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How free breakfast at Sandestin can influence golfers’ decisions.

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There are hundreds of incredible golf resorts a traveler could chose for an upcoming trip.

These resorts have massive hotels, sprawling acreage, perfectly manicured courses, impeccable service. So why in the world would a resort like Sandestin try to differentiate with something as simple as breakfast?


Well, because that may be all it takes.

Inferiority Complex
Dan Ariely is a behavioral economist who does fascinating research on the irrational ways people behave. Here’s how he tested an example that runs in parallel with Sandestin’s marketing strategy (or click play on the video and skip to 11:10).

Imagine I said, “A weekend in Rome, a weekend in Paris, or having your car stolen?” (Laughter) It’s a funny idea, because why would having your car stolen, in this set, influence anything? (Laughter) But what if the option to have your car stolen was not exactly like this.

What if [your choice] was a trip to Rome, all expenses paid, transportation, breakfast, but doesn’t include coffee in the morning. If you want coffee you have to pay for it yourself. It’s two euros 50. Now in some ways, given that you can have Rome with coffee, why would you possibly want Rome without coffee? It’s like having your car stolen. It’s an inferior option.

But guess what happened. The moment you add Rome without coffee, Rome with coffee becomes more popular. And people choose it. The fact that you have Rome without coffee makes Rome with coffee look superior, and not just to Rome without coffee — even superior to Paris.

Crazy, huh? Even something as simple as breakfast or coffee – a miniscule variable in the equation – can make one option feel inferior to the other and, thus, influence behavior.

Simple, Effective
So let’s put ourselves in the shoes of a golfer in the research phase of the travel cycle.

They are weighing options. Lots of choices exist. And then along comes this email from Sandestin which offers an equally appealing option but, huh, it comes with free breakfast.

Golf resorts aren’t commodities, but if there’s any truth to Dan’s research, two resorts could be as different as Rome and Paris and the simple add-on of free breakfast could seal the deal.

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