Case Study: How to host a tournament for long-term success

By Emily Kay 7 years ago

Hosting a European Tour, Senior Tour or Challenge Tour tournament represents a significant strategic decision for any destination. While the global awareness and reputational benefits of TV and media coverage are apparent, some venues will be targeting specific commercial objectives, including driving resort bookings or property sales. At Albatross Golf Resort in Prague, which has hosted the D+D Real Czech Masters since 2014, what started as a broad awareness strategy has now developed into an increasingly targeted approach.

Establishing a destination

“Starting out, hosting the tournament was about putting the Czech Republic on the map as a golf destination for tourists,” explains Stan Lisner, General Manager of Albatross Golf Resort. “The most effective way to deliver that message was through hosting the Czech Masters, where TV viewers in Europe and beyond can see exactly what golf in the Czech Republic is all about.

“Back in the 1990s there were only four golf courses in the Czech Republic. Now there are more than 100, but despite this rapid growth, many tourists thought Prague was a great place to visit for a city break, but nothing more. So we needed to show – and continue to show – there is more to Prague and the Czech Republic.”

An important aspect of the strategy involved establishing Albatross Golf Resort as a credible tournament host in its own right.

Earning a reputation

Stan Lisner continues: “The inaugural tournament in 2014 was a vital one in establishing Albatross Golf Resort’s reputation as a tournament host. It was important people saw the course provide a real challenge to the world’s leading golfers, and, when European Tour players rated it among the top five best conditioned courses on Tour, perceptions began to change. Becoming a member of the European Tour Properties network has elevated our status further, adding an essential layer of credibility to the resort and how we do things.

“We have had to prove that we are a world class golf destination that can offer the memorable European Tour quality experience golfers are looking for, and I believe we have achieved this.”

But has the investment of hosting a tournament resulted in returns for the destination – and how has this been achieved?

A strategic approach

Albatross Golf Resort has learned to be strategic with the D+D Real Czech Masters to achieve its objectives for inbound tourism, explains Stan: “We quickly realised the players we attract to the tournament are extremely important. In the past, when we have had Swedish players compete, like Robert Karlsson, we’ve noticed an increase in the number of Swedish golfers visiting Albatross.

“They want to play the same course as their stars play. So now this is something for us to think very clearly about in relation to the tournament. Who are our target markets? And can we secure players who will help us attract golfers from that country or region?

“This year, we identified Germany as an important target market. So, we realised it would be important for us to get a high-profile German golfer here. The tournament promoter managed to secure two-time major winner Martin Kaymer to play and we think that could make a significant difference to us and the number of German golfers we can attract.”

Measurable results

With increased awareness and an established reputation, what have been the business results?

“Since hosting the tournament in 2014, we’ve increased our membership, the number of corporate days and inbound tourism to Albatross,” says Stan. “Clearly, the tournament has been an important element of this.

“As for tourism, which was our original objective, now it’s a case of looking at times of the year when we are quieter than others and being strategic about the markets we target.”

• The D+D Real Czech Masters takes place at Albatross Golf Resort, Prague, August 31 to September 3, 2017.

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