Survey reveals golf holiday “deal breakers”

A new survey detailing the most important factors influencing golfers’ research and booking of holiday destinations has been launched at the International Golf Travel Market (IGTM).

Commissioned by Reed Travel Exhibitions, organisers of IGTM (November 12-15, 2012, Algarve, Portugal), and produced by SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC., the research reveals that ‘friends’ recommendation’ remains the single most influential factor in consumers’ initial research of where to take a golf holiday.

The survey of 9,500 regular golfers (those who play at least 10 times a year) in the United Kingdom & Ireland (UK&I), Germany, Scandinavia and France found that ‘specialist golf tour operators’ are the second most influential factor, especially in UK&I.

‘Golf magazines’ are the third most influential factor overall, taking into account the size of the UK&I market – the largest in Europe – but the second key influencer for golfers in Continental Europe.

A golf magazine
Golf Magazines are 3rd most influential factor for British Golfers and 2nd for golfers in Continental Europe

Looking at the factors influencing consumers’ research is important, notes SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC., as more than 60% of golfers surveyed booked their holidays independently – 50% of them online – rather than through a specialist or non-specialist tour operator.

The top 10 factors influencing research of golf holiday destinations are:

  1. Friends’ recommendation
  2. Specialist golf tour operators
  3. Golf magazines
  4. Online tour operators
  5. Golf professional recommendation
  6. Online blogs/reviews/golf networks
  7. Reviews/advertising on television
  8. Outdoor advertising
  9. Social media
  10. High-street tour operators

“What’s striking about this research is that the majority of golf holidays are now booked independently and online, yet the key factor influencing golfers in their initial research remains friends’ recommendation, a trusted source of information and first-hand experience,” said IGTM Exhibition Manager, Peter Grimster.

“The importance of word-of-mouth, from friends and golf professionals, underlines the importance of customer service as guests become ambassadors for that destination or resort. In short, the venue’s reputation will be shaped significantly by customer experience.”

While the wider travel market has seen the growing influence of social media, it would appear that social media is not a rapidly growing factor in golf, with little change year-on-year.

However, the research reveals that UK&I golfers are the most likely to have used some form of social media to research their break – 30.6% stated they used social media, with Tripadvisor being the most popular outlet (21.2%).


TripAdvisor is the most trusted form of social media for golfers


In Continental Europe, 15.9% of Scandinavian golfers used social media, 20% of French golfers and 14.1% of Germans. Tripadvisor was the most popular for French golfers (10.2%) and Germans (6.6%), while travel and tourism forums/chat rooms were the most popular for Scandinavian golfers (6.7%).

A summary of the report will be presented at IGTM by SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC. on Wednesday November 14 at 14.30, with a summary document available in the press office immediately after.

Full, detailed versions of the report, with country-specific editions, are available direct from SPORTS MARKETING SURVEYS INC.

For more information about IGTM, please visit:

Do you agree? – what other sources do you use and trust when booking your golf breaks?

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