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Buyer Comments

“This is my third NAC. I thought this year there was a great selection of suppliers and there were more of them. The product for me was more diverse and I was able to meet more people. My appointment schedule was full. I was specifically looking for new product and having the show on the West Coast made a big difference. We haven’t sold a lot of the West Coast before and the location was excellent. The strategic part of choosing the location for these shows is important. Getting it right can make a big difference to the area, and I think the choice of Palm Springs was great. It is an awesome destination. We haven’t included it before but it will definitely be packaged now for our clients.”

Murray Gardiner, Co-Owner and Managing Director, Giltedge Golf & Safari, South Africa

“This is my fourth NAC. For me there is no other way to meet with these people and golf courses; I would never have time to visit them all. So it is a great opportunity to meet all these people. After the meetings I had I will be including four new US states I didn’t have before and I will be offering more product in Florida, California, Arkansas and Wisconsin. We sold Palm Springs before but this has confirmed it as a good destination for French couples because it is high quality. It is exactly what we are looking for. We are talking about doing a New Year’s Eve event here in Palm Springs that we were not considering before, so this event has given me the possibility of preparing a new package to sell.”

Christophe Luneau, General Manager, Tee Off Travel, France

“This is my first NAC and it has been fantastic. I really enjoyed it. I saw everybody I wanted to see. There were a lot of people I talk to on the phone but hadn’t met so it was great to see them in person. I was looking for new destinations and as a result of this I am going to be adding new places like Whistling Straights in Wisconsin and Horseshoe Bay in Texas. We do Formula 1 packages and Horseshoe Bay is just half an hour from the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, so that’s a great opportunity. I will definitely be coming to NAC again next year. I went to Las Vegas on a pre fam and Palm Springs on a post fam. They were well organised and you are treated like a VIP all the way. The fam trips were great and I made one very good contact with an operator from France. We are talking about doing a pro-am between Canada and France.”

Stephane Tessier, Sales Representative, Sportvac Tours, Canada

“This was my first NAC. I was an IAGTO member years ago and re-joined last Fall. I am very happy. I hadn’t been out to this part of the country so this allowed me to meet with a lot of different resorts. Palm Springs is definitely a destination I am interested in bringing my clients to. With all the resorts and golf courses at the convention, it allowed me to network with a lot of people we can hopefully do business with in the future. I am hoping to add new destinations. Just through the fams and downtime at NAC I met with a couple of tour operators who we will be doing some business with in other countries. So just from networking it has been very beneficial.”

Scott Doane, Owner, Golf & Adventure Travel Expeditions, USA

“I have been to about five NACs and I have been to Palm Springs a few times. I do feature it already but I saw some new properties and golf courses this time. Desert Willow was a real discovery for me and I will be packaging that. I am planning to include some new destinations as a result of NAC. The Santa Barbara area wasn’t really on my radar but now that I know there are flights that make it easy to get to and the pricing is good, that is good to know. Smaller events like NAC and the Asia convention are a great idea and are very productive for me, and you have a great length of time for meetings.”

Amanda Shaw, CEO, T Times, Canada

“This was my first NAC but I have been to Palm Springs before. NAC was very useful. I expected the level of the suppliers and attendees to be good but it was much better than I had thought it would be. We were looking to add new destinations, new suppliers and potential partners with inbound tour operators we can work with. We need local partners in new markets because we are expanding rapidly and can’t do everything ourselves. We were offering four or five of the big destinations in the USA but on a smaller scale and we want to expand those. We are also looking at the corporate business sector around the cities and we are looking for more family-friendly destinations where golf is not necessarily the main driver. Places like Los Angeles and Phoenix. I was totally surprised by Colombia, Argentina and Mexico, especially Los Cabos and Cancun. I see them as having very good potential. Also Puerto Rico for the American and Norwegian markets, because they are starting to fly from Scandinavia in November. Pinehurst is going to be a very nice event next year. We want to sell more quality golf and it is nice to see such a well-known brand be so tour operator-friendly.”

Arne Vigstad, President and Director, 1Golf, UK

“This is my third NAC. I also went to Monterey and Biloxi. I have had very good meetings, talking to suppliers we have been working with and new destinations like Arizona. I think the potential with new suppliers is very good. I have never been to Palm Springs before. The destination is a very long way from Argentina because you have to make connections and it is not easy to sell for us. I think it’s a nice destination but I wouldn’t suggest coming this time of year because of the heat. My clients wouldn’t like it this hot. I am looking forward to Pinehurst for NAC next year. Pinehurst would make a good combination we would like to offer with the Masters.”

Guido Caserta, Corporate Golf Manager, WeGolf Argentina

“I have been to every NAC. It is very useful for me to come to. Also, I feel it improves every time. There are new suppliers every time. I was very impressed with Las Vegas and New York has potential. We have a huge amount of Dutch going to New York and now there are some hotels just two or three hours outside New York City on the New York Golf Trail where you can make a nice break in conjunction with the city. And we are going to make a special supplement with Mississippi for the golf and blues. I have never been to Palm Springs before and I was not aware of the heat. It was the strangest experience I have ever had; experiencing a 20C difference in a car drive of just over two hours, going from 23C in Carlsbad to 43C in Palm Springs. I think the quality of the golf is fantastic.”

