, and vitally what businesses across Europe and further afield like in the Middle East can do to make sure they’re ticking all the boxes for what the US golfer is looking for in a resort.
“There is certainly interest you know, as soon as the gates open, I think we’re going to see a flooding of interest in travelling and golf” Melissa Porzak, Travel Advisor for Protravel International
For details on what the US golfer will be looking for in 2021, details on the ever-growing market of new women golfers and how the golf industry can help bring in even more first-time golfers, watch our panel talk and find out what the key names in golf see as the future for the industry.
To the conference!
Melissa Porzak, Travel Advisor for Protravel International
Sean Winton, Founder and President of Distincte Travel Group