The Chief Executive Officer for Golfbreaks.com, Mr. Daniel Grave, joins us for episode #252 of the Worldwide Golf Shops Insider Podcast to talk about what’s new and upcoming with our preferred travel partners over at Golfbreaks.com.
Tom Brassell: Welcome to the Worldwide Golf Shops Insider podcast. Episode 252.
Hello, everyone. Tom Brassell here. Don’t touch your mouse, don’t touch your phone, you’re in the right place. It’s a new name, but the same great podcast that we’ve had for the last ten years. All the fantastic guests that you’ve grown to know on our podcast will still be with us and one joins us today. He is the CEO of golfbreaks.com USA. He joined us earlier in the year and he’s back for a repeat appearance, Mr. Daniel Grave. Daniel, thanks so much for joining us. It’s great to have you with us.
Daniel Grave: Good to be with you, Tom. Thank you.
Tom Brassell: For those listeners who may have not caught the episode or not that familiar, Daniel, take us back in time a little bit and talk about the preferred travel partner of Worldwide Golf Shops Golfbreaks and how the relationship is going and just kind of take it from there.
Daniel Grave: Yeah, just for everybody who’s maybe not heard of golfbreaks.com before, we originate out of the UK. We set our business up in 1998 and we are a golf travel specialist. We’re like a travel agency for golfers, specifically for golfers. So you know, fast forwarding 20 years, we now send around 220,000 golfers on trips all around the world every year. And about three, four years ago, I moved to the States with my family purely to set up our US operation, our North American operation, in fact. Initially, the focus was bringing Brits into the States, to all the wonderful destinations on offer here, and then more recently we’ve actually launched the brand in North America, golfbreaks.com and we’re now sending North Americans across the pond to all those wonderful courses in Scotland and Ireland, also to places like the Dominican Republic and Mexico. And now, which I know is what we’re going to talk about, we’ve also just launched our domestic US program.
So, as a partnership with Worldwide Golf Shops, we’ve been working together now since, I think it’s June or July offering the Worldwide Golf Shop audience, you know, our wonderful service and pricing and packages for golf trips all around the world now, effectively.
Tom Brassell: Yeah, I think I kind of wore it out on our first episode. I talked about you guys ought to be called bucketlist.com for golfers or something, because you’re taking golfers to where they dream to go, UK, Ireland and across the world, but right now, domestically, this is really exciting stuff. Expand on that a little bit if you can.
Daniel Grave: It is really exciting and we always had a phased approach to our US expansion. Phase one being sending North Americans across the pond, phase two being trips to the Caribbean, Mexico, Dominican Republic, places like that, and then phase three was to launch our domestic US program. So we now have, I think it’s six or seven states that are on the website with all the different destinations, so for example in the Carolinas we’ve got the Pinehurst area, Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, Kiawah, South Carolina. And then you get into Florida and you’ve got all the wonderful golf around Jacksonville, you know TPC Sawgrass for example, down into Orlando where you’ve got Bay Hill and across to Tampa with Innisbrook. All these iconic places around the country, across to Scottsdale, which is proving to be really popular, Vegas, and also across to California where you’ve obviously got places like Pebble Beach and down in Palm Springs.
So we’ve got a real mix of iconic resort-type properties, but also what we would call destination tour-type offerings, so you know your Scottsdale’s, your Orlando’s, your Myrtle Beach, where you may stay in a hotel and play three or four different courses in the area, throughout your break. Yeah, it’s really exciting. We’ve got it all there. We’re gonna be adding more and more products over time, but we’ve got the real hot spots live right now and the demand is fantastic.
Tom Brassell: And just like with the international travel, what you folks do is you make it easy. You make a one call, one-stop shop to take care of literally almost everything on that trip, correct?
Daniel Grave: Yeah, it’s a great question, Tom, because we often get asked, what’s your differentiator? Why would we use you as opposed to organizing this trip ourselves? We’ve been doing this now for 20 years and we’ve sent more than 2 million golfers on trips with 98% rating our service as great to excellent and that they would use us again and it’s all based on three very simple principles. Number one is choice. We offer extensive choice so we can really help people make decisions about where to go and when the best time to go is. Value, we say to people, look, you can go ahead and do this yourself. Absolutely. But we will do all the legwork for you and we’ll make sure that you pay no more through us than if you were to do it yourself. And that’s a really key point to get across. And then the third area is the service. By taking care of people, hand-holding the process from start to finish, all of our golf vacation specialists are very passionate about golf. They’ve seen the product. They’ve experienced the product, so they know exactly how to help and advise the customer in terms of where to go and when.
Tom Brassell: Daniel Grave of golfbreaks.com USA joining us. Daniel, talk about the second point we were talking about today because you have some early booking incentives now, a program which I just kind of tripped on. Share a little bit about that with us.
