The Isle of Man tourism sector received a lifeline with the Guernsey Airbridge operating over the latter half of the summer.
Isle of Man Golf Holidays had the pleasure of looking after 32 golfers in that period and this comprised of 5 groups. The majority of the golfers had never visited the Island before.
Isle of Man Golf Holidays reached out to the Guernsey golfers by contacting their local media and golf clubs to share the Manx golf break offering. This was sharp marketing with minimal cost.
During respective golf breaks, company owner Ged Power was able to keep a track of the golfers spending habits.
Ged stated ‘The groups used two Douglas hotels and generally, the room rate was around £60 per night. Some enjoyed classy for suites but on the whole, it was a twin room sharing with breakfast. In addition to that, a round of golf swings between the £25-£35 mark with the premium course at Castletown Golf Links being £70 per round. The length of stay for the golfers and rounds played varied. A couple of groups stayed for 7 days and others were 3 or 4 nights. The Guernsey golfers enjoyed the restaurants in evening time. (‘Meating’ on Broadway was a big favourite and ’14 North’ was savoured in the top quality food ladder.)
Ged went on to say, ‘Looking after the golfers is a lot of fun, I’ve handled 1000’s over the years. The Guernsey people are relaxed and friendly. Most of the golfers chose the convenience of my mini bus options and travelling from hotel to courses is made easier. Some managed to hire cars. In addition to the hotels, golf fees, restaurants and transport, our visitors would be spending on lunches and in many cases, our local beer proved popular right through the day and into the night after the golf had finished. I would estimate that each golfer spends £100-£120 per day on food, drink and miscellaneous purchases. I also offer Ping golf club hire and these are £45 per set. Aurigny airline provided the flights and that cash will go to Guernsey government as it is state owned.’
It wasn’t just about golf either, ‘Our golfers also enjoyed the steam railway, axe throwing and a brewery tour amongst other things. The Island can add something different to each and every a golf tour. All my golfers loved their stay here on the Island. We have 8 courses and plenty of things to do. Expanding our hotel offering is essential and I’m eager to see more quality beds for golfers. Hopefully, there will be investment in new accommodation.’
Making some calculations based on the costs of the hotel, golf, transport, food, drink and miscellaneous purchases, it was obvious to see that the return to the Manx Economy was beneficial as 32 golfers delivered over £40k worth of revenue where the industry really needs it at these tough times. Compared with other tourism groups, the spending power supersedes the likes of cruise ship visitors and the ‘coach party’ groups who have been visible on Douglas Promenade for many years.
One of our local hoteliers stated ‘The golfers are eating and drinking machines. High spenders and we welcome them everytime’
The advent of COVID will mean the European landscape for tourism will change. Air travel abroad is likely to be more expensive and there will be a reluctance for many people to travel abroad for health reasons. The Island has proven to be a safe haven and owns the local ferry company. This has to be a good thing for our economy. We’re also in good hands with Tom Gandy who is playing on the European Tour. His performance in the Portuguese Masters recently had him on Sky Sports with the commentators talking about golf on our Island. It’s wonderful to see our golfing gem being shared far and wide.