North and West Coast Links Golf
Get advice on making the most of a tourism event with this personal account from John McLaughlin, General Manager at a successful golf tour business.
John McLaughlin, General Manager at North & West Coast Links Golf, shares his experience of getting the most out of an event.
“We have been involved in the international marketing of the West and Northwest of Ireland overseas for more than 20 years. We take part in approximately 20 to 25 promotional events each year, including Trade Shows, Consumer Shows, Golf Tour Events, Sales Calls to Operators and Media and various Workshops. We also bring in around 150 people per year on Familiarization Trips - these would include Golf Tour Operators, members of the Golf Media and Golf Professionals.
One of the most important things for us before we attend a show is preparation. Whether you are doing a show in the US, France or Germany, the key to making it work is trying to get appointments set up in advance. This will help ensure you get to meet the key people at the show.
As well as appointments, it’s important to have tailor-made packages or samples to give to clients. This will involve talking to the Fáilte Ireland/Tourism Ireland personnel in advance, to get an idea of what the market is looking for.
We do try to make the best possible use of our investment at each show and this normally means trying to cover as much ground as possible while we are there. This will involve breakfast meetings, lunches and business dinners. If you can have dinner with operators and media, then you stand a much better chance of delivering your sales pitch.
The next step is the follow-up. We all tend to come back to busy offices, but you have to put aside time for this crucial part of the process. Lastly, the most important thing to keep in mind is the relationship element. This business is about getting to know people and building good relationships based on trust and delivering on your promises. This means making the extra effort to attend those dinners, even after a long, busy day!”