Golf much more than a sport
Spain has been the most important golf destination for European golfers for 40 years, along with the Algarve.
Until 20 years ago, practically the only destination offered was the Costa del Sol. Since then, other areas such as Cadiz, Huelva, Murcia, Alicante, Catalonia, the Canary Islands and Mallorca have been added to the golf tourism offer, incorporating first class courses and facilities. However, there is no doubt that the Costa del Sol continues to be the favourite destination in Spain for two good reasons; it is the geographical area with the greatest number of golf courses and is home to one of the most important airports in Spain in terms of activity and volume of travellers.
The golf season starts in mid-September and lasts until the first week of December and lasts from February to the end of May, coinciding exactly with the low season for all hotels, which is why it is considered a major factor in seasonality.
Any offer of active and sports tourism, of sporting activity, is a seasonally adjusted agent, but the one that contributes most to our country’s turnover is undoubtedly golf, although now other sports such as cycling are contributing very good figures in our country.
What facilities and services cannot be missing from a golf hotel?
The main thing and above all is to have the possibility and the facility for potential clients to arrive, to have quick and agile access to the area. With good air connections and communications, the destinations become much more interesting for the national and especially the international golfer. And of course, a Golf Hotel must obviously have a good and very close offer of golf courses and if it is in the same hotel much better.
Once the client arrives at our establishment, he must find adequate facilities and the attention of a knowledgeable staff at the service of a client with a very specific profile. The golf client is a client who during the day practices and enjoys the course but who on returning to the hotel, and depending on his country of origin and culture, needs to have his complementary leisure needs resolved and they can be very diverse; from an attractive relaxation area and Spa to an original and carefully prepared gastronomic offer.
Has the profile of the golf guest changed in recent years?
Digital access to information has changed everything. Information that the client looks for and uses. Now you know which courses are in each area, as they are in real time of quality, you can access any course and get all the information you need, which hotels are nearby, at what prices, compare with other portals, get information about other activities you can do in the area etc.
Fifteen years ago this was unthinkable, the client trusted his operator, saw a brochure, two photos and little more… now he knows perfectly where he is going, what he wants and he leaves home with much more real expectations and adjusted to his personal taste.
Historically, golf is a sport associated with a lifestyle that is in turn linked to a profile of customers with a certain financial stability, of a certain cultural and social status as well. This type of golfer looks for places that offer quality golf courses but that are also challenging in order to fully enjoy the sporting experience, as well as the rest of the hotel services and complementary leisure offerings of the chosen area
But also, especially from countries like the United Kingdom, which is also our main client, we receive a greater diversity of player, sportsman and client profiles. This is a type of client for whom, with all the information they are looking for and consulting, and which we referred to in the previous point, and also according to a survey carried out by one of the largest golf portals, the number one factor in deciding where to go is the V4M, that is to say, the balance between quality and price, listed at 55% as the definitive factor in deciding their holiday and vocational destination.
22% vote for playing quality courses and curiously, only 5% of those surveyed considered “the weather factor” or “easy access areas” as the most important reason when deciding where to go, so ensuring sunshine and good weather is no longer enough to get either tourists or golfers. There have been some factors in recent years that have improved the quality of both golf course and hotel facilities in Spain with the arrival of new investors to the resorts.
This has led to an effect that calls for large investment funds interested in buying quality products for their subsequent repositioning.
The investment in resorts is causing the large tour operators to pay maximum attention to the quality levels of their products, and consequently they are beginning to redirect their investments to the new resorts.