Monday, January 11, 2010

Chasing the wrong tail...

Last summer when the Canadian dollar was at about 84 cents there were hardly any American's visiting Canada let alone PEI and less taking up the temptation of playing Mill River because of the $800,000 spent on the Big Break. This year the Canadian dollar is nearly par with the US dollar and making it even more of a deterrent for our US neighbours to visit PEI... the likelihood that PEI will get its return on investment out of travellers coming from Texas, Florida or California is highly unlikely as airfare from any of these locations in our prime golf season is north of $1,400 per person because most of the airlines are already full... in contrast Islanders can get to those locations during the winters for about half the fare... a golf week from mid June to the end of August at Rodd's Crowbush Resort with golf, food, lodging and travel is in the neighbourhood of $4,250 per person for the week... in contrast between now and the end of April Islanders can golf in Florida or Texas at a comparable all inclusive PGA resort for $2,425 per person for the week... in fact here's a chance to play at peak times in the States for about $120 a night so it's pretty tough for PEI to compete with this... 15 years ago we were a bargain to the American market but with today's dollar value and border crossing issues I don't think this is now the case... my guess is there is probably 10 times as much opportunity to lure people here from a little closer to home like Quebec, Ontario or New England without spending as much money on marketing and we would probably get triple the results... seems like we're chasing the wrong tail....
P.E.I. aims to turn Big Break viewers to tourists
Monday, January 11, 2010
CBC News
Millions of people watched the Golf Channel's reality series Big Break Prince Edward Island, and the province is now starting the work of converting those viewers into tourists.
The 11-episode series, which ran last spring across North America, showcased P.E.I.'s Rodd Mill River golf course. More than 10 million TV sets tuned in, an average of just under one million viewers per episode, 20 per cent more viewers than the previous Big Break series set in Michigan.
While that's good news, said Brenda Gallant, director of marketing communications for the Department of Tourism, the work of attracting those people to P.E.I. is just beginning.
"This was an exercise in saying, Prince Edward Island needs to be recognized, needs to be known beyond the traditional markets we've been working with," said Gallant.
"The Golf Channel gave us that opportunity."
That opportunity came after the province handed the Golf Channel a cheque for $850,000, but that is far from the end of the revenue Golf Channel will earn. The Department of Tourism is now working with the Golf Channel on an advertising strategy to lure the viewers to visit P.E.I.
Some of the strongest interest as a result of the show came from the southern U.S., a region that currently brings fewer than 15,000 visitors a year to the Island.
"Texas, Florida and California really stood out," said Gallant.
"Those are the states that we did see a lot of inquiries as a result, inquiries for visitor guides."
Big Break Prince Edward Island will premier in Japan in March, and Gallant is eager to see what interest the show brings there.


Anonymous said...

The episodes of Big Break that I caught showed golfers wearing winter hats and gloves huddled together to keep warm. If they think people will come from Texas or California for that they need to reevaluate their strategy.

PEI continues to price itself out of the tourism market. Most operators have forgotten that visitors appreciate value: if the price paid is higher than the value recieved visitors will not be back.

Anonymous said...

Don't necessarily disagree with the $'ing identified and the logic behind your argument, Tim. A counterpoint however, is that not just Yankees, watch the Big Break. Us Canucks do as well.

So much like needing to travel from Cornwall via the the Confederation Center to get to the CGI bulding in Stratford via Charlottetown Transit.... it may be the cheapest option to reach Canadian Golfers.

Mark said...

With a new tourism minister coming on board perhaps a common sense approach might develop. We shall see.

Anonymous said...

Hey Tim Now you can stop complaining and get in with the new Tourism guy. He likely needs all the advice and help he can get. By the way Americans understand the "cold factor". Many of them that live in the south, have moved there to avoid the cold in the north..but they do have horrific heat in Aug. Sept and Oct.