Daniel Grave: Yeah, in order to celebrate our launch of the domestic US program, we are running an early birdie promotion. It’s something that we’ve run at certain times of the year in the UK, very successfully, so we wanted to introduce it here. So for the month of October, if you make a booking in the month of October, not necessarily to travel in the month of October, but a booking is made in October that you can … for travel up to the end of 2018. So you can travel into next year. We’re offering discounts of up to a thousand dollars on your trip and it depends on the group size, the number of golfers in the group and also whether it’s an overseas trip or whether it’s a domestic trip. But all the details are on the website and you’ll see … Go to the website, usa.golfbreaks.com and you’ll see this early birdie messaging all over the site and there’s a landing page on the site which gives you all the details about the promotion. But yeah, it’s a great way to get your 2018 trip booked up early with some nice discounts.
Tom Brassell: Yeah, and applies to both domestic trips and also overseas trips, so some of those things take a while to put together, to get your foursome, your eight guys, your four guys, whatever it is to get together, and why not celebrate now and have some discounts on the front end?
Daniel Grave: And I would say that it’s really important especially for trips overseas to book early anyway if you want to get the best tee times all the right availability at the various venues. It’s really important to book early. Even more so if you’re going for those bucket list courses in places like Scotland and Ireland. Places like Royal County Down, their tee sheet is booked 12 months out. And people just don’t believe that, but I can promise you that these top 100 golf courses in the world, they get booked up so many months in advance that it’s really important if you have a trip with those in mind that you book them 12 months ahead.
Tom Brassell: Daniel, before we close, you mentioned something earlier about playing the courses that the PGA Tour players play or the European Tours players play. You got some new travel packages that might include being able to watch some of that, correct?
Daniel Grave: Correct. Yeah, we’ve launched tournament packages. Obviously, the bulk of our business is putting trips together for people to go away and play golf on a vacation. What we’ve found though, is a lot of people also love to go and watch the tournaments whether it be the Masters or the Open, which is going to be at Carnoustie in Scotland in 2018 or whether it be the Ryder Cup, which will be in Paris in 2018 or whether it be the Solheim Cup which is going to be in Scotland, Glen Eagles, in 2019. These are really prestigious events in the golfing calendar and we can help people go to those events and typically people like to build a trip around those events, so they’ll maybe attend the event and watch for one or two days and then for another two or three days they’ll play golf in the local area or just soak up the atmosphere and make a real trip out of it.
So we can put all the different elements together, the passes to the tournament, the accommodations, the golf that you may want to play on the courses in the area, the ground transportation getting you there, all that stuff we can put together. And also, we’re going to be adding more and more events to that list, so the Waste Management Phoenix Open, for example, is a really iconic event. I think it’s the most visited golf tournament in the world because of that sixteenth where they have about 25,000 fans, or right around there every day. And then the Players Championship at Sawgrass obviously, hugely iconic with that par-3 17th, so we’ll be adding those very shortly as well.
Tom Brassell: I know I’m dating myself, but when I was a young boy getting started in the game, the only way you could see the tour players was if you were lucky enough to live somewhere where there was a tour event. And now with Golfbreaks not only do you get that one-stop shop to go see these guys play and I recommend if you haven’t seen these guys play in the last three or four years, you really need to see them, ’cause they’re something else, but like you said, also combine that with a few rounds of golf in that area.
Daniel Grave: Absolutely. Yeah, it makes for a wonderful trip. It really does. Very exciting.
Tom Brassell: Well, Daniel, take us to the website usa.golfbreaks.com, is that correct?
Daniel Grave: Usa.golfbreaks.com, in fact, for a North American if you just type in golfbreaks.com, you’ll get sent to the North American site anyways, so golfbreaks.com is much easier and more simple to remember, so that’s what people just need to remember. Golfbreaks.com.
Tom Brassell: Outstanding. Daniel, thanks so much for joining us again this year. It’s been fun catching up with you. We need to do it again, but final words for our listeners from golfbreaks.com?
Daniel Grave: Yeah, please give us a try, guys. We are here to make your lives really easy. Like I said earlier, it’s all about offering great value and a wonderful service. So we’ll do all the work. We’ll do all the legwork for you and we’ll make sure we get you the best price as well. So give us a try. We’d love to help you make your golfing dreams come true.
Tom Brassell: Thank you, Daniel. Appreciate the time. Cheers.
Daniel Grave: Thank you, Tom. Bye-bye.
Tom Brassell: Golfbreaks.com, the preferred travel partner of Worldwide Golf Shops, not only taking you overseas and around the world but now offering domestic packages, also some early booking incentives, the Early Birdie incentive and also tournament packages so you can go watch some of the greatest players in the world play and then bring your clubs along and play some of the courses nearby as well. Check it out, usa.golfbreaks.com. Well, special thanks to Daniel Grave for joining us and to you, our listeners, too, and we’ll do it again next time when we have another episode of the Worldwide Golf Shops Insider Podcast, here at worldwidegolfshops.com. So long, everyone.