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Survey finds "word-of-mouth" most crucial golf destination factor
November 23, 2011

A new survey published today at the International Golf Travel Market in Belek, Turkey, reveals that UK golfers are most influenced by friends' recommendations and 'word-of-mouth' when researching golf holidays.

The report, commissioned by Reed Travel Exhibitions, organisers of IGTM, in conjunction with Sports Marketing Surveys Inc and Golf Monthly magazine, details the key influences on UK golfers and their choice of golfholiday destinations, while underlining the growing importance of social media.

It found that 70% of golfers in the UK, the largest source of golf travellers in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, considered advice and information from golfing friends as important or very important when researching where to take a golf break.

The next most importantfactors were golf magazines (43%), golf professional recommendations (42%) and online blogs and course reviews (35%).

The research also revealed that more than a third (36.1%) of UK golfers used a social media website when researching their last golf holiday, while almost half of under 30-year-olds used social media sites for research.

Trip Advisor was the most referenced source (26.3%) and among those who did use social media, a quarter changed the hotel they were due to stay in based on reviews.

Peter Grimster, IGTM Exhibition Manager, said: "The most compelling finding of the research is the staggering 70% of golfers who state that word-of-mouth recommendations - especially from family and friends, but also their golf professional - is the most influential factor when they research golf holiday destinations.

"The implication for destinations and resorts is clear - every visitor can be an ambassador or influencer for your business, so you must ensure that your product, service and customer experience is outstanding and memorable for all the right reasons."

International Golf Travel Market, the world's premier global event for golf tourism suppliers, buyers and media, opened today at the Antalya Expo Centre, Turkey close to the award-winning golf destination of Belek.

More than 1,200 golf travel professionals from 60 countries, including a significant presence from Asia, are attending IGTM 2011, hosted by Betuyab (Belek Tourism Investors Association). The ratio of quality exhibitors and buyers is carefully managed to ensure IGTM drives business.

According to Sports Marketing Surveys Inc.'s research, there are 3.9 million golfers in the UK (of whom 1.6 million play at least 12 times a year), the largest golf market in Europe. More than 2,400 UK golfers were surveyed for the report.

The report also asked UK golfers what were the most important factors when booking their golf holiday.

Top of the list came a destination's selection of golf courses (68%), holiday price (65%) and whether golf was included in the package (63.5%).

Other highlight findings included:

•  Golfers with handicaps of 5 and below were the most likely to travel to long haul destinations, especially the US and the UAE

•  A third of the golfers surveyed who have been on an international golf break stayed most recently in self-catered accommodation - making it the number one accommodation type, ahead of B&B (25.6%), HalfBoard (20.7%), All Inclusive (15.6%) and Room only (5.8%)

•  Over half of the golfers surveyed (52%) book their international golf breaks between six and twelve months in advance of theirdeparture dates

The 14th edition of IGTM, the world's premier event for international golf tourism suppliers, buyers and media, opened its doors to exhibitors, visitors and dignitaries today, November 15, 2011, in the award-winning golf destination of Belek, close to the city of Antalya in Turkey.

For more information about IGTM, please visit: www.igtm.co.uk or visit www.iagto.com








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