Much has changed since August 1984 when my brother and I started PerryGolf. Of all the changes – new golf courses, hotels, airline options and service improvements – the one which has the greatest ongoing impact to our clients, is the booking window.Read more “The Most Impactful Trend of International Golf Travel”
As the world has become a smaller place and outstanding golf courses can be found in some of the most remote corners of the earth, we should not overlook the tremendous work that Robert Trent Jones did around the world as demand for golf grew during the 1930’s and later. Details on the collection of his business papers can be read here . I recall very clearly playing at Royal Dar es Salam Golf Club in Rabat, Morocco in the 1990’s. The layout was classic Jones, wide fairways, doglegs, large bunkers with fairly shallow lips…all very playable and enjoyable. The golf course in Morocco was at one time in the Top 100 Courses in the world but as time and new construction sped by, it fell out of these rankings. Mr. Jones did much to create the initial international golf travelers.
To follow is a continuation of Larry Olmsted’s experience with his iPhone and AT&T when travelling overseas, including a nice plug for PerryGolf;
Earlier this year I had the incredible pleasure of playing in the pro-am at the Mayakoba Classic, the only PGA Tour event in Mexico, on the Greg Norman designed El Camaleon course. I also played some other great courses in the Rivera Maya, stayed at posh hotels like the Fairmont Mayakoba, and drank lots of beers and margaritas. In short I had a wonderful time.
Until AT&T … Read more
This blog from our good friend Larry Olmsted caught my eye as it is a topic I have commented on previously
I feel violated. Two weeks ago, Steve Jobs and company broke into my home, changed my computer settings, and stopped my iPhone from working.
This is what technology has come to. Instead of the grandiose promise of the future with flying cars, robot servants and computers and phones that both work and make life easier, I get to spend half a day trying to fix my … Read more
I was lucky. A wise elder from my club who knew the ropes organized the earliest golf trips I joined, all stateside. The game changed in 1994 when our bunch set sights on Ireland and our elder could not make the trip. His lieutenant took the wheel and did a nice job. Two truths became clear; first, international travel is more complicated than a long weekend at Pinehurst. Second, a specialized golf tour operator is worth their weight in Pro Vs!
I’ve led four international trips, beginning with my first in 1994; three with guys from my club to Scotland, Ireland and Scotland/England, and one with the wives (and a couple mother in laws!) this past October to South Africa. I enjoy the role. It earns me a pint now and again and it’s interesting to learn so much more about the counties we’ve visited. I’ll confess to a perk as well: I prefer to control my fate when so much is on the line.
If you’re thinking about volunteering to lead a group, or you’ve been “volunteered,” my experience has found three things that make a big difference:
1. Start Silly Early: Starting early pays off … literally. You’ll almost always find early- bird offers (airfare discounts typically), and nothing comes close to endearing you to your group than saving them money! If the unfortunate happens and someone has to drop out, you’ll have time to find a replacement. Early puts you at the head of the line, increasing availability for your top course and hotel choices. Time also allows you the chance to react to the fluctuations of the US dollar. If it’s headed south, a tour operator who prices in guaranteed US dollars can do you a big favor. Eventually everyone’s prices will have to go up, so again sooner is better. You can bet on a tour operator who prices daily if you think the exchange rate will improve, but like any wager the agreement cuts both ways.
2. Get Several Quotes: You never want anyone thinking they paid too much so I always get competing quotes. You can also get good ideas. It’s gospel in my view to prepare your preferences in a Word document – rather than visiting each website and completing difference forms – so the input will be identical for pricing. I try to keep my hands on this pretty close. If a member of the group is inclined to quote a different tour operator, it’s fine but I ask that I do the liaison so the input will match. The quotes always come back with apples and oranges anyway; so the last thing this needs is apple, oranges and coconuts!
There will be a lot to see in the quotes beyond the cost. How promptly was it prepared? Did the operator provide sufficient detail? Was the quote easy to read? Were terms and conditions spelled out? As you might expect, quotes will vary in spite of having all begun the same. The hotel room category alone can have real money impact on the total. You could see the same hotel, but the room overlooking the sea is going to be more than the parking lot view. This is the homework phase — not my favorite — but a bad place to make a mistake.
Be absolutely sure you pay attention to the Terms & Conditions. You need to understand the cancellation policies, payment schedules, change fees and credit card surcharges (most are charging 2% or so to pay with a credit card). And don’t overlook payment terms. Many tour operators price by the day; a number price with guaranteed US dollars. You can choose to gamble or play it safe..
I don’t hesitate to spend time with the tour operator if something isn’t clear, whether it’s a point in their quote or their competitors’. At the end of the day, I’m not after anyone’s job!
3. Answer Questions Privately: Once I’ve circled back on the proposals and made sure I understand the “fruit baskets” reasonably well, I’ll email the best and next best to the group for their review. This naturally surfaces comments and questions, and leads me back to the tour operator. I like to forward questions to the operator for two reasons: 1) the process will soon be in the their hands to finalize for reservations forms, payments, documents, etc., so the Q&A exercise serves as a handoff , and 2) they’ve got the answers! (If they don’t, you may have the wrong tour operator.)
One thing I’ve learned, the uncomfortable way, is when I forward the question to the tour operator, I’ll normally copy only the group member who asked the question rather than the entire group — even if everyone was copied on the original. Every question isn’t relevant to everyone, and truth be told, some won’t be relevant to anyone. Pretty sneaky I know, but I’m not signed on to herd cats!
[BB1]not sure about this first-time reference.