Building Relationships and Revenue Through Golf Travel

Be sure to use your influence as a PGA Professional to create lasting experiences and a strong brand

Greg Stenzel, PGA, is a PGA Career Consultant serving the Tri-State and Middle Atlantic Sections. He can be reached at (561) 379-7724 or gstenzel@pgahq.com.

The PGA Professional is recognized as one of the most influential individuals in the golf industry, and leads the actions and buying habits of those around them through their recommendations.

Each day, members, guests and clients reach out to PGA Professionals for assistance in their deci- sions on purchases of equipment and apparel, which courses to play or the destinations where they should stay. The power of the “Influentials” is significant in driving new business, promoting products and services and creating additional revenue streams.

One opportunity available to the PGA Professional is the use of group golf travel as part of their golf operation “engagement” strategy. Using golf travel programs as a unique tool allows PGA Members to build strong relationships with members and customers, enhance their brand and grow revenue at their facilities.

Create an Experience

Begin by developing a “Template for Travel.” Most travel companies can assist you in the organization of accumulating required information.

Use the template to assist you and your guests in the selection of your destination; the duration of your trip; self-drive or chauffeured bus; the cate- gory of hotel in which the group would like to stay; and other excursions or activities needed for the non-golfers.

Don’t be afraid to compare pricing packages between travel companies, either. Prices can vary significantly based on accommodation type, or the amenities requested. A majority of companies also provide complimentary travel for the hosting PGA Professional with a group of eight or more, while offering the ability to earn commissions on paid booked trips.

As part of the engagement strategy, prepare your communication plan. Use the facility newsletter and your social media platforms outlining the details and highlights of the trip. Plan group meetings to educate and motivate your clients and in- volve the Food & Beverage Manager to assist you in meeting room arrangements, as well.

Build Your Brand

It’s important to build interest with your clients and increase their eagerness to prepare through consistent communication. This is also your first opportunity to grow revenue streams in the golf shop and in food & beverage areas. Inform travelers of items needed for overseas travel: a travel golf bag, rainwear, additional balls and gloves. Promote these products and make sure you have adequate stock available in your golf shop. Whether you or the facility owns the merchandise concession, this is a great way to increase sales revenue.

During the process, remember you are building your brand. Your brand allows you to develop your position at the facility; establish yourself as a leader; show off your strengths, knowledge and abilities; and own your space. Confidence is king. Be your- self and understand your value. Your brand can never be taken away, and will follow you throughout your career.

Throughout the trip, stay engaged with your entire group. Provide a daily itinerary with information regarding the area you are visiting; the accommodations; restaurants and pubs nearby; details about the courses you will play; tee times and, most importantly, the time the bus leaves each morning.

The non-golfing members of your group are equally as important. Have your travel company assist you in arranging access to local and regional tours, transportation and food & beverage options. Being well prepared increases your value within your group, and will positively impact your ongoing relationship with each of the guests. Remember: the individual playing in your group off the first tee at Carnoustie might be your next facility president, golf committee chair, or the person negotiating your contract.

Your engagement with your group will build last- ing relationships and provide additional benefits to you during your employment. Use your influence as a PGA Professional!