The Revival of the Golf Travel Industry
By Nakita Mason, Content & Community Executive at IGTM Team
As with every other industry in 2020, the question on the table for the golf travel trade has been about how to get it back on its feet as quickly and as safely as possible. With March and April being hallmarked as the peak of the pandemic and uncertainties around whether we are in fact heading for a similar situation in winter, IGTM Links brought together some key names in the golfing industry to discuss how the past 6 months have been and whether there’s any light at the end of the tunnel for 2021.
Our four panellists tackling this subject were Peter Walton, CEO of IAGTO, Sam Barker the Sales Director of Golf Breaks, Clinton Norris the Director of Sales and Marketing for Troon and lastly our host, Farhad Heydari, the Editor of NetJets Magazine and Founder and Chief Executive Officer of House of Heydari.
As expected, one of the most salient topics discussed was about how their businesses had fared during the last 6 months of upheaval and what the core challenges had been during one of the most tumultuous periods for the leisure travel industry to date.
The onset of the pandemic resulted in a surge of new challenges for the golfing industry, but there were also slivers of hope in parts, such as the uplift in domestic bookings. Alongside the expectation management of clients who had bookings, the upsurge in the domestic market and the ever-changing government restrictions, the need for the golf industry to move quickly and adapt was overwhelming. From the day-to-day safety management and the challenges of working remotely, the first half of the year up until now has demanded agility from this industry like never before.
This swift change and ability to adapt to the circumstances is undoubtedly key to seeing the industry slowly build back up to its original health though it’s not the only facet that’s caused optimism among those in the industry.
As mentioned by IAGTO CEO, Peter Walton, whilst the trade has been unquestionably impacted by the last 6 months of the pandemic, it is in fact perhaps uniquely placed to overcome it and potentially even find avenues from it that otherwise would have not opened up.
Golf has the innate advantage of being a non-contact sport with plenty of room for social distancing, and this, coupled with so many people desperate to find new outlets in a newly constrained world has placed it in a uniquely mobile position to adapt. Furthermore, there have been some notable demographic shifts within golf that are yet again new avenues for revenue and previously untapped markets.
Whilst the IGTM Links Golf Revival panel did not shy away from the significant barriers to a return to normal, there was regardless an overwhelming sense of hope:
“Customers want to get away. We’ve seen that even from day one and throughout this whole period that there is a huge appetite to get away and to travel and to play golf. A huge positive, as we’ve mentioned also, there are more people now playing golf and the golf market that we can all tap into has just increased as well” Sam Barker, Golf Breaks
For the full story and some hot topics pinpointed by our wonderful host Mr. Farhad Heydari, watch our panel talk and find out what the key names in golf see as the future for the industry.
To the conference!
Peter Walton CEO of IGTO
Sam Barker of Golf Breaks Sales Director
Clinton Norris of Troon Director of Sales and Marketing
Farhad Heydari, Founder & Chief Executive Office, House of Heydari