Just a few years ago, exploring destinations, viewing course layouts, and obtaining prices for golf packages would take days of leafing through numerous brochures and making several phone calls. Today, all of that can be done in a matter of minutes - all courtesy of the Internet and online golf marketers.
"The web has given us the ability to communicate our message to golfers in ways we couldn't have dreamed about in the past," said Mary Kerr, President and CEO of the Ann Arbor Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. "We found we could deliver much more information to golfers in a faster and more cost effective way - all with their needs and interests in mind."
The Ann Arbor CVB website includes expanded course listings, features on signature holes, and golf tips from local pros in a section that is directly marketed at www.golfannarbor.com. The bureau complements the website with a four-color print brochure, but the website is always the call to action for promotions and advertising.
And Ann Arbor isn't the only destination using the web to deliver its message to golfers.
Caleb Miles, Executive Director of the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area Convention and Visitors Bureau - www.homeofgolf.com - and President of the North Carolina Golf Marketing Alliance, is also using online promotions and cooperative web marketing efforts to reach potential golfers.
"We are using a single message and call to action that emphasizes the website", said Miles. "We could then customize the website with frequent updates that include specials and package rates to promote golf."
In an effort to stretch advertising dollars, the North Carolina Golf Marketing Alliance - a cooperative golf marketing venture comprised of more than 35 partners and the state of North Carolina - has scaled down single advertisements and inserts that previously detailed several courses, resorts and destinations. The advertisements now direct golfers to a site - www.visitncgolf.com - that includes all of the extensive information that was previously contained in the print inserts. This allows the group to advertise more frequently and get their message to consumers. .
When it comes to promoting his own golf destination, Miles has relied on e-mail marketing to reach potential golfers with an interest in the more than 40 hotels and 35 courses that are located within the Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen areas. His tourism bureau has worked with a promotional e-mail marketing program called "GolfNC e-Specials" to publicize golf packages and specials.
"E-mail allows us to create time sensitive specials and promote them effectively," commented Miles. "We use 'GolfNC e-Specials' to refer people to our site, at which we have implemented a booking component to allow golfers to immediately search out the specials and book them online."
E-mail has not only become an important part of golf promotion, but also plays a big part in communication. Golfers use the Internet to find information about packages and then e-mail properties for additional information and specific prices.
"We communicate to prospective clients and guests via e-mail," said Doug Bell, Golf Director of the Manistee National Golf and Resort located in northwest Michigan. "It is much easier to quote packages and relay rate information. And we have found it is very convenient for the golfers."
So as golfers' use of the Internet grows, so will the information that courses, resorts and destinations provide - creating a win-win situation for everyone involved.
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