Monica Diaz Vecino, Director and Founder of Global Hemisphere
Golf in the post-Covid period
Because of the limitations to mobility due to the COVID, but also to save costs and not to put employees at risk, many companies stopped their business trips this year. Amazon reported that in 2020 it will save about 850 million euros for trips that were not made. Some people think that video conferences will be a solution to face-to-face meetings.
The world of Tourism is changing, and the same is happening in the Golf Tourism segment. Until October, the fall of business travel was around 58%, according to AEGVE (Spanish Association of Business Travel Managers) and they foresee that 74% of the business segment will be reactivated in the first semester of 2021. Until then, the challenge for the travel manager and the travel agent will be to adjust to the new rules for confirming trips and to inform their clients about the health situation of the destinations and the new rules applied.
We are pleased to present the interview carried out by Andalucía Golf, to Monica Diaz Vecino, Director and Founder of Global Hemisphere. She talks about an overview of the current situation in the golf travel industry. Andalucía Golf is the leading golf magazine in Spain in both digital and print versions, which perfectly writes about the current situation in this sector.
Global Hemisphere’s Role
Global Hemisphere is a leading company specialized in promoting golf courses, hotels, and destinations in the golf tourism industry. Behind Global Hemisphere is Monica Diaz Vecino, an entrepreneur in the world of golf tourism and a huge professional. Monica is known by the most relevant leaders in the tourism sector and has an extensive career as Director of Golf Sales and Marketing in many luxury hotels.
Monica founded the company in 2013 and started it as a professional challenge, based on her 15 years of experience as a Golf Sales Director for different hotel groups. «I realized that companies with a commercial department focused on golf sales had more production, more business opportunities and a higher product visibility in the golf industry than those with a little bit for everything,» she says.
«Lots of golf clubs have an agent on the course who doesn’t travel enough, or who doesn’t manage to attract new business, because with the volume of work generated every day, it’s impossible to get there».
Global Hemisphere operates as another member of the golf sales team, improving service and work productivity. This is translated into more sales.
«We work as a sales consultant, hiring travel experts in the golf tourism industry, tour operators, webinars, attending trade shows, tournaments, organizing fam trips for our clients, workshops, events, etc. We are working in the Marketing area through contents which generate sales, like email marketing, promotional campaigns, awards, among many other marketing activities focused on sales.
Global Hemisphere in the Post Covid Era
-What services and values does Global Hemisphere provide to the companies of the golf tourism area?
–The know-how of a person with over 15 years of experience in the golf sales market, with a great knowledge of every single market and a large number of contacts in the tourism sector. So, for a course or hotel which starts with a low specialized base, it is easier to get in and start selling. In addition, I count with the collaboration of a business partner who contributes with us, that is Kirby & Co, focused on solutions for hotels and tourism companies. This allows Global Hemisphere to have a much more commercial and global vision than just golf.
Nowadays, the externalization of a commercial service is an added value in a company. It saves on promotion and you have the option of a wider range of opportunities. Currently, we have 12 courses and 6 destinations. This implies an enormous knowledge of the market, in which we take advantage of every opportunity and every new contact to integrate our CRM.
A client travels today to Madrid and tomorrow to Andalusia and so on. In this way we take advantage of every contact to sell the hotels and courses we handle and thereby generate cross-selling. This is a key point and the one I like the most. Make your clients loyal. The business opportunities we can create with just one contact.
-Since the crisis, we are experiencing a change in the business model. How do you see the future post-covid?
-From now on hotels and golf courses are going to start changing the business model. Until now, many tourism companies closed guarantees with a number of tour operators. Now, companies in the sector should further diversify their business entry and open up to new channels in order to generate sales in a medium and long term. We must not avoid extreme agreements, but also diversify and work in other areas.
The goal of the golf sector is to attract the target client, the player who is on the golf course. Expanded to new sales technologies in order to attract this buyer, with better advantages and facilities. Tour operators are very important in tourist destinations, of course, but they don’t always want to sell to you. You need to have a plan b and be very active in other areas.
In this crisis, I have taken advantage of webinars as a working tool, which did not do so much before. Travel experts are called and the presentation is made via online. This saves a lot of travel costs and gives sales support to the agencies. The contact is more direct. Also, when selling, is better to know each other. Many agencies are now starting to include new destinations, and online calls makes it much easier to explain the contents and reach agreements.
-You are a well-known professional in the world of golf tourism, with a long career in this sector. What is the progress of your professional training?
-I am a huge technology lover, continuously experimenting with new applications to improve my work and my clients’ work as well as getting knowledge. I research other markets and competitors to know what to apply and improve, looking a lot at what they do in the United States, they are more advanced. We learn a lot from them. I am especially up to date in learning sales-focused marketing techniques, learning new formats and strategies which help with marketing. Nowadays not only agencies sell: we must be continuously trying to find new business opportunities. There are many routes and campaigns to attract the travelling golf player, and there is not always a tour operator in the middle.
The research of new contacts, and new opportunities I would tell you is almost daily, so we have a very good database of golf agencies and professionals in the sector.
-The externalization of services in recent years has increased from 30% to 60% and it is estimated to continue rising. Why should a hotel or course externalize its commercial department services?
–By externalizing the golf business part, the course or hotel can focus on other revenue-generating services. A lot of opportunities are lost because the daily workload does not allow you to focus on a sales task. If this happens again, it is normal to lose opportunities and not be able to monetize. Many clubs think it’s easy, that by contacting a few agencies you will have crowds of people. This is not the case, to get there, it implies doing a very active work, following up, insisting and creating a lot of content to make it attractive. There is a lot of competition and there are many very good products. Hard work and dedication is the only way to generate production. There are other conditions such as the state of the course, the location, the quality of services, among others. With the specialization of a commercial work, you can advance by letting the work you do not control to the people who know. Another advantage of externalization is cost savings. It is not the same to go to a golf fair or to represent several golf courses. You get the same contacts, with the same visibility, as well as saving on fixed costs. By being able to focus on a single goal, specialization is better achieved, reduces equipment costs and strengthens key business areas, generating a faster response in productivity and quality. With externalization the company has a more flexible structure and improves the level of sales service making it more efficient, and therefore more sales.
ON A FIRST-PERSON BASIS
Diploma in TEAT (Technician in Companies and Tourist Activities), with a master’s degree in International Marketing and one in Revenue Management from the University of Deusto. I developed my career in the sales department of luxury hotels, going through golf and finally creating my own company, Global Hemisphere, to offer solutions in the commercial area of golf tourism.
I have lived in many countries, speak four languages, and always I have been very proactive and enterprising, that is why I founded the first incoming golf agency in Madrid. I created the Global Hemisphere project, and I am complementing the creation with two new ideas that have been incubated in the Covid stage, which will be presented very soon. Among my long list of clients, I could highlight Abama Golf Ritz Carlton, the Casa de Campo destination in the Dominican Republic and the Teeth of the Dog course, ranked among the top 100 golf courses in the world.