I have already heard many promising great news about the latest success of the Portuguese golf tourism industry, but I wanted to hear from first hand about the details. This is why I asked Carlos Ferreira, the Founder & CEO of Tee Times Golf Agency, the market leader golf travel agency of Portugal.
How do you see the situation of the Portuguese inbound golf tourism? Do you see any trends or changes?
This year with a new ownership at Vilamoura golf courses we have seen a big investment on the infrastructures and a new strategy with different product offers and prices. However aware of the competition from various markets the Portuguese Golf courses, in general, are committed to improving the service provided to its customers.
Did you know that Lisbon is connected to 102 international cities, Porto to 52 European cities, Funchal to 35 European cities, and Faro to 55 European cities?
The very same study found that the golf tourists average spending in the Algarve, is about € 1,500 in your stay, staying in hotels of 4 or 5 stars. In 2017, 1.8 million rounds of golf were played in Portugal.
The Algarve is currently responsible for about 70% of the rounds of golf in Portugal.
Portugal has been voted at the World’s Best Golf Destination by the World Golf Awards for the fourth year in a row (between 2014 and 2017). The country was named World’s Leading Destination in 2017 by the World Travel Awards as well.
According to the World Economic Forum’s Tourism Competitiveness Index, Portugal is the 14th most competitive country in the world.
How is Portugal is competing against popular golf destinations like Spain, Turkey, Morocco etc.?
Portuguese golf courses are keeping their prices at a very competitive level and always looking to improve their service and their golf courses.
The Portuguese state is providing:
- financial incentives (e.g. European Framework 2014/2020: support investment of 21 Billion Euros);
- attractive loans;
- the launch of new venture capital instruments;
- fiscal incentives (e.g. Portugal increased its competitiveness in tax incentives for productive investment) to help the tourism industry in general.
Do you see any changes in tee time and golf holiday booking habits? If yes, then describe them in detail!
The customer wants a faster response to their request, so the online tee times are an increasingly used solution. However popular golf courses have a great variety of tour operators, who demand, availability for groups, whether they are societies, corporate or other, and that obviously is restraining the online availabilities.
The hotels present a different dynamic on their reservation system. Their capacity exceeds the demand for most of the year and then we obtain allotments of rooms with some facility.
I heard that you had a very successful month in July 2018. Could you share with us your successes & how did you achieve them?
In the first seven months of this year we have a very good year with important progress in all regions, but spectacular results in some regions, like Lisbon, where we have already doubled our golf rounds of 2017 and Spain where we should multiply by four or golf rounds from last year.
Madeira, Azores and Oporto, we also double our figures from last year and still some months to go. The Algarve our most important market, we are just ahead of the official numbers.
What are your innovations in service personalization?
We at Tee Times Golf Agency are always looking to improve our relationship with our clients. Been in business for over 20 years and undoubtedly the market leader in Portugal creates great responsibilities and expectation, that we are ready to take.
Therefore, we are always looking to improve our relationship with our clients, and the golf courses we represent. Just recently we have created a loyalty card to reward our returning customers, we have a customer satisfaction survey to measure the quality of customer experience.
We are conducting such surveys continuously and we make the necessary changes based on the outputs of these surveys. We also share the outputs with our golf club and resort partners to help them in customer experience innovation and development.
Photos by Kevin Murray