Online Golf Travel
As the popularity of online travel continues to grow at a rapid pace -- more than $14 billion in online sales were generated during the year 2000 -- travel related organizations are looking for effective ways to reach the e-traveler. The golf segment has recently become one of the travel industry's leaders by developing marketing campaigns to promote packages and specials via the Internet.
One of the most effective and cost efficient ways to reach online golfers is through permission based e-mail marketing campaigns. Destinations, resorts and individual courses are using e-mail to build brand awareness and drive rounds in shoulder seasons and soft periods.
Crystal Mountain - located in Thompsonville - began using e-mail marketing early in the year to promote golf packages and drive rounds during select slow periods throughout the season. "The great value of it is being able see holes in tee times and quickly send out an e-mail to fill those holes," said Joan O'Neill, Director of Marketing at Crystal Mountain. "It gives us the ability to create a quick response with very little lead time and it is extremely cost effective."
Crystal Mountain has developed an "E-Lite List" of past guests who opted into the program, along with allowing new users the opportunity to register on their website at www.crystalmountain.com. The year-round resort complex, that features 36 holes of golf and nationally ranked instructional schools for men and women, utilizes an extensive profiling system that allows prospects to be targeted by interests and location.
One of Crystal Mountain's most recent promotions featured a redeemable online certificate that was targeted to selected members of the "E-Lite List." The list members who received the personalized certificate were invited to a day of unlimited golf if they booked one of the resort's special golf packages within a three-week window.
"We are finding more and more people are looking to the Internet for last-minute trip planning," added O'Neill. "Programs like this are an excellent way to alert golfers of opportunities that they may not have been aware of."
O'Neill's comments are validated by a recent Travel Industry Association of America E-Travel Report that states: "More than half (54%) of e-travelers go online to plan a trip less than one month in advance and 33% make "last minute" trip plans by going online within two weeks of their trip."
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