The IGTM team have been keeping in close contact with our partners in the golf travel community to offer support and where possible, guidance during this difficult time. From these conversations, it is apparent that many contacts in our network are interested to hear how their peers are approaching the situation. As a result, we have asked the IGTM community to share some of the different strategies they have been using to manage the Covid-19 lockdown across the globe.
Salvador Lucas & Isabel Garcia from La Finca Golf & Spa Resort.
What changes have you made since the lockdown/travel bans were put in place, in order to minimize losses? We put in place a full plan for re-bookers including added value aspects (including dinner, spa etc) and promotions for TTOO rates. We changed our cancellation policies and made them more flexible. We talk one by one to each of our clients and Tour Operators to give them a tailor-made answer and alternative to each booking.
What plans are you currently making for when the lockdown/travel bans are released, in order to be ready to welcome golfers to your course/resort again? We are refurbishing restaurants and rooms in our hotel whilst the lock down, we will come back stronger than before.
What has your course/resort learned during this lockdown (positive and/or negative)? Clients and staff always come first and that our time is even more valuable than before. We learn that now, more than ever, we all have to be on the same “travel boat” helping each other.
Luis Filipe and Carlos Medeiros from Quinta Do Lago Golf:
What changes have you made since the travel bans were put in place, in order to minimize losses? Seasonal staff were not contracted and operational staff were minimized. Maintenance staff were reduced to 50% of normal capacity and two teams were created in order to keep them alternating each week. Remaining staff were also encouraged to take their annual leave during this period. Maintenance works started immediately in order to take advantage of the courses being closed. Reservations could be cancelled or dates changed without any penalties in order to maintain customer loyalty.
What plans are you currently making for when the travel bans are released, in order to be ready to welcome golfers to your course again? As all major maintenance works have now been done, the courses will be re-opening in great shape, and it will not be necessary to close for any annual maintenance. Consequently, more tee times will be available to book later in the year.
What has your course/resort learned during this lockdown? With the current travel bans in place, it is better to have the courses closed.
Petra Darmstadter, Golf Sales Manager at Hotel Peralada Wine Spa & Golf.
What changes have you made in order to minimize losses? The main measure has been not to apply the cancellation policy and to facilitate as much as possible the modifications and / or cancellations of the client's reservations, trusting that they will return in the near future.
What plans are you making to welcome golfers once restrictions are lifted? To have the Golf & Hotel facilities in perfect conditions in order to maintain our high level of quality and service. This is our brand mark standard.
What have you learned during the lockdown? That everything can change at any moment and that we must always be prepared for this. Now more than ever, we'll see and realise the importance of the work done in the past and the loyalty of our clients and collaborators.
Mónica Diaz Vecino at Casa de Campo Resort & Villas:
We remain closed until May 31st with a reopening date of June 1st. The government’s mandate to shut down all commercial activities and flights continues, as well as a mandate curfew from 5pm-6am
>Cleaning teams have been strengthened in all areas of increased traffic and of personnel use, including the additional installation of dispensers with antibacterial gel throughout the property
>We have had HS Consulting for International Standards, one of the industry’s highest-level certifications, verify that our resort complies with and has best-in-class processes in place for quality and safety
>In the unlikely event that a guest needs medical attention of any sort during their stay, we have certified medical professionals on site who are available 24/7
>We have initiated a FREE CANCELLATION policy on all new leisure bookings and will continue working with clients in re-booking their stays with us We have a caring and committed team who are dedicated to working with all of our partners in managing this crisis and preparing for better times ahead. Now is the time for us to come together, address the tasks at hand, maintain open communication, practice compassion and stay the course.
Edouardo Des Fontaines at La Cala Resort.
What changes have you made in order to minimize losses? We have kept a few members of the management team on to prepare our strategy for when the hotel re-opens, as well as a skeleton staff of green keepers and maintenance employees for essential work purposes.
What plans are you making to welcome golfers once restrictions are lifted? Staying visible via social media, as well as up-skilling our teams with online training courses. We have brought forward our golf maintenance dates and other small course refurbishments so that there is no disruption to golfers once our doors re-open.
What have you learned during the lockdown? In reality, it´s very difficult to know how to react. All you can do is make the best decisions you can, and always re-assure and be honest with your staff and employees. It´s in times like these where you should take time to think and reflect, and search for where the opportunity is, instead of falling into negativity. What is clear is that we will make sure that we continue to provide the service our clients expect of us, but we might have to offer this service in a slightly different way. How you communicate that to the client is the key, prior, during and post stay.
John Edwards, Secretary at Royal Porthcawl Golf Club.
What changes have you made in order to minimize losses? We have put all major capital spend on hold and maintained a minimum level staffing operation, topping up the government contribution of 80% for any furloughed staff to ensure all staff receive 100% pay. We continue to work in partnership with tour operators to re-book customers for later in the year and provide full refunds where no alternative date is possible.
What plans are you currently making to welcome golfers once restrictions are lifted? As a private members club we must continue to put members first and ensure they have sufficient access to the course. We are continuing with our marketing plan as normal.
What have you learned during this lock down, both positive and negative? Sound financial planning is vital. We are in a strong position to face this situation but it is yet another reminder that clubs must not be complacent. Subscriptions are a constant source of income but green fees have the potential to fluctuate due to factors out of our control. We have always maintained reserves to a certain level. It is important to continually invest in your product but it must be done in a responsible manner.