90 days into his role as Co-Head of European Tour Destinations, Stuart Gillett takes a step back to reflect on his first three months – the people he has met, the venues he has visited, and the opportunities he sees for the future of this network of world class destinations.
Tell us about your first 90 days: what have you learned, who have you met, what has inspired you?
It’s been a great first three months in the new role. Getting to know the team here at the Tour, having the opportunity to travel and meet the talented people from many of our world class destinations – it’s been an exciting journey so far.
One thing that has really struck me is the sheer variety of venues that are part of this network, and the range of experiences they offer. It’s both a thrill and a challenge to be able to understand and support all these different operations.
What has really inspired me, though, is how passionate everyone is about
the game of golf. It’s wonderful to be part of a
group that is driven by growing the sport, as well as delivering the most
exceptional golf experience at every single venue.
What do you believe is the most powerful benefit of being part of a network like this?
There is so much the network can do for its members, from training opportunities informed by our Mystery Shopper programme, to fostering valuable relationships with Tour Operators through our exclusive events, to providing expert advice and sharing best practice amongst our venues. The list goes on.
However, what really makes European Tour Destinations unique is all in the name – it’s that relationship with The European Tour. The standard of quality the brand represents, its global reach, and the opportunity to host tournaments – it’s such a compelling offering and one we are keen to develop even further.
What opportunities do you see for the network going forward?
The team here works incredibly hard to add value to each of our member venues, and there are plenty of opportunities for us to build on that. One great example is our new Travel Hub website, which gives us a mechanism to help drive direct sales to our Destinations, just two clicks away from the European Tour homepage.
I think there is plenty of scope for the network to grow too. The European Tour continues to expand its reach to new regions and territories, and this will open up opportunities for venues in these regions to become part of the network.
We have already witnessed the direct commercial impact from a robust network of venues too. As well as sharing ideas and knowledge, venues are collaborating in a number of ways, such as arranging trips for groups of members to go and play other Destinations. This not only adds value to the experience they offer to members, it also paves the way for more commercial collaborations, such as joint golf travel packages and so on.
As the network adds new venues this brings with it new ideas, new markets, and new opportunities to collaborate, which is very exciting.
What do you hope to bring to European Tour Destinations?
Well, there’s a lot I hope to bring to the table, commercially, strategically, and across many other areas of the business. But I think that word “experience” is key.
In my last role, our whole operation was driven by the ethos of delivering an unforgettable and customer-driven experience.
It’s something that the team and I are both very passionate about, so I hope I can add to the wealth of knowledge that exists here already and help venues to think creatively and strategically about creating the world’s greatest golf experiences.
This often doesn’t require a huge investment. I have learned first-hand how small changes throughout your operation can make a huge difference in the overall experience you deliver.
you already beginning to form a vision of where the network could be in, say, 5
In reality, it is early days for me here, and I am still looking to learn and understand our network rather than prescribe its future.
What I have noticed, however, is that golf has truly become a global sport. And with the reach of The European Tour, there are so many places around the world that could and should be represented by this network.
Of course, it needs to be the right venues. The European Tour speaks of quality, and our venues have to mirror that quality, not just in their facilities, but in the whole experience they offer.
It’s not all about growth, either. It’s about improving and developing the operations of our current members, inspiring them to be at the top of their game, to be the global leaders in their field.
Part of the way we can do this is to capture the spirit of innovation that is at the heart of The European Tour today. We can challenge our venues to innovate and be different, to set themselves apart from other golf destinations with a unique and exciting offering.
That’s the kind of vision I hope to inspire in our Destinations.