Bert Van den Heuvel, Managing Director, time4golf, Netherlands

“This was my first time at NAC and in Palm Springs. We are launching a brand new golf programme this year and we are focusing purely on the US at the moment so NAC ticks all the boxes for us. It’s a great networking opportunity and a great chance to discuss ideas and new product. We will be adding West Coast product and more Florida product and we have made contact with more strategic long-term partners who we can work within a few years’ time. The pre-NAC fam in Las Vegas and post fam in Palm Springs have been excellent in terms of seeing product and I thought the format of the convention was excellent.”

Tim Crofts, Route Development Manager, Virgin Holidays, UK

Supplier Comments

“It’s very good, because of the combination of people I have met and worked with before and people who are new and expanding into Arizona, which is always positive. I think with the greater attendance you can see not only how the whole organization is growing but also how people are really starting to develop new programs and destinations, and their interest level in Scottsdale is very high. This is our fourth NAC and I think I have had more pre-scheduled appointments than at previous conventions.”

Sarah Kearney, Director of Tourism, Scottsdale Convention & Visitors Bureau, Arizona

"We had almost 30 appointments in two days. I realize already it would have been a big mistake not to come here. We have had very productive meetings with people from 15-20 countries. All of them were enthusiastic about a new destination within easy driving distance of New York City. The trail is five years old. We have 23 courses in six regions of New York State, with 20 hotels and inns. We make the tee time reservations and accommodation bookings; it really is a one-stop shop. We have done traditional golf shows but I think this will outstrip the results from any of those we have done. New York City is a starting point for people coming over here on a golf vacation with all the other amenities in the state. I think we are planting seeds here. Because we are an overseas destination for most IAGTO tour operator members, we are looking more to the long term for bookings. We are very impressed with IAGTO for organizing the convention and the opportunity to socialize with everyone, the hospitality of the IAGTO staff and everybody here. It has been very successful.”

Rod Christian, President, New York Golf Trail, New York State

“It’s a great networking opportunity to be able to meet with so many clients in such a productive business environment. That to me is crucial – to be in one spot and have business and social interaction. Having hosted the Ryder Cup in 2014, it is important for Gleneagles to continue to maintain our profile, especially within the golf industry. That is why we sponsored NAC; it’s a key opportunity for us to do that. It has been very productive meeting clients who are sending us business because we don’t necessarily have interaction with them on a day-to-day basis. It is a perfect opportunity to meet them to give them an update on what is happening at Gleneagles and also to receive feedback from them on their clients’ stays. I have had several new introductions and two or three good new enquiries that I will be following up on.”

Rachel Williamson, Gleneagles, Scotland

“For our third year attending the North America Convention, it has been very positive. To maintain presence continually at this event as a destination is crucial, particularly with the participation of Turespaña [Spanish Tourist Board] and the Costa del Sol as the main golf destination in the region. We can’t just market Andalucía in the USA. We have to market Spain and then get them to come to Andalucía. We have noticed there are now more North American tour operators offering Spain and Andalucía as a destination. If we can deliver the packages they need for this market, we will do well.”

Manuel Ortega, Golf Manager, Andalucía Tourist Board, Spain

“This is my second NAC. We have got a big story to tell at the moment with all our renovations and it is a good communication platform for us. Palm Springs is a great destination and the service at the [JW Marriott] hotel has been fantastic. It has been worthwhile attending and the speed-dating session was very good.”

Stephen Warner, Director of Sales and Marketing, Trump Turnberry Resort, Scotland

“This was my first NAC show. I thought the appointments were productive. The positives were that I met a lot of new people. Obviously people know Monterey for Pebble Beach, but there are a number of courses they are unfamiliar with and I was able to help them with those. We are focusing on China, Canada and Mexico a lot, and I felt I was able to make significant and meaningful connections with those markets, which was very good in terms of our budgets and priorities for next year. We co-sponsored NAC this year and I am definitely planning to come back next year.”

David Carter, Leisure Sales Executive, Monterey County Convention & Visitors Bureau, California, USA

“There was a higher quality of meetings and interest than last year. That might be because we have been coming to NAC for three years and established ourselves and we are not a new face any more. This year is the 50th anniversary of two of our three courses so it is a big year for us. We saw quite a few people we had not seen before, especially from Germany and Colombia. I saw a lot more from Germany and we have got some positive leads. A few people had not been to the property since our renovation and they seem to have renewed interest now. We will be at NAC in 2016.”

Cameron Kaplan, Director of Marketing, The Wigwam, Arizona, USA

“The event is very good for us. This is the third year we have come to NAC and now people are asking what has happened since last year. We have made very good connections and it has been a great opportunity to show people why Colombia is a very good golf destination for visitors from all round the world. We have had three of our tour operators working with us at NAC and we are very happy because people are showing a lot of interest. It has been a very good event for the level and quality of tour operators. We have had a lot of leads from people who want to have packages to Colombia, including from new countries like South Africa, Australia, the UK and India. It is not only for Colombia; they are looking for some different destinations in South America.”

Gloria Illidge, Tourism Specialist, ProColombia, Colombia

“This was my second NAC and it was a good show. Memphis is definitely going to be doing at least two shows with IAGTO every year. The concept of combining Memphis, Mississippi and Louisiana for golf and blues is definitely working. I have had excellent meetings and I have had some very good interest for 2016 and actual dates from a couple of golf tour operators, and that makes me feel good.”

Lisa Catron, National Sales Manager, Memphis Convention & Visitors Bureau, Tennessee, USA