Covid-19 has influenced everything and everyone in a certain way. Also on the team and the ins and outs of Vila Mimosa of course. Curious how Vila Mimosa is doing? Karen and Astrid are happy to give you a word of explanation!
How did you guys had to act?
Karen: ‘On 20 March we had to close the doors. That felt very unreal, because we had only just started our new season. A neck-over-head closure like that does bring with it something. We had to cancel guests for the coming weeks and the team had to go home. We had to find out what support there was for the employees. We didn’t want to leave Vila Mimosa empty, so we asked Karin to stay in Mimosa. It was a hectic, unclear, difficult period’.
Astrid: ‘Vila Mimosa is closed as one of the last and reopened as one of the first. That in itself is quite remarkable. Of course, the safety of our guests and the team came first, just as they still do today. I can imagine that it took some getting used to for our new employees, especially since the groups are smaller to work with. That brings with it the necessary planning work, but we’ll get used to everything’.
How have you been helped by the government?
Karen: ‘The government paid 2/3 of the wages and we paid 1/3. Furthermore, the government pays back 80% of the purchases related to Covid-19 (hand gel, masks, etc.)’.
How did you handle the lockdown?
Karen: ‘During the lockdown we gave an online detox 3 times (via zoom) with sports lessons and recipes. That was very cool, but demanded a lot of organization. The other weeks we recorded sports videos and wrote out programs that can now be found online’.
How did the guests react?
Karen: ‘The guests who were with us at the start of the lockdown reacted quite calmly. We had very nice, relaxed and positive guests that week. There was certainly no panic, but there was a lot of uncertainty. Were the flights going to keep going or did they have to leave right away? That was the most difficult. There was a guest with a partner who has a very fragile health, she had to make sure she went into quarantine for 2 weeks after returning home. We tried not to talk about corona all the time, but it didn’t always work out. It was a nice week because of the nice guests and the motivated team, but it was not ideal’.
Astrid: ‘Almost all the guests present really wanted to stay until the very last moment and enjoy their detox. But also during the lockdown we noticed that our guests were eager to come back. When the safety regulations allowed it, we did everything we could to open our doors again and welcome our guests as soon as possible’.
What does that enthusiasm of the guests do to you?
Astrid: ‘As management we are of course very grateful. It shows that we are important to our guests. We don’t need any more than that, it was really good after that difficult period. Many guests came earlier than planned, just because they suffered from stress and could use a detox. All guests are super flexible in terms of planning and the last-minute requests please me. That’s all we could wish for!
Are guests afraid to return (cancellations)?
Karen: ‘It’s not too bad, but the cancellations are last minute. Guests wait a bit and cancel a week or two before arrival. That’s understandable, because with all the vagueness and uncertainty, it’s also difficult to decide long in advance. To give you an idea, we have received 56 cancellations and 128 guests rebooked to another week. In 2019 we could have received 439 guests on 10 August. Today, before 2020, we have received 178 guests. So the impact is huge.’
How did you react to the news?
Karen: ‘It felt very unreal. As if it couldn’t have happened.’
How are you doing personally?
Astrid: ‘When we decided to close, I was still in the denial phase. I never expected this for the first three months, but it just couldn’t be helped. I myself am also at-risk with my asthma, so the whole situation was very surreal for me. Even though I was actually very busy during the lockdown with all kinds of different projects, I got a lot of support on a personal level. The opening could not be fast enough for me! I felt like the challenge and it felt like a relief to be able to fully enjoy the relaxed atmosphere again.’
How is the team doing?
Astrid: ‘Everyone on the team was really looking forward to flying in again and roll up their sleeves. Enjoying and developing the guests is something no one could miss. We learned that people are extremely flexible, everything is possible with the right mindset. You can take strong together quite literally!’
How is Corona treated in Mimosa?
Karen: ‘We use a number of measures (mouth masks for treatments, social distancing, handgel,…) and everyone indicates that this is a good result. But to be honest, in Mimosa there’s hardly any mention of Corona. The Algarve also has very few infections at the moment. It seems as if Corona doesn’t exist in Mimosa for a while’.
How was the feeling of togetherness (for EVERYONE was at home)?
Karen: ‘Because we were working on the videos, there were a lot of moments when the team was working together in mimosa and that was very nice for them.’
Are you extra grateful for everything that has to do with Mimosa?
Karen: ‘Yes, we are grateful for our guests. Because since the reopening on June 12th, we’re doing pretty well again, and that’s because our guests trust us and like to join us. We are very grateful for that.’
This post is also available in: Dutch