Fairways of the World was started by Paul in 2019 – initially selling a global portfolio of golf holidays.
However it did not take long to realise that we were really good at putting together trips for golfing groups and that groups from the UK typically wanted to visit a smaller portfolio of destinations.
Everything that we do is about offering our clients the best possible prices for their golf trip.
Whilst we go into a lot of detail below about what we do (and don’t do) – we do so to help clients understand how we can offer such attractive wholesale rates and to ensure clients have no surprises.
So we focused on building the best portfolio of golf destinations specifically for Groups. Our research led us to identify that the key elements required were
- A minimum of 4 different golf courses that could be played on any trip all within a 30 minute transfer time of the accommodation
- At least one ‘marquee’ course in the destination
- A choice of accommodation options – value for money, luxury, golf resort, spa resort, town / city centre, all inclusive, self catering, bed & breakfast, all inclusive, hotel, apartment, villa – so in each destination we have attempted to contract with as many different options as possible.
- Great Value for Money – probably our most important point of difference – because we only sell group travel and act as a wholesaler we require fewer overheads meaning that we can work on lower margins and pass savings on to our customers – more information about what we do (and just as importantly don’t do is below)
- NO compromise on service – we will never compromise on doing everything that we can to ensure that any golf trip booked through us goes without a hitch and meets our customers expectations.
To keep our overheads as low as possible we are very transparent about what services we offer (and unlike others do not offer) to our clients.
- Following an enquiry we will prepare a detailed quotation which we are happy to amend if required until such time that it fully meets our clients requirements.
- Once our quotation is accepted we will confirm all of the details with our accommodation, golf course and transfer partners. Once we have received all confirmations we will issue a confirmation invoice to the lead client.
- We offer a low deposit option – usually just £30 per person secures a booking. This deposit is non refundable unless our Covid 19 guarantee (see below) is triggered. On occasions our hotel / golf course partners will offer a special deal which requires a higher deposit – we will always be transparent at the time of quoting if such a deal is being used in our quote.
- We will negotiate with our golf course partners to secure tee times as close as possible to each of our clients requirements. Whilst we have some ‘clout’ clients should be aware that the earlier a booking is made the more chance there is of securing prime tee times – please remember that trying to get a group of 20 golfers requiring 5 tee times out at 11.00 am is our most popular request – and each course obviously only one slot per day available ! The confirmation invoice will identify the tee times that have been secured.
- The confirmation invoice will identify when balance payments fall due – this is typically 45 – 60 days prior to travel. A reminder will be sent to the lead client 7 days prior to the balance payment falling due.
- We operate with a leading foreign currency transaction house meaning that we can secure better foreign currency exchange rates when making payments to our overseas partners – we pass these benefits on to our clients.
- In some countries (Eg Turkey) we work with a local DMC (Destination Management Company) who act as a local services representative and are also usually our transfer partner.
So where do make savings to enable us to operate with our wholesale pricing ?
- Firstly by only selling to groups and selling a limited portfolio of destinations we need less overhead to maintain our contracts, maintain our price files, maintain our website and respond to customer enquiries.
- Because we handle fewer enquiries we do not need the high cost of a call centre, in fact we do not operate an office at all. We operate from home, picking up enquiries as they come into us but always responding with a quotation within 24 hours (unless we do not check anything with one of our overseas partners before responding).
- We do not accept payments from each individual member of the group (we know that other operators do and if that is important to you we fully understand that you will book elsewhere). We think that it is fair that in order to get the great wholesale price discounts that we offer the group organiser should accept responsibility for this (hence why the organiser might want to take some of the saving for themselves !)
- We do not accept payment by debit or credit card. All payments have to be made by the group organiser by bacs transfer directly into our bank account. Remember when travel companies used to offer the option to by credit or debit card but would charge a supplement for doing so – well that is not allowed any longer – but the credit card provider still charges the same 2 – 2.5% fee to tour operators. So by not offering this service we pass that saving on to our clients.
So is your money safe ?
- In short yes !. Unlike most other tour operators we do not use clients money to fund our own day to day activities – we don’t need to with our low overhead base. Put simply if we do not sell anything we do not earn anything !
- Any money paid to us is held on trust in our bank account until such time that we make the payment to our overseas partners. We do not even recognise our margin as our own until such time that our clients have returned form their trip.
- We would love to be able to avoid the cost of ‘bonding’ to pass this saving on through our wholesale rates. However we understand that anyone could say what we have stated above and then fraudulently use clients money so clients who do not know us need some re-assurance. We are not a fan of ABTA (if we had any doubt about our views on ABTA their response to the Covid 19 crisis demonstrated that their primary role is to protect the trade not the consumer). So we have invested in an insurance product which fully satisfies the requirements of the Packaged Travel Regulations and protects clients funds in the event of the financial failure of any party – please ask for details if required.
- We do not sell flights. Most of our destinations are served by the so called low cost airlines. Such airlines do not pay tour operator commission so we would need additional overhead to manage flight bookings but with no additional margin meaning we would have to increase our wholesale rates. In addition selling flight inclusive packages would require us to hold an ATOL (Air Tour Operators License) which would be another cost that would have to be covered by increased wholesale rates.
- We share any currency risk – When we quote we will quote in £ Sterling but will also identify at what exchange rate the quote is based on. However clients will appreciate that this quote is prepared, often, several months before the balance payment is due, during which time there could be a significant movement either way in the exchange rate. We do not see ourselves as currency investors and therefore do not hedge future currency payments which would carry a cost. Instead we pass the savings on in our wholesale rates to clients and offer clients the following
- When quoting we identify the rate at which the quote is prepared
- When the balance payment falls due will review the exchange rate – if the rate is +/- 2% of the rate used to quote we will take the risk / benefit of this. However if the rate has moved by more than +/- 2% the trip will be recosted. If the rate is moved against us the client will pay more than the original quote. However, to be fair, if the rate has moved to our advantage the client will pay less than the original quote. The fact is that most tour operators will include a similar clause to this hidden in their T&C’s – we just prefer to be very transparent about how we manage currency.
- At any point in time between the booking being confirmed and the balance payment being required the client has the option of paying in full (or making an interim payment). In this case funds will be converted into the relevant currency at the exchange rate applicable the day following the cleared funds being received by us
- In the event that there has been such an adverse currency movement that the client is not prepared to pay the required balance and wishes to cancel they can do so at any point before the balance payment falls due. In such event the client will only lose the deposit paid.
Of course our primary aim is to offer clients the best possible deals and we are confident that we will not be beaten on price by any other bona fide UK based golf break tour operator. Our business model is based on keeping our overheads as low as possible meaning that we can pass savings on to our clients. Feel free to ask us to quote against any other offer.
The real value of this new business model approach came to the fore in the Covid-19 pandemic crisis. Whilst the likes of ABTA and its members were lobbying government to retrospectively change the law to enable its members to issue credit notes rather than cash refunds we refunded 100% of our clients in full within 7 days of cancellation.
We also operate a very transparent cancellation policy, firstly recognising that plans do change from time to time and secondly to ensure that we are able to offer clients as much flexibility as possible in the event of extraordinary circumstances such as the Covid-19 pandemic.
- If, after booking, a trip is cancelled because of travel restrictions imposed by either the UK government or the government of the destination country clients are entitled to a full refund unless advised otherwise by our golf course / hotel partners. If any of our golf course / hotel partners operate a different cancellation policy we will advise you before any payments are made.
- If the clients funds are still held in trust by us that refund will be paid within 7 working days.
- If the clients funds are held by our supplier the refund will be paid within 7 days of us receiving funds back from the supplier.
- If, after booking, the client decides to cancel the trip for any reason other than stated above the client will only forfeit the deposit paid providing that the balance has not yet been paid. If the balance has been paid the cancellation policy of each of our suppliers will be relevant. This can be made available to clients on request either at the time of booking or at the time of paying the balance.
The only exceptions will be for occasions where a special deal offered by any of our suppliers requires payment in full at the time of booking. In these circumstances we will always advise clients that this is the case prior to the booking being confirmed and will advise clients of the cancellation conditions imposed by the supplier.