The ABC's of Selling Golf: Profitable Crossmarketing

One possible point of entry for sales agents new to selling golf is to crossmarket golf with an established part of their travel business, like cruises.

Several cruise lines -- American Hawaii Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Royal Caribbean and Silversea, among others -- offer formal golf programs as onshore excursions. On Royal Caribbean's Golf Ahoy program in the western Caribbean, for example, golfers can work in rounds at the Playacar course in Playa del Carmen, the Sandals resort near Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and the Links at Safe Haven near Georgetown, Cayman Islands. On Crystal Cruises' 2000 golf program, golfers can play top international courses in the British Isles, Caribbean, Mediterranean and down under in Australia/New Zealand.

Other cruise lines schedule itineraries with ports of call that feature outstanding golf venues. For example, Costa Cruises stops at Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic, where two of the world's great courses, Pete Dye designs with stunning oceanside holes, await.

As one cruise industry specialist, Stephen Harris of Adventures at Sea in Dallas, Texas, notes, "Most of our inquiries come from women, and some of them are hesitant to book because they're concerned about their husbands not having enough to do. When I ask them 'Is your husband a golfer?' and then show them all the opportunities to play golf, their faces light up," Harris says. "We've booked a lot of business once wives become aware how much golf their husbands can play."

One of the most popular golf-intensive cruises is operated by American Hawaii Cruises, which navigates the Independence around the islands and offers golf on lush courses at Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the Kona coast on the Big Island of Hawaii. Cruising golfers can play at such memorable courses as Wailea and Makena on Maui and Princeville and Kiele on Kauai.

Perhaps the prime opportunity to link golf and cruises in 2000 is the Millennium Open Golf Experience. Passengers traveling in luxury aboard the QE2 will depart from Southampton, England, and cruise to St. Andrews, Scotland, where they will attend the British Open at golf's most storied site while staying aboard one of the world's most prestigious ships. Passengers also have the option of playing several rounds on Scottish courses.

Another way for sales agents to crossmarket golf with cruises is to put together land-and-sea packages. For example, on cruises to the eastern and southern Caribbean departing from San Juan, agents can sell clients pre-cruise or post-cruise golf packages at the El Conquistador resort or Hyatt Dorado Beach.

"There are many ways for agents to tie golf together with cruises," says Harris. "For three-night or four-night cruises out of Miami to the Bahamas, you can book a client into a resort like Doral or Disney World for a couple of nights prior to the trip. I see a lot of opportunities that aren't being exploited."

For More Information

American Hawaii Cruises: (800) 765-7000.
Costa Cruises: (800) 462-6782.
Crystal Cruises: (800) 446-6620.
PerryGolf: (800) 344-5257.
Royal Caribbean: (800) 327-6700.

Web Resources

One vehicle for accumulating data on golf travel is the Internet. Pick a search engine, type in the key words "Golf Travel" and a world of information will be at your fingertips. A few sites to visit:

Golf Digest ( golfdigest.com) -- Click on the "Free Golf and Travel Info" link and you'll be awash in resort destinations and places to play. This site also has information on golf schools.

Golf Travel Online ( gto.com) -- This site features many domestic and international resorts, as well as information on packages and on-line booking.

Global Media ( globalgolfguide.com) -- As the name suggests, this site features a host of international destinations, as well as domestic.

PGA of America ( pga.com) -- This site offers a wealth of golf travel information, including in-depth articles on great getaways.

Golf.com ( golf.com) -- This site showcases a wide range of resorts and public courses.

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