My fellow golf travelers, why lie? The golf travel business is in the dumper. Occupancy is down. Rounds played are down. Revenues are down…
What is extremely troubling to me is the decline of the corporate market, which is such a large part of golf travel revenues. I write frequently for the corporate and incentive market and all I hear is nothing but gloom and doom. Corporations are now afraid of the golf course, so to speak. Afraid they’ll be labeled as wasteful and uncaring spenders during tough economic times. From the AIG fiasco last year at a golf and spa resort in California to President Obama lambasting destinations like Las Vegas, the corporate market is taking more hits than Rocky Balboa. Incidentally, that resort AIG had booked, the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort, was foreclosed upon by one of its lenders.
How bad is it?
Some resort operators are so scared of the perception problem that they’re dropping the word “resort” from their names. Among those who’ve dropped that oh so perceptively bad “resort” from their official names are Westin Stonebriar Hotel in Dallas, Loews Lake Las Vegas, Loews Ventana Canyon in Tucson, Loews Coronado Bay and Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Everybody is paranoid these days. Now, event planners have to worry about arranging too good of a time for their clients. This is loony.
Adding to all the negative vibes corporations are experiencing with meeting and conventions are increased airline baggage fees, fewer flights, airport security hassles and a general malaise that the economy is not improving and you better horde a few bucks.
Wake me up, when this nightmare is over.