By Bill Giering
She seemed rushed when she asked for my drink order, not a smile to be found on her face.
“Give me what ever he is drinking”, as I pointed at the guy on the next stool. And that was when my lecture of the doomed future of golf travel business began. I probably shouldn’t have mentioned to the stranger that I was on my way to Mallorca, to the 2016 IGTM – International Golf Travel Market Conference – but he insisted on buying my drink…so I tried to be friendly, as I waited for my next flight.
I was soon to learn that the stranger was an expert on most every subject.
“The travel business will be just like the newspapers business, a long slow death. Technology is stealing travel customers and those travel experts don’t even know it.
Most travel sites are looked at by people that want to get excited about a locations and the thrill of going there. But, most of them never go.
Have you ever looked at Google Earth, Google Street View or Google Maps? They take you right where you want to go, and walk you right down the street so you can see everything. And still be sitting on your butt at home, didn’t cost a dime. Most travel website users never travel but they get a high level of excitement looking at the travel sites.
And golf? Heck you can play any golf course you want at the local indoor driving range, why travel there?”
I had to leave, the warm and cheap house Pino Grigio was as bitter as the lecture. I thanked him for his insight, and tried not to roll my eyes.
During my next flight, with the help of Google and my iPad, I did venture down the Colorado River on a raft, and swam off the Galapagos Islands. I also watched a feature about how my new car would drive itself by the end 2020. And took 3-4 golf lesson to improve my horrible putting by world renown experts.
No, no way, … he drinks cheap wine, what could that stranger know?… No way?
Technology could never replace the smell of freshly cut grass as you walk down a new fairway, or the smell of a salty sea breeze as you watch a brilliant sun set. It could never match the taste of an icy cold beer on the 19th hole, or the sound of laughter of your friends, or the warm feeling you get when a local resident smiles to let you know that we are all in this together, we are all the same.
For it is always the sounds, smells, tastes and sights that can touch and lift the human spirit.
As long as the golf travel industry remembers to appeal to all of our senses, we will all be just fine.