Traditionally, many desert resorts and Country Clubs in the Coachella Valley around Palm Springs have been looking at golf as the primary focus of their year round marketing efforts. Trying to appeal to golf tourists they are spending millions on facility upgrades and expansions which oftentimes leaves little or no funds for the tennis part of their business. A few prominent desert resorts and Country Clubs, such as La Quinta Resort, Shadow Mountain Resort, and Mission Hills Country Club, have always had a strong emphasis on tennis as a member based club and as destination for tennis tourists. Rancho Mirage based Rancho Las Palmas Resort have recently made similar efforts by promoting a special tennis weekend in October of 2013. Groups like the San Diego Tennis Network have recently had an opportunity to discover the resort’s pretty unique value proposition.
The San Diego Tennis Network was formed in 1999 as a member based organization offering year round low cost match play opportunities for adult tennis players at various host clubs in the county of San Diego. Owner/Partner and Manager Sue Spencer has been organizing two annual tennis trips for her group to the desert for over a decade and this year added Rancho Las Palmas Resort as a destination for the first time. “I found out about the resort through word of mouth,” says Spencer and adds, “I did a site inspection and found the resort looked really nice. After some negotiations for a great rate I decided to give it a try. We were here with 42 people and we had a blast!”
Rancho Las Palmas Resort is located at 41000 Bob Hope Drive in Rancho Mirage. The resort features a beautiful 27 holes golf course, 25 tennis courts, shops and restaurants, 444 guest rooms, 22 luxury suites, and the “Splashtopia” Family Water Park. More information about the resort and it’s amenities here: http://usedview.com/review/rancho-las-palmas-resort-a-reason-for-la-tennis-players-to-flock-to-the-desert
Kevin Connolly, the Resort’s Director of Tennis explains that the tennis operation is managed by worldwide renowned Peter Burwash International (PBI). “As an organization we were an early adopter of modern plays like open stance,” says Connolly. “Our newest programs include an aspect of tennis that is sometimes overlooked. It’s called PLAY SO YOU DON’T GET INJURED. Injury prevention is big at PBI.” Connolly sees a growing trend for tennis tourism and points out that PBI enables all 16 US managed facilities to cross market their destinations to each other. He adds, “Tennis membership here is at an all time high. Our resort is busy with tournaments many weekends each year. A couple of years ago we’ve added a Pro Tournament in February and the Fantasy Camp for adults featuring Lindsay Davenport, the Bryan Brothers, and Justin Gimelstob, in March before the BNP Paribas Open.” Connolly also points out that they are home to 8 USTA adult league teams this year and had won 10 USTA League titles since 2010. He is quite excited planning the Match Point Tennis Weekend October 11-13. “It’ll be a whole lot of fun with tennis and all sorts of other events, such as golf for the spouses of tennis players.”
Kevin Connolly and his staff made sure the San Diego Tennis Network had a great time at their courts. Planning sufficient court time is just one aspect of organizing such a visiting group. Their players watched with amazement as a female pro shop staff member came around Saturday morning when it was 104 degrees and dropped off towels and pitchers with ice. Great customer service!
Paul Rapozo is Director of Travel Industry Sales at Rancho Las Palmas Resort. He explains over Chilled Carrot Soup, one of the newer items on the Lunch Menu of the resort’s main restaurant Blue Ember, that RLP has undergone some significant restorations lately. “From Azure Pool, our outdoor pool for adults, to the entire plaza with its fire pits and contemporary lounging spaces, we did an amazing job making the resort even more beautiful. Palms Cafe has complementary use of iPads with your Starbucks coffee, and so does the Sports Bar (R Bar). The Spa Boutique is brand new. Our Executive Suites all got hard wood floor entryways.”
Rapozo is also quite proud of the level of customer service guests can expect at the resort. “KSL, our owners, have taken over the staff training. Key point is their use of the Unifocus Score System to evaluate staff and reward exceptional service.” He allso points out that the planned “Match Point Weekend” in October will feature a great price per room, including all resort fees, breakfast, and tennis.
One of the tennis players in Sue Spencer’s San Diego group is Donna Dube, award winning producer at San Diego’s local CBS station, KFMB-TV, and longtime participant and Captain in USTA adult tennis leagues. Dube says, “What a great getaway! The colors, the outdoor areas, with different color accents and many secluded corners. I love the Azure Pool, but one of my favorite activities besides tennis was hanging out at Splashtopia.”
Splashtopia, the brand new family water park, is just plain spectacular. Ringed by a 425-foot lazy river, Splashtopia encompasses about two acres of family-friendly features, including two 100-foot water slides, a cliff-side Jacuzzi, and a sandy beach. Splashtopia also features unique water-play zones with fountains and sprinklers for the kids.
Sue Spencer rated the group’s overall experience at Rancho Las Palmas Resort as awesome. “I’ll give them very high points in customer service. Kevin Connolly and his tennis staff were just super. The rooms were fabulous. We couldn’t be more pleased.”
RLP’s web site is http://www.rancholaspalmas.com. For more information on the Match Point Weekend planned for October 11-13 please contact Paul Rapozo at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 760-485-1550.
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