The Celtic Manor plans to cash in on the huge success of the Ryder Cup with
a massive marketing campaign designed to tempt golfers into sampling the course that provided the setting for Europe’s thrilling victory.
The campaign, mainly focusing on affluent London commuters, will form a key element of the venue’s attempts to ensure it makes the most of the global profile it has enjoyed before a TV audience of 620 million.
The early signs suggest golfers were champing at the bit to take on the Newport course where Graeme McDowell sealed the victory for Europe over America on Monday.
Visitors and members’ slots were filled on the course yesterday with up to
150 golfers enjoying a round at the venue that had been closed for the past month because of the Ryder Cup.
Among those playing at the five-star hotel’s course were international
members and visitors after a patrons and sponsors’ golf day that had been due to take place on Monday was cancelled when the event went beyond its three-day schedule.
The Celtic Manor’s marketing director Gareth Rees Jones said: “We’ll be
running a campaign shortly on the London Underground which will be around the theme of: ‘Treat yourself to your own Ryder Cup experience’, so people can come and experience the course and the same facilities that the players experienced.”
The tourism arm of the Assembly Government, Visit Wales, yesterday sought
to ensure it makes the most of the spotlight to boost visitor numbers.
A full-page ad in several London-based newspapers read: “What a result! Everyone got to spend an extra day in Wales.
“Congratulations to the European Ryder Cup team from Wales. All 2,903,085
Finance experts from consultancy firm Deloitte said Wales must act quickly to capitalise on the legacy of staging the world’s third largest sporting event.
Senior consultants Richard Parks and Jake Wilson said a crucial challenge is to ensure repeat business from the thousands of overseas visitors who attended.
The pair authored a report on how the 2006 Ryder Cup in Ireland pumped a record 143m into the economy.
The wider knock-on effect of the golf tournament is estimated to have generated spending of 240m across Ireland.
Mr Parks said: “One key challenge is to try to ensure repeat business for Wales, either for sports events or on a pure leisure visit.”
Mr Wilson added: “They need to be doing this now and striking while the iron
is hot because there’s a window in terms of chasing up those individuals who had never before been over and visited Wales.”
Sir Terry Matthews, owner of the Celtic Manor Resort, has said the Ryder
Cup will bring Wales an immediate boost of £70m.
Some previous Ryder Cup hosts have generated an economic impact of between £44m and £62m, according to research by Sports Marketing Surveys.
The Assembly Government pumped up to £22m in public money into staging
the event by financing the redevelopment of Newport railway station.
Julian Burrell, of the Wales Tourism Alliance, stressed investment must now be made available for marketing to ensure the impression left on the millions watching on TV and the thousands who witnessed Monday’s drama first hand is not fleeting.
He said: “The Assembly Government has invested a lot of money, but you
can’t just sit back and you’ve got to make sure there is sufficient funding to build on it.”
A spokesperson for the Assembly Government said there was a marketing budget for major events of £9m in 2010-11 and the funds available for the following year will remain competitive to take full advantage of the Ryder Cup.
Mr Burrell said one key change the competition’s organisers Ryder Cup Ltd may want to consider for the 2012 event in Medinah, near Chicago, is whether to compensate spectators when play is rained off.
Mr Rees Jones said fans who bought tickets for the Friday when play was largely rained off have been offered free entry to the Wales Open next June.
Direct compensation would be a matter for the competition’s organisers Ryder Cup Ltd to consider, he said.