HONOLULU -- The promise of pristine greens, panoramic views and
challenging courses has helped make golf an important selling point
of Hawaii vacations for many years.
Now that new research has revealed just how lucrative that
market could be -- and how little Hawaii has done to leverage it --
the Hawaii Visitors & Convention Bureau (HVCB) plans to place
more emphasis on luring golfers to the islands.
A recent survey conducted by Market Trends Pacific for the HVCB
and the Hawaii Tourism Authority also suggests that savvy travel
agents could enjoy a bigger piece of this market by actively
pursuing golfers, selling them golf packages and helping them
secure tee times.
Of the golfers surveyed, 50% indicated that a guaranteed tee
time is very important to them, yet 64% booked those tee times
themselves. Only 6% in the survey scheduled tee times through a
Furthermore, 67% of survey subjects relied on information via
word of mouth about golfing destinations, while a mere 8% received
information from a travel agent. When booking a vacation, 62% did
it themselves and 13% used a travel agent.
The research reveals that golf is an important consideration in
selecting a leisure destination. About 34% of golfers from the
mainland said it was a very important factor.
As expected, golfers do much more than hit the links. Of those
surveyed, 46% said they would participate in snorkeling or scuba
excursions, 29% planned sightseeing or tours, 25% would go to the
beach and 7% would take a helicopter tour.
The HVCB said the research will help it determine where to place
its advertising dollars and how to communicate more effectively
with golfers -- especially those who want to travel and spend
"We were operating on a hunch until now," said Chris Kam,
director of market trends for the HVCB. "Now, we have the hard
data, and we can really fine-tune the marketing."
The exposure is already there. Six Professional Golfers'
Association tournaments take place in Hawaii.
"We need to take the visibility we get from that and the
infrastructure we have, and make Hawaii a premier [golf]
destination," said HVCB president and CEO John Monahan.
To contact reporter Katherine Nichols, send e-mail to [email protected].