When to Sell, What to Say
Now is not the time for the Tourism industry (including golf) to sell. Messages of hope, resilience and social responsibility trump messages about products, promotions and sales. Even for golf courses that are open, the messages are about social distancing and being grateful to be out on the links, not promotional. But there will be a time when businesses are open and ready to welcome customers. Are you planing your marketing for this time?

Various Tourism organizations have put forward statements and action plans for how they plan to proceed and what they will do to help. We have been following Destination BC and Travel Alberta’s responses to help shape our marketing plans for the golf courses that we work with.

Destination BC
Destination BC has posted a 3-step approach which includes postponing marketing for now. We take this to mean saving marketing dollars now, for a big ‘push’ later. They have laid out their plan as Response, Recovery, Resilience. Here is a summary of the points:

1. Response
Postpone marketing aspects until conditions are better understood. Only continue organic marketing during this time – social and search – which will inspire future travel. Continue to monitor market conditions.

2. Recovery
Once domestic travel is again considered safe and encouraged, launch a major domestic marketing program encouraging British Columbians to travel in BC this summer (as appropriate) and long into the fall. Re-allocate a significant investment into this effort.

3, Resilience
Once truly through the other side of this crisis, resume domestic and international marketing, encouraging the collective tourism ecosystem to rally behind core iconic themes.

Travel Alberta
While the Travel Alberta plan is not as well laid out, it is basically the same. Travel Alberta continues to support the provincial government’s “Stay Home. Stay Safe” message. Travel Alberta has paused marketing efforts but continues to provide updates to the industry.

Appropriate Messaging
Destination BC has suggested the following messaging for stakeholder associations and businesses:

~ Follow health advisories and encourage people to travel later.
~ Help guests re-book their vacations for later this year.
~ Proactively share cancellation and re-booking policies.
~ Share the latest industry news with partners.

And use of the hashtags: #exploreBClater #stayhome #stayhomesavelives #stopthespread #plankthespread

For golf courses that are closed we have seen the hashtags #golfBClater and #playgolflater used.

For golf courses that are open the key message is to respect social distancing.

Read Destination BC’s Marketing Plan

Read Destination BC’s Messaging Guide

Future Marketing
While all businesses are looking for ways to reduce expenses to match their reductions in revenue marketing dollars will be needed in the future. Marketing plans are usually the first to get cut but these dollars will be needed to get the message out when travel and golf are both 100% safe, back to normal (maybe a new normal) and encouraged.


We, Jeff and Tara Ciecko of CK Golf write two blogs, one is our 19th Hole Blog where we share personal experiences and the other an Industry Blog where we comment on general business and internet marketing best practices, sales strategies and give golf industry related opinions. We have owned CK Golf  for 12 years and provide business services to the golf and other industries. As of July 31, 2016 our life and our business became ‘location independent’. Our 19th Hole Blog is about the places we visit and the things we do. If you have any questions or comments, or happen to be in the same location as us please reach out and contact us anytime.