You’ve probably heard that Miguel Girbes, a former golf director at Finca Cortesin, is continuing his career at the Emporda Golf Resort as a resort general manager.
That’s why I thought I’d ask what his plans are and how he sees the situation in the golf industry and the golf tourism industry.
To what extent was Empordà Golf Resort was affected by the coronavirus crisis? How will the golf tourism industry change in the coming years?
Like all of the tourism industry, we have been affected by all the travel restrictions that were imposed during the COVID-19 crisis and the speed that the lockdown was brought in.
Every cloud has a silver lining, though, and the lockdown gave us the opportunity to press ahead with plans to refurbish our hotel, Links Course and clubhouse while causing minimum disruption to our members and hotel visitors.
Since the lockdown was lifted, we have already noticed a change in tourism. Travelers are now booking on a short-term notice period and are also looking for cancellation flexibility from hotels and golf courses when they book.
How will the Spanish and the global golf tourism industry change in the coming years?
It has become increasingly apparent that, until we find a final solution and a vaccine for COVID-19, traveling golfers will be cautious to visit some areas.
The important thing from the resort’s point of view is that we prove to all our members and guests that we are conscious of COVID-19 in everything that we do and that the necessary safety measures are put in place.
When it comes to social distancing, golf is probably the safest sport that you can play and that is the message that we should convey at all times.
Do you agree with: golf club businesses are turning also into digital businesses like other businesses and segments in the hospitality industry?
The golf industry has been slowly turning into a digital business over the last few years and I think that the COVID-19 situation will speed up the process further.
At Empordà Golf Resort, we have implemented a new app for members which enables them to book rounds and sign up for tournaments with their digital member ID, while very soon they will also be able to use the app to pay for range balls and in our pro shop and restaurants.
What are you doing for sustainability? Give examples & best practices!
Having a long-term sustainability programme to benefit the environment is an important part of any modern-day golf resort and we are no exception.
Our plans are evolving all the time as the new-look Empordà takes shape but our eco-friendly approach can be seen with the level of investment that has already been made on our two golf courses, starting with
- the reconstruction of all bunkers on the Links Course using the Better Billy Bunker method;
- a comprehensive tree clearance program;
- and the purchase of new greenkeeping equipment to improve the all-round condition of tees, fairways and greens, significantly reducing water usage and maintenance costs.
What are the future plans of the owners of Empordá Golf Resort?
The new owners are very ambitious and they have some far-reaching plans. At the heart of everything is the transformation of the resort into one of Europe’s top 36-hole golf destination venues.
They have already invested in the refurbishment of the hotel, clubhouse, and Links Course.
It’s important to recognize that the new-look Empordà Golf Resort is not just about golf, with an array of leisure, culture and gastronomic activities available to help all our guests experience everything that the Costa Brava has to offer.
Have you got an employee experience strategy? If yes, then how do you design employee experience for your employees?
In order for Empordà Golf Resort to be successful in the long run, it’s important that all employees believe in what we are doing, and our staff strategy in principle is to make sure that everyone feels part of the project.
Our goal is to achieve all-round excellence and all our staff have a key role to play for that to happen.
How do you prove the ROI of your customer experience efforts?
We monitor our bookings on a daily basis across all our outlets (hotel rooms, green fees, memberships, restaurants, shop, etc).
This allows us to identify booking channels and help plan future promotional activities such as digital marketing campaigns.