The 20th International Golf Travel Market (IGTM) will kick off in five weeks. This time, it will be held in the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès from December 11-14, 2017. I will be there too. We don’t talk too much about French golf clubs, but just in the Provence and Cote d’Azur region, we can find 69 golf courses, among them The Chateau, at Terre Blanche Hotel Spa Golf Resort (2nd photo below).
Peter Grimster, IGTM Exhibition Manager, commented: “Our latest figures show that this year’s event is set to attract up to 420 buyers from across the globe, including a number of new buyers from the luxury and MICE sector, as well as more than 550 golf travel suppliers, highlighting Cannes’ broad appeal to everyone involved in the golf travel market.”
How could French golf resorts become more visible beyond IGTM?
There is a growing demand for authentic and unique products and experiences are real (e.g. the rising demand for locally sourced and organic food). For the same reason, Medinah Country Club built its own garden to be able to provide organic vegetables and fruits to its guests. Think about what could make your golf resort unique, but real!
What we cannot find and see during our search for our next golf holiday it does not exist. This is why should French golf clubs and resorts pay close attention to the influence of picture- and video-based social platforms (but also to review sites like the Leadingcourses.com) to be able to become part of golf tourists’ consideration sets.
My best experience in terms of reach and engagement is with Instagram and those videos that I uploaded to my clients’ Facebook page. I would only recommend Snapchat if your target audience is the 18-24 age group.
At the same time, the French golf resorts should create experiences worth sharing in order to capitalize on the enormous exposure these platforms provide.
These golf resorts should start to collect data about their golf tourists’ behavior data to be able to come up with personalized offers. I would start to list all those moments/opportunities when we can collect data about our guests without distracting their golf holiday.
What makes this task challenging is that many online customers are anonymous. However, you can still use live chat to turn your website into an interactive one that we can find in an e-commerce website.
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of influencer marketing in building trust and awareness. This means that golf resorts should at least test this kind of communication and relationship development technique.
In 2017 and in the coming years, influencer marketing will be the so-called FAM trip 2.0 where you can be always in contact with those people who are most interested in your golf resort.
Would you believe that in the hospitality industry, according to Lonely Planet: 84% of millennials and 73% of non-millennials are likely or very likely to plan a trip based on someone else’s vacation photos or social media updates. Marriott is already cooperating with popular social influencers. This helps them to boost for instance Marriott’s Reward program.
Since the influencers tell our story in their authentic way, they are improving the authenticity of your golf resort/club. The very same influencers can also drive bookings, create organic content for you.
Another missed opportunity is the Nice Airport. Why there is no information about the region’s golf courses on their website??? When I will go the IGTM, I will check the airport if there is any billboard, leaflet about golf in the Cote Azur. Car rental companies, taxis could be used as well to promote the region’s golf courses.
One of the big hits of this year is chatbots.
If you check the list of the most popular social media platforms, you will find in the TOP 3 places:
- Facebook Messenger
Now it is more clear why so many brands are already using chatbots to help their guests (e.g. customer inquiries, check-ins, and check-outs: customer service), but also to stay in contact with them. This also enables them to provide personalized offers and communication.
Marriott, Hyatt, and Starwood are already using chatbots for customer service. The good news is that they can be used as a reservation channel to get direct booking.
Which of the above-mentioned solutions do you already use? + What is your experience with them?