Thursday, February 1, 2007
Focus On: Golfpac Travel
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Let’s concentrate on the latter. As one of the industry’s leading providers of golf vacations since 1975, Golfpac has sent more than 550,000 golfers to destinations, from Arizona’s desert to Spain’s Costa del Sol and dozens of destinations in between, including the Sandhills of North Carolina, the Old Course at St. Andrews, Scotland, and the burgeoning market in the Dominican Republic. All of these destinations and more are previewed in Golfpac Travel’s newly revamped Website, www.golfpactravel.com, which features new tools to help make getting started on a trip easier than ever.
For example, the Golfpac site contains the company’s Vacation Finder, a sign-up box for an online newsletter as well as an offer for its free 2006-2007 Golf Travel Guide brochure.
Want information on Arnold Palmer’s Bay Hill Club in Orlando or Donald Ross’s masterpiece Pinehurst No. 2 in North Carolina? Golfpac’s site has the 411. How about the TPC Stadium Course at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif., or Robert Trent Jones’ legendary Gold Course at Colonial Williamsburg? Golfpac has all one needs to know about those courses and where to stay, as well as a variety of stay-and-play packages that can fit almost any budget and golf handicap.
“We consider ourselves the gold standard of the golf travel industry as far as the service we provide and the technologies we provide our customers,” says Golfpac Travel President, Jeff Hamilton. Hamilton and a group of partners acquired Golfpac Travel, based in Orlando, in 1986 and over the past 20-plus years, have turned the business from $2 million in annual sales to more than $20 million in annual sales.
“We’re always being forced to step up to the plate and have innovative tools on the Website that others don’t have in order to make the job of the Group Leader easier,” says Hamilton. “We try to be as minimally invasive to the customer as we possibly can until he wants to provide us with information or wants us to provide a service. From that point, we build on the relationship and follow up.”
A Group Leader, in Golfpac vernacular, is the main man (or woman) in a group of golfers (say four or eight persons) who’s primarily responsible for coordinating a golf trip with a Golfpac travel professional. Golfpac employs 26 travel professionals, each of whom are experts in helping prepare a one-night golf getaway or a six-night “trip of a lifetime” experience.
“Most of the guys [who work with us] play golf and have been with us for years, so we have a wealth of knowledge,” says Hamilton. “We have people visiting golf courses and hotels a couple times per year. They travel before and after the season, negotiate rates and check out the quality of the product.”
And in case you meet a Golfpac travel professional, check for a Rolex watch. Hamilton gives a Rolex to each employee who has been with the company for at least 10 years. So far, he’s given out 10, with more in the wings.
“It’s a tribute to how we do things here,” Hamilton said.
The Golfpac travel professional is the first link in the chain that binds together the Group Leader and the traveling golf group.
“We have a great responsibility to provide the Group Leader with expectations so that he’s not going to have [group members] beating him up for having a bad time,” Hamilton says.
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