With the promise of economic recovery in full swing, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts is anticipating a strong summer golf season across its 15 golf properties. And, while traditional golf “buddy trips” are still going strong, the luxury hotel & resort company is expecting the biggest increases in golf rounds to come from golfers traveling with their families and couples traveling together.
“Traditional buddy trips in which groups of friends travel together to play golf have remained strong and we are seeing growing interest in golf from our corporate groups,” said Justin Wood, executive director of golf & retail for Fairmont Hotels & Resorts. “However, this summer we are expecting significantly more golf participation among families and couples enjoying our properties.”
In fact, the recent 2012 Virtuoso Luxe Report, a leading indicator of luxury travel trends, reported three of the most important travel trends for 2012 were “family and multi-generational travel” (No. 1) and “active travel” (No. 3).
Kyle Caitano, head golf professional Zimbali Country Club, a Fairmont-managed golf property in South Africa, agrees with these findings and says the trends reflect the importance of family and the active lifestyle of Fairmont’s guests.
“Our golf property serves guests at both Fairmont Zimbali Resort (fairmont.com/zimbaliresort) and Fairmont Zimbali Lodge (fairmont.com/zimbalilodge) …in addition to our own membership. We have definitely seen an increased emphasis on healthy, active lifestyles and quality family time,” said Caitano. “Obviously golf is a very important component, but more and more our guest are spending time in the gym, at the spa or other activities that add to the enjoyment of their visits.”
In response, many Fairmont properties are reworking their golf package offerings or golf programming to better accommodate active couples and families.
For example, The Fairmont Kea Lani on Maui has developed its Wailea Golf and Spa package specifically to cater to the interests of couples. The package is priced from $759 per night, plus tax, and includes:
· Accommodations in a one-bedroom suite or villa for a minimum of four nights
· Buffet breakfast each morning
· Two rounds of golf at neighboring Wailea Golf Club (including complimentary ground transportation)
· Two 50-minute spa treatments (choice of Lomilomi or Hawaiian Salt Scrub)
· One three-course dinner at Kō, The Fairmont Kea Lani’s signature restaurant
Recognizing that couples often don’t share a passion for golf, other properties, such as The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn in California, offer packages that allow each person to enjoy different aspects of the resort. The Spa Tees Package at The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn starts at $429 per night, double occupancy and provides:
· Luxury accommodations
· One round of golf at neighboring Sonoma Golf Club
· One 60-minute spa treatment
· Two complimentary cocktails in the Lobby Bar
Likewise, in keeping with the trend toward more active lifestyles and a more pro-active approach to overall health, nearly all of Fairmont’s golf properties offer a spa component specifically designed for golfers. For example, the esteemed The Fairmont St Andrews in St Andrews, Scotland has cooperated Pure Lochside, a leading Scottish company specializing in natural and organic skin products, and a golf bio-mechanical specialist to create the St Andrews Golfer’s Treatment, available at The Spa at Fairmont St Andrews. The Golfer’s Treatment is designed to stretch and soothe a golfer’s muscles with proprietary anti-inflammatory blends, expertly massaged into the body. The invigorating treatment serves to loosen muscles and help golfers retain posture and control during the golf swing.
With added emphasis placed on family-oriented travel, many Fairmont properties also are looking at unique ways to introduce golf to every member of the family.
“Summer vacation is the perfect opportunity to introduce children and other family members to golf,” said Gregg Lown, director of golf at The Fairmont Chateau Whistler in British Columbia. “People are relaxed and out of their daily routine. The environment is ripe for sharing a new experience…especially one that allows you to spend time together in a beautiful setting like Whistler.”
UNLIMITED WHISTLER GOLF PACKAGE— To further such an opportunity, The Fairmont Sonoma Chateau Whistler is offering the Unlimited Whistler Golf Package this summer. With rates starting at $169 CAD per person, per night based upon double occupancy, the package provides:
· Unlimited golf per adult…on the same day following paid round
· Free golf for children under 16 when playing with a paying adult
· Unlimited use of the practice facility on day of play
Other properties, such as The Fairmont Southampton in Bermuda and The Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello in Quebec have created other unique opportunities for guests to enjoy the game of golf.
GOLF UNDER THE STARS— At The Fairmont Southampton, home to one of the world’s top-rated par-3 golf courses, guests can enjoy playing golf under the stars on Thursday evenings in the summer. The golf greens are lit and players use glow-in-the-dark golf balls that stay illuminated for 10 minutes after being struck. The program is excellent for families according to Anthony Mocklow, director of golf for Fairmont Southampton, as it allows them to spend the daylight hours enjoying the beach and other attractions in Bermuda, and it introduces non-golfers to the game in a way that is fun and non-traditional.
“It’s definitely a good time,” said Mocklow. “Because it is a little different, the guests tend to relax a bit. They don’t worry as much about their score and just enjoy the experience. That’s ideal for a first time player or someone new to the game.”
FREE GOLF CLINICS— At Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello, the golf staff provides free golf clinics three times a week throughout the summer. The clinics are designed to introduce players to the game, make it less intimidating and more enjoyable.
“The clinics have become a tradition at Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello,” said Sylvain Courcelles, director of golf at Fairmont Le Chateau Montebello. “They are quite popular with families. By sharing the experience together, it becomes more likely that they will continue to do so once they return home. Hopefully, they also will look forward to playing golf with us again upon their return.”