Golf Isn’t the Only Game in Town | TravelResearchOnline


Golf Isn’t the Only Game in Town

Not too long ago Chuck Flagg discussed his experience as a hole-in-one sponsor at a local golf tournament. He covered some great information; and you know what? It does not have to be limited to hole-in-one contests.

For anyone who knows me, I don’t like to limit myself to the tried-and-true. Instead I look for ways to be different and stand out. Now don’t get me wrong, I love hole-in-one contests and will jump at the chance to sponsor one when the right tournament comes along. But not everyone golfs. And at best you’ll have a maximum of 144 golfers at a golf tournament, and if spouses attend the celebratory lunch (or dinner) and awards ceremony, you might top out around 300 participants total.

So I like to find ways to supplement the occasional hole-in-one sponsorship with other marketing opportunities. Here are a few that I have run across recently, and that I am contemplating:

Crack the Vault

This would work well for a consumer show where you would have a lot of foot traffic (depending on the theme or focus of the show). You choose the prize (and prize value) to be offered. Naturally a travel agency would likely focus on a nice vacation package as a prize. It could be a $10,000 cruise package for two, or a $25,000 all inclusive resort package for a family of four ($25,000 is the maximum value allowed). Once you pick the prize then you need to decide on the number of digits required for the code (between 3 and 8 digits), and how many total attempts will be allowed. The insurance company provides a secure “crack the vault” website in which all guesses must be entered. This would require that you have electricity, a laptop, and internet access available. Participants can only enter one guess each, and you are required to have two witnesses present for the duration of the contest (you can be one of the witnesses). If the right code is entered, that person wins the prize, and the insurance company pays for it.

Dice Roll

This can work in a large or small setting. You choose the number of dice which corresponds to the number of letters in the word you choose as the winning word. So if you choose CRUISE as the winning word, there would be 6 dice. The promotion can be done with 3, 4, 5, or 6 dice. You can even select the size of the dice, ranging in size from standard 1” casino dice on up to 6” foam dice. And like Crack the Vault, if someone wins, the insurance company covers the cost of the prize that you pre-determined.

Conditional Rebates

This one may be my favorite. We have a jewelry store in our area that does weather-conditional-rebates. It is fairly simple, buy a 1 carat diamond ring from them during a certain window of time, and then if it snows X number of inches of snow on Christmas Day, you get your money back.

Well, how about a sports conditional rebate? Pick a professional sports team – let’s say the LA Dodgers. You decide to have a promotion for 2 weeks in March. Every 7 night (no longer, no shorter) vacation or cruise package purchased and deposited during your booking window qualifies. If the Dodgers then win the World Series that Fall, those clients get their money refunded. But not to fear, you are not the one paying for the refund, the insurance company is.

Your Cost

Like hole-in-one contests, each of the above contests involves different factors in determining the cost. Crack the Vault and Dice Roll both involve the value of the prize as well as the number of attempts allowed and length of the winning code or word. A 6 digit code or word, $25,000 prize and 4,000 allowed attempts might cost you around $400. If someone wins then the commission you earn on that $25,000 trip will more than repay the $400 premium that you paid. But what if no one wins (the most likely outcome)? No prize is paid out, and no commission is earned on that prize. But the goal was to draw people into your booth (assuming a consumer show here), and build up your marketing list, and exposure to these people as new clients. Ask Chuck Flagg, in the years of doing hole-in-one contests, he’s never had a winner. But every year he raises money for Meals on Wheels (collecting donations at the hole in question), gets his business in front of new potential clients and adds new names to his mailing list.

The conditional rebate promotion is a bit different. The cost of the promotion insurance is based on the anticipated sales total (what the insurance company will be covering), the sport involved, and the specific team. A team with a strong history of winning the World Series will cost you more to insure than the team that has been dead last in the league for the last couple of years. And this promotion is tied to actual sales. They have to book with you to qualify. Each booking will result in a commission paid to you, which in theory could exceed the cost of the promotion insurance.

Not all promotions will work for every agent or in every event. The point is to think outside of the box, try new promotions, especially if other agencies in your area are not already doing something similar.

Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel ( located in Brentwood, Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers. Through their division Kick Butt Vacations ( she focuses on travel for young adults under 35. Susan can be reached by email at or by phone at (888) 221-1209.

  3 thoughts on “Golf Isn’t the Only Game in Town

  1. Kenya says:

    Great ideas I’ve never thought about Susan, thanks!

  2. John Frenaye says:

    Outstanding ideas Susan. A not of caution to everyone though–run this through your attorney as some of them may be considered a “game of chance” and be illegal in your jurisdiction or have different rules and requirements to run.

  3. John – good point about running things past an attorney – Crack the Vault and Dice Role do not require purchase, but the conditional rebate does – it’s always wise to run anything and everything past an attorney these days. 😉

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