The new general manager of La Cala Resort, Ken Flockhart, has revealed key points for effective management and what he would like to achieve whilst running the hotel and golf complex. The experienced manager describes La Cala Resort as one of the most extensive resorts on the Costa del Sol, with three 18-hole golf courses and a 107 room hotel, “not to mention three restaurants and a spa”
Although seasonal variation is inevitable with “high and low seasons”, Flockhart considers the biggest challenges to be “maximising deals in the quieter months” and “exceeding the expectations of a diverse clientele”. In that respect, he highlights the heterogeneous nature of this, seeing as La Cala Resort welcomes golfers, occasional visitors, property owners, guests, wedding guests and even local customers who use its spa or restaurant. To add to this melting pot, with guests “from different countries” and with “various expectations”, his main argument is for the resort to “provide them with a unique experience” with the main aim being “clientele loyalty and guests recommending the hotel resort to others”. To do this, it is fundamental to have “an excellent quality/price balance, complemented by a professional, efficient and friendly service”.
The manager openly reveals the main strengths of La Cala Resort. First of all, “tranquillity” because “our clients should have a stress-free stay”. Secondly, “the service” as “in every department we have an experienced team which understands how important it is to provide an exceptional level of service.” Finally, he stresses the importance of safety ensuring guests “feel calm throughout the stay, no matter how long or short it may be”.
With his eyes fixed on how the hotel industry is evolving in the future, Flockhart is convinced that very soon some hotels will consider “a variety of booking options” for clients, including guests choosing the mattress type, bed sheets, towels, air freshener, mineral water and even the design of the furniture, before they have even checked in.
The resort manager sees great development potential at the complex he is currently managing, after “excellent results” from a joint venture between the resort owning company and the construction firm Taylor Wimpey. This resulted in all sixty Miraval apartments selling out and 30% of the Horizon Project already being sold. With a hotel which year in year out “increases activities” and “demand”, the hotel manager does not rule out that in due course they “will have to consider the possibility of expanding the hotel facilities”. Not forgetting the major attraction: three golf courses which “pose a challenge for golfers of all different levels”.
Flockhart has spent almost thirty years working in the hotel industry. He started out working for Holiday Inn and Marriott in Great Britain where he was born. Still being very young, he decided to take the plunge and relocate to the Island of Grenada. In a very short time, at 29 years old, he was made general manager. After spending four years in the Caribbean, he decided to go back to the United Kingdom where, for the first time, he managed a hotel resort with golf facilities: Old Thorns. After that, he moved to Cyprus and then the Middle East where he was in charge of various five star resorts. He returned to the Island of Grenada and subsequently to the Bahamas. After going back and forth all over the world, he ended up in the Maldives where he managed Kuredu Island Resort & Spa, the best tourist centre in the country. With over 800 guests and another 800 employees, Flockhart ended up feeling like “the mayor of a city, literally managing a self-sufficient community in the middle of nowhere”.
With such extensive experience and a priceless knowledge of resorts, this golf lover is proud of being able to “perfectly manage this large golf resort in the south of Spain, amongst other things”. With this new Andalusian environment, he is surrounded by “friendly people”, as well as “a beautiful green environment with golf facilities and the magnificent