Agustín Garcia is the current Chief Business officer of Lumine Mediterránea Beach & Golf Community. His professional career in golf management includes: General Manager of PGA Golf Catalunya in 1999, General Director at the historic club of Real Golf de Pedreña in 2009, where he helped contribute to the creation of The Royal Spanish Golf Federation, and a former Director of the Seve Ballesteros Foundation.
What has been the most significant adjustment this golf season in dealing with the pandemic?
Working with total uncertainty. Here in Spain, the safety regulations have often been changing daily. We had an experience one day around midnight where we did not know if we would be allowed to reopen our facilities the following day. Positively, we have started to provide greater attention to our local market. Usually, a seaside golf resort like our’s attracts a high number of visitors from abroad, but this years’ experience has taught us that the local market must be better communicated to and welcomed by our whole team.
In 2019, what was the percentage of rounds played by visitors from outside the country, and what has been the percentage this year?
In 2019, the number of rounds played by visitors from outside the country amounted to around 57%. This year that figure has dropped to below 50% with only 48% of visitors coming from abroad.
What steps have you implemented in terms of dealing with the loss of revenue - not only in terms of golf rounds but also food and beverage and services / amenities you normally provide?
As a club, we have done everything possible to provide our members and guests with a safe environment, both on and off the course. Despite having to comply to government regulations, we still pride ourselves on providing our customers with the same quality service in golf course presentation, F&B service and Beach Club experience as before the pandemic. Since our re-opening, the reviews received from our clients have been more positive than ever, a humbling and proud output from the hard work that has been put in over the last few months.
How much of an impact has the pandemic caused to overall staffing levels?
In our case we still have people working from home whose job does not require them to be active at the resort. In certain cases, this has started to make things feel a bit estranged and distanced, but in other cases it has also helped to make things more dynamic than in the past.
How are you now communicating with guests and what role has their feedback played in your operations going forward?
We are always communicating with our members and guests. During the lockdown period we tried to call our members one by one at least once to check on their health, which is something they greatly appreciated. Since re-opening we have continued to update our website, as well as sending out regular newsletters, emails, and social media posts to keep our members and guests up-to-date. It has been one of our main areas of focus.
The biggest challenges - short and long term ahead - are what?
To improve what you are doing right and learn from your mistakes. We are proud of the many things we have done right over the past few months, but we also know we would have made other decisions differently if we had a second chance. These are the sort of decisions we need to learn from and make sure we do better in the future.