Resorts Report Increase in Golf Meetings, Survey Shows

After a prolonged period of decline brought on by the AIG effect in 2008, and the economic downturn in 2009 and 2010, golf resorts are once again seeing an increase in group business, finds a new survey from meetings industry research firm The Knowland Group.

Released last week, the survey of U.S. golf resorts showed that while 45 percent of them saw a drastic reduction in bookings over the last two years, 62 percent said that golf bookings are now on the rise.

"The highly vocal negative perception of golf events has finally started to fade," said Knowland CEO Michael K. McKean. "Resorts can once again be proactive in pursuing corporate, government and SMERF business by offering golf packages as an added amenity."

To stimulate business during the recession, Knowland said 4 percent of golf resorts have removed words such as "spa" and "resort" from their name, 28 percent have launched new ad campaigns, 31 percent have offered alternatives to golf packages and 37 percent have used other methods, such as slashing rates.

Among directors of sales at golf resorts, 74 percent said they think golf bookings will increase in 2011 — although 75 percent now offer other recreational activities besides golf as a means of diversification.