Since I read the article in the Financial Times last year about golf resort living and golf tourism, I was really curious to know the opinion of Cristobal Guerrero, the managing director of Las Colinas Golf & Country Club.
Thanks to Chantal Jones (Professional Sports Group), I was able to interview Cristobal Guerrero.
What kind of real estate trends do you see in golf resorts?
Golf Resorts linked to real estate developments, devote a great part of land and surface to the development of the course itself, therefore providing the development with a great extension of green areas.
This integration into nature, and exclusivity, given the low density, implied in the use of great extensions of land to provide for open spaces without buildings.
We believe that the trends for golf resorts with real estate developments is to remain exclusive, where the architecture adds value to the existing environment, integrating itself within the natural settings. Las Colinas follows these trends, with a low density and environment-friendly residential development.
What are your achievements, plans, and learnings in customer experience & employee experience innovation at Las Colinas Golf & Country Club?
In the past few years, we have received numerous awards including:
- The Best Villa Resort in Europe and Best Golf Course in Spain in 2018.
- Las Colinas Golf & Country Club has also been ranked as The Top 100 Golf Courses in Continental Europe (#58) which has provided even more recognition to the quality of our resort.
The new sports facilities which are currently under construction include Tennis and Padel Courts, Football and Basketball Courts, a new Gymnasium with the latest equipment, a Country Club swimming pool and a new Mediterranean restaurant.
The choice of the new facilities being built responds to the demands and needs of our temporary customers and of those who own properties at Las Colinas Golf & Country Club.
What kind of technologies do you use to achieve personalization (e.g. artificial intelligence, beacon technology etc.)?
Las Colinas Golf & Country Club is currently developing its own mobile application, through which our customers will receive news and updates and make reservations for golf and other facilities at the resort.
Members will also be able to use the app to benefit from a loyalty scheme. Trackman 3e technology is available at The Academy, offering visiting golfers the chance to benefit from the same performance analysis used by the very best on the PGA and European Tours.
Another technology recently installed at the resort is the Live Streaming video from the clubhouse which shows guests a live view down the 18th hole, a great addition for our guests who are looking at visiting the resort, or who have not yet arrived yet!
What is the impact of the latest global tourism trends on golf tourism and golf resorts?
One of the main trends that has positively affected Spain as a destination, is the fact that it is the most southern western European destination, with plenty of coastlines and great weather.
Other destinations that have tried to compete on a price basis, are finding difficulties because customers want to receive a great deal of high-quality services in a safe and sound environment.
Do you want to grow direct booking? If yes, then how? If not, then why?
Direct booking is an interesting source for business because of the greater margin.
Nevertheless, we have to take into account that what customers want is to be able to choose from a wide variety of options, and therefore, wholesalers, intermediaries, Tour Operators and so on, are of utmost importance to provide the end user the different options available.
The key for any destination is to be able to differentiate itself from the rest with a better and wider range of services.
Who are the most promising new segments of tourists who were untapped so far? And why?
Spain has been for many decades a tourist destination, and it is, therefore, difficult to find many untapped tourist segments for Spain as a destination.
Having said this, we believe that there is a growing demand in tourism in Spain, and we are looking forward to tapping into new markets.
Far away from the conventional gastronomic, sun and sea tourism, there is a growing extremely active community that looks forward to making memorable experiences, that include sports such as golf, cycling, sailing and racket sports.
We have seen other services related segments growing as well such as the health markets, medical tourism, and cultural tourism, of which we can provide a great multi-service at Las Colinas Golf & Country Club.
How can golf resorts remain relevant and attractive?
We believe that the key for golf resorts to remain attractive compared to other residential or tourist destinations are the following:
- Remain exclusive: creating a golf resort implies a great initial effort, and this must show throughout the whole life cycle of the resort.
- Offer more than just golf: clients expect and demand great service and a wide variety of quality options.
- Attention to detail: quality must be perceived by customers