The Benefits of Using a Golf Packager for your next Golf Trip

There are golf package companies all around the world that offer services to help you plan and book your next golf trip. Many people already know the benefits of using a golf package company while others may not be as familiar with the ins and the outs and the pros and the cons.

How does a Golf Package Company Operate?

Many people don’t understand how a golf packaging company (GPC) works and how they can potentially save you money when booking a golf trip. A GPC negotiates what are called “wholesale rates” with golf courses and lodging facilities. This means that a course or hotel, for instance, will provide a set price to a golf package company that is less than the retail price that you, the consumer, would receive if you went directly to that facility.

So how does the GPC make money? The GPC typically will mark up their wholesale price by a certain percentage with the package price they offer to you still coming in less than retail. That is where they take their cut but you still receive significant savings. Here is a simple example:

Retail Price:

Lodging for 3 nights: $225

3 Rounds of Golf: $350

Total: $575

Wholesale Price (that you never see):

Lodging for 3 nights: $150

3 Rounds of Golf: $275

Total: $425

Package Price Offered to the Consumer: $510

The GPC makes $85 per person on this deal and the consumer receives a $65 savings. Remember, GPCs make your lodging reservations and book all your tee times for you. So their cut is for the service they provide in doing all the work for you plus they are still providing you with a savings that you could not get otherwise.

Which Golf Package Company Should You Use?

There are several different types of Golf Package Companies. I basically categorize them as follows:

  • Boutique golf packagers – small companies that specialize in specific areas or resorts
  • Regional golf packagers – moderate sized companies which focus on a specific region
  • Global golf packagers – larger companies that cover virtually any destination you want to go either in a particular country or worldwide

Boutique Golf Packagers: One may get more personalized service from a boutique operation. Often one deals directly with the owner of a boutique company as they tend to be 1-5 person operations. Boutiques can sometimes be more flexible with some of the services they offer or go “above and beyond” normal GPC services, such as set up dinner reservations for your group, get tickets to a local event, arrange local transportation, tell you where the best sports bar is, offer grocery service, and more. Their volume is not as great as larger companies so they can often “personalize” their services more toward your needs which can be a huge benefit. On the flip side, since their volume is not as much as some other companies, they may not receive the lowest wholesale rates because their negotiating strength in the numbers is not as great. But Boutiques, particularly if they are focused on a local area or region, also generally have more first-hand knowledge to course conditions and the type of courses that the consumer is being offered and can customize your package to meet the needs of your group. Additionally, Boutiques are typically not locked into specific lodging options so they may be able to offer condos, hotels, resorts, and houses to their clients.

Regional Golf Packagers: These package companies typically cover a region such as New England, The Carolinas, the Southwest, or one specific state, to name a few. They can often offer more alternatives and ideas for your golf trip if you are not set on a specific destination. Many times they can also provide more package alternatives within your price range if your group has a specific budget. Because they generally do more volume than Boutiques, they usually have more bargaining power with courses and lodging options in order to obtain better rates so you may save a few extra dollars.

If your group requires a lot of hand-holding and typically makes a lot of changes to your package (i.e. number of people, changing tee times, etc), a larger company may not be as flexible and accommodating to your needs or may charge you extra for changes that are made.

Global Golf Packagers: The two biggest benefits of using a Global company are options and price. Because they have “volume”, they, like Regionals can often secure better prices to work off of to create your package. And they have established relationships with more golf courses and lodging facilities so they can generally offer you more destinations and more options to you on an ongoing basis. If you like to go to different places every year but want the consistency of using the same company year after year, this is your best bet. You may be shifted to a “regional” person every year so you would not necessarily have the consistency of dealing with the same person every time, but if you like the way the company provides their quotes, books the package, accepts payments, and so forth, then this may be the prevailing factor.

Other Factors Affecting Your Golf Trip

Size of Your Group: Many GPCs offer discounts to Group Leaders who are arranging trips so you should inquire about this. Typically, the discounts begin with groups of 12 or more but each company has a different policy.

Package Price: Make sure you know what your package price includes so that you are not “surprised” with an additional bill at the end of your trip. Many companies include everything in their price (including lodging, greens fees, cart fees, taxes, service charges, housekeeping fees, etc) but others do not. It is often a strategy to not include some of the ancillary fees in the package price to make the cost seem more competitive or appear as the “low-cost” option.

Meals: If your package includes any meals, be clear as to whether or not it includes a tip or service charge for your server. If it does include a service charge, you are covered and need only leave an additional tip if the service was exceptional. If it does not include a service charge, please make sure to tip your server accordingly.

Procedures: If not provided when you book the package, ask the GPC to provide you with directions to where you are going and the procedures of checking in and out of where you are staying. Hotels typically have a 3:00 or 4:00 check-in and a 10:00 or 11:00 check-out. But condos and houses may be different and there also may be rules about what you are supposed to do with dirty sheets and towels and garbage. These are all important things to know before you take your trip.

Single vs. Double Occupancy: There is almost always an up-charge for single occupancy so if you have that member in your group that snores and no one wants to bunk with him, beware that his cost may differ accordingly. Additionally, if you book your trip initially where everyone is quoted a double occupancy rate and a person cancels, be aware that the price of either “his roommate” most likely will go up or the differential will need to be split among everyone in the group. The price of a condo or house doesn’t change whether there is one person or 6 people in it. The GPC still has to pay their full price for the condo or house regardless. That is why your group’s price may go up if one of your people cancels.

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