“It’s easy to talk about the catastrophic effects of keeping the hotels closed… but from the beginning we realized that if we didn’t approach the situation positively, the damage would be even greater”. This statement by Cati Cardell, e-commerce manager of Hotels Viva, sums up well the attitude of the hotel firm and its establishments in Mallorca: welcoming visitors with the best treatment, professionalism and now, more than ever, total security. In this interview, which we have conducted with Dingus clients, you can learn about Viva’s future plans and how they have been forged by the complicated months of closing and thinking about the business.
How has it been and is it being for your hotel group at the moment?
We are facing a situation that we have never experienced before. The easy part is to talk about the catastrophic which means keeping the hotels closed (as was the case in the middle of June), but regretting it leads nowhere, so from the beginning of the state of alarm, when our hotels were about to open and receive our guests at Easter, we realized that if we did not approach the situation positively the damage would be even greater.
So we began to prepare for a season start without a date, but in conditions very different from those experienced during all the years we have been in the sector. First of all, we thought about the need to keep our customers informed, since a good part of them repeat almost every year: we strive to constantly update our website, increase activity on our social networks and never stop communicating with our customers through all possible means.
At the beginning we lived a lot of uncertainty, because every day the news changed and we had to manage many reservations without knowing very well what was going to happen. Then, with the confinement and closing of borders, the situation became clearer and we saw that the best thing was to work to adapt our hotels to the new situation, which at some point was going to allow us to open again.
And for the employees, how do you sum up the during and after: the closing, the adaptation to the new protocols, the involvement…
The response of our workers has been exceptional. Everyone has been involved from the very beginning and has taken ownership of the situation. They have received specific training by Covid-19 health alert, to respond with maximum guarantees to any contingency, adapting to the new reality and complying with all established protocols, both for their own safety and for that of any visitor. I would like to thank you for this great response and emphasize that without it we would not have been able to face a such a complicated situation.
How do you carry out the reopening, under what conditions and with what perspectives?
The truth is that it has been a good thing that the incidence of the Covid-19 has been low in the Balearic Islands, and that we have been able to participate in the pilot plan of the Government of the Balearic Islands, authorized by the Spanish Government. Thus, on June 18 we opened our hotel VIVA Golf&Spa Adults Only 18+, being pioneers at a national level along with a few other hotels that opened on the 15th in Playa de Palma. Other establishments, such as the VIVA Blue&Spa, Predi Son Jaumell Hotel Rural, VIVA Cala Mesquida Resort&Spa and Viva Suites & Spa Adults Only +16 will be opening between the 3rd and 24th of July. Thus, we face the great responsibility of achieving the best holiday experience for our guests in this very atypical situation, prioritizing at all times their safety.
I want to emphasize that the response of our first guests to this “new normal” has been extraordinary. They have all understood the need for the many contingency measures adopted and some of those we have been able to interview have expressed their complete peace of mind and acceptance. As for the conditions, we have arranged all the hygiene and prevention measures in all the areas of the hotels, with a buffet protected by screens and assisted by our staff, a menu with a QR code in the restaurants, payments by card or mobile phone, signposting for social distance and capacity, information signs, online check-in and check-out, and many other measures. The prospects are uncertain and the opening of the other hotels of the company will depend on the demand for reservations.
What do you think about the possibility of ‘saving’ the season and in what proportion?
Well, it depends a lot on what we mean by “saving the season”, I would say that we will try to “save some of it”. It’s still early to know how our visitors will respond, but the truth is that none of them have it easy. The closest ones because their economic situation or uncertainty has left them without a budget for holidays, and those coming from other countries because they still don’t know if they will have flights to come here. We give great importance to local and national tourism as well as international tourism, the latter being conditioned to a large extent to the situation of the pandemic in the issuing markets and the opening of borders. As I was saying, we consider ourselves lucky to have been able to welcome foreign tourists in Spain before anyone else, but we need the flow of visitors to be maintained and we think that this is a joint task for everyone: hotel companies, airlines, central administration, regional administration, agencies and of course wholesalers. In spite of everything, we believe in the strength of Mallorca as a tourist destination.
What’s the message for your customers?
The message is one of complete peace of mind. In fact, by the time this interview is published, we will be serving them in some of our hotels. The truth is that we have taken great care in adopting preventive measures and we are not going to stop attending them at all times, despite the obligatory social distancing. We are convinced that we will overcome the challenge of making safety compatible with the personalised treatment that characterises us in a family hotel company, and I say family both because of the ownership and origins of the company and because of our work philosophy and relationship with our guests.
Committed to the management of #hotelrecovery
If during all these months we have continued to support our clients, now more than ever, from Dingus we want to thank them for their confidence and to continue by their side for the recovery and management of the recovery scenarios. For this reason we value your words extraordinarily: “Dingus, as always, has supported the hotelier not only on a technical level, but also on a financial level. It has been able to offer solutions, depending on the situation and need of each one, at a time of complex operations”.
Cati Cardell – e.commerce manager Hotels Viva