After reporting strong 2009/2010 year-end results, Golfbreaks.com, Europe’s largest golf travel company, already predicts this year’s success will centre on the ability to offer superior customer service.
Chief executive, Andrew Stanley, who formed Golfbreaks.com in 1998, firmly believes that tour operators and travel companies who recognise the importance of a positive customer experience will reap the rewards in 2011: “Although the best prices will attract customers to book these holidays, the very best customer service and support is still a vital factor in the booking decision for golfers.
“Last year, 98% of the 150,000 golfers who booked with Golfbreaks.com said the service they received was excellent – and 50% of them were repeat customers. That is just as important to me as the deals themselves,” Andrew continued.
“Customer retention is all about the customer experience you provide. Simply put, if customers have a poor experience they will leave you. If you provide customers with an average experience they are open to being attracted by someone else. If you provide customers with a great experience, it will take some effort to prise them from you. And a great experience is one that is first class from their perspective – rationally and emotionally.”
The business’ Break Points membership scheme has proven to be a valuable asset in its customer service strategy. Commenting on this, Andrew remarks: “It is an attractive offering for customers to earn and redeem points every time they book a stand alone tee time, a spa package or a golf break. Membership to Golfbreaks.com’s unique loyalty scheme increased by 52% in the last 12 months – an area we are very keen to promote in 2011.”
Golfbreaks.com consumers enjoyed superb deals in 2010 and can expect comparable packages throughout 2011 for breaks across the UK, Europe and worldwide. Andrew believes that destinations, such as Cyprus and Turkey, will be high on customers’ lists this year, as plans to build more courses in these countries will undoubtedly put them on the map as top-class golf destinations.
Some current offers include a break at five-star InterContinental Aphrodite Hills Resort Hotel in Paphos, Cyprus, from £435 per person for seven nights’ (five nights’ on B&B basis and two nights’ half board, including free room upgrades where available), four rounds of golf and free buggies. In addition, if a group of eight book, one golfer from the party travels for free. Visitors to Turkey will be able to take advantage of the package deal at five-star Sueno Hotels Golf Resort in Belek, Antalya, which comprises seven nights’ dinner and B&B with unlimited golf from only £465.
Andrew predicts that Ireland will also see a resurgence in visitor numbers. With Killeen Castle hosting the 2011 Solheim Cup, a number of world-class resorts are offering competitive deals throughout the year to capitalise on this prestigious event. Five-star resort, Lough Erne, is offering two nights on a B&B basis with two rounds of golf from £215; an overnight stay at The K Club on a B&B basis with two rounds of golf is from £189 per person. Customers making group bookings to Ireland in January and February will also receive a free TaylorMade fairway wood from Golfbreaks.com.
“Spain and Portugal will continue to attract a wide number of golfers,” added Andrew. “I anticipate that they will rank highly among our most popular European destinations, as they continue to provide great value for money breaks.”
Year-on-year, the five-star La Cala Golf Resort & Spa in Costa del Sol, has attracted a number of visitors, and with deals starting from just £275 per person for three nights’ B&B and three rounds of golf, it is a great offer. What’s more, visitors can get a free spa experience if they book a seven nights’ stay, as well as complimentary shared buggies. Room upgrades are also available.
Andrew Stanley concluded: “Although it’s challenging for hotels and resorts to forecast their business because customers are waiting for last-minute deals, consumers are taking advantage of some great January offers.”
As Europe’s largest golf travel company, Golfbreaks.com offers over 950 stunning venues and is widely recognised as the expert when it comes to golf breaks, golf holidays and golf tours across the UK, Europe and Worldwide.