Golfbreaks.com, Europe’s largest golf travel company, will reinforce its position as clear market leader as it gets set to report year-end* revenues of more than £20 million, bolstered by three consecutive months of record-breaking summer bookings.
In September alone, Golfbreaks.com booked over 19,000 golfers on holidays and breaks, 7,000 more than for the same period last year. This performance was off the back of a record July and August that saw the demand for both UK and European destinations grow significantly year-on-year.
In total, Golfbreaks.com expect to book more than 125,000 golfers on breaks in 2009 with the UK, Spain, Portugal and France the most popular destinations from their global portfolio of offers. In addition, Golfbreaks.com’s sister business, Teeofftimes.co.uk, has enjoyed exponential growth with 45,000 golfers booking reduced price green fees at courses across the UK.
Andrew Stanley, chief executive of Golfbreaks.com, said: “Golfers are taking advantage of some great deals at the moment. We’re enjoying a record year and we are finding that although people are booking nearer to travel dates, the late booking market has never been as buoyant as it is right now.”
Stanley also cites the unseasonably good weather as one of the key drivers to Golfbreaks.com’s record-breaking performance, underpinned by a 20% year-on-year increase in UK bookings through July and August, rising to a 37% increase in September.
“There is no doubt the Indian summer has played its part in our performance,” continued Stanley. “Many golf courses have been in fantastic condition and golfers are making the most of it. Even golfers with higher disposable incomes are using the cash savings from financial commitments like lower tracker mortgages to book their annual golf breaks. Advanced bookings for next year already show significant year-on-year growth.”
September’s booking growth was also driven by the company’s month-long Early Birdie promotion which allowed golfers to book 2010 golf breaks at 2009 prices, as well as receiving additional money-saving cash-back bonuses and Break Points, loyalty rewards which can be redeemed against future bookings.
Andrew Stanley said the scheme has been so successful, Golfbreaks.com would continue the Early Birdie promotion until October 31st to give more golfers the chance to book at last year’s prices.
“Early Birdie has proved the old adage that ‘everyone loves a bargain.’ If the price is right customers will book a golf break. We are getting golfers wanting to go away tomorrow, this weekend, next week. Golfers are certainly taking advantage of some great offers.
“It’s also encouraging to see the group bookings market flourishing. Our average party size is six per booking, but during September this tracked at nearly eight,” added Stanley, who founded the business in 1998 and now employs 80 people at its Windsor, Berks, headquarters.
The holiday and short break market is highly competitive and this is one of the key factors that is benefiting the golfer according to Golfbreaks.com analysis.
Stanley said: “We offer breaks to over 900 venues across the UK, Europe and further afield and I believe 90% of those venues have lower prices than they did at this time last year. For example, we are currently offering a one-night stay to the Turnberry Resort in Scotland that includes a round of golf on the Ailsa Course (which hosted the 2009 Open Championship) for £175. This same offer would have been nearly £250 a year ago.”
The success of Teeofftimes.co.uk has boosted the overall Golfbreaks.com business and has underlined this growth area of the market. From a modest 11,000 tee times in its first year, business has more than quadrupled with 45,000 tee times booked in the past year, and further significant growth predicted for 2010.
“The consumer is undoubtedly becoming more savvy and they know exactly what they are looking for in terms of value for money and price,” added Stanley. “Golf clubs across the UK are having to offer better rates due to the drop in annual club memberships, reduced corporate bookings and fewer golf society visits. An online engine like Teeofftimes.co.uk gives access to booking information in an instant.”
*Golfbreaks.com financial year ends 31 October.