SBJ/20100913/This Weeks Issue

Chalet sales brisk for 2011 PGA

The 2011 PGA Championship has nearly sold out its hospitality space and is looking to other areas of the Atlanta Athletic Club for new inventory.

The tournament hit the streets with its hospitality sales in October 2009 and 33 of the 35 units have been sold, according to Ryan Cannon, the PGA of America’s championship director.

Hospitality packages begin at $90,000 for the week and go up to $300,000. All 20 of the largest chalets, which hold 50 to 100 people, have commitments, while 13 of the 15 other units are sold. Some of the units have been reserved by single companies, and others are a mix of companies with smaller groups.

Response has been good from several categories, including consumer products, industrial equipment and financial services. Mercedes-Benz, Pepsi and RBC are among the national buyers of hospitality, the PGA said.

The PGA is looking to add to its inventory by about 25 percent, or an additional eight to 10 units around the golf course, and those areas will be identified in the next six weeks. That would bring the number of units to about 45, which is slightly more than the 40 from the 2001 PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club.

“In a little under a year’s time, we’ve seen a tremendous response from the community,” Cannon said. “We’ve seen about 30 to 40 percent come from the national side, and the balance has been from metro Atlanta.”

A new incentive plan has helped spur sales. Companies were given financial incentives to commit early and a down payment of 10 percent was required, whereas 25 percent was required in the past.

“What you find is that the larger companies that use golf for client entertainment and hospitality like to plan well in advance and the earlier you buy, the better choices you get on locations,” said David Dorman, the championship’s executive chairman for marketing and the former chairman and CEO of AT&T. “We went out marketing heavily to the large national and international firms with the larger chalets. … Our budget for hospitality was set slightly higher than the 2001 actual numbers and, frankly, I expect we’ll exceed projections.”

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