Spain’s premier website for travelling golfers is now officially an “adult”. Founded in 1995 in the Costa del Sol town of Fuengirola, when the internet was a long way off from becoming the phenomenon it is today, GolfinSpain reached its legal age in 2013. Over the past 18 years the portal has become an online pacesetter (leader in traffic for “golf in Spain” at an international level) and a reference point for the Spanish golf tour operator market.
A pioneering enterprise at the time, GolfinSpain was developed within the framework of a local PR and marketing company with “a technological restlessness and inquisitiveness”, according to founder José Luis Moya, who noticed a link between countries where the internet was more highly developed and where golf was most popular.
He recalls that, on presenting the project in 1995, many golf course managers were sceptical, arguing that “golf was very traditional and could never be sold online”. Fortunately for the innovative company, the reality was completely different and, since its launch, GolfinSpain has handled more than 250,000 green free reservations, hotel bookings, and transport and transfer arrangements for travelling golfers, both Spanish and international. The number of pages visited over the past 18 years is now over 28 million, involving as many as 1.2 million users, and the company currently has nearly 3,500 registered clients and total bookings since 1995 of €11 million.
Even though the project has received several awards and honourable mentions over the years, its management team stresses that it has always been a completely private initiative that “has not received direct support from any public authority, or any subsidies of any kind”, in spite of the handicap of having to operate and continuously innovate from a small municipality in southern Spain.
“When we began we had to connect with the internet via a conference call to a service provider in Zaragoza. Later, the advent of Infovia reduced our competitive disadvantage but, even though Málaga province is the ‘capital of Spanish golf’, innovating from our local base has always, sadly, been a disadvantage,” explains José Luis Moya.
The company initially came to international attention during the 1997 Ryder Cup at Valderrama, the first held outside the UK and the US. GolfinSpain was the only website at an international level selling packages for accommodation and entry tickets, as well as providing a resoundingly successful live broadcast from the event.
This was followed by two World Golf Championship-American Express events, six Volvo Masters and two Volvo World Matchplay Championships for which GolfinSpain was commissioned as a consultant for the marketing and management of advance ticket sales.
Coinciding with its anniversary, El Sur Existe S.L. – the brand’s parent company – is completing a major revamp of GolfinSpain’s corporate identity and image, and preparing to launch two innovative new projects that, among other objectives, aim to sell a wider range of international golf destinations – and compete with major international golf tour operators.
Original post reproduced with permission from ozinspain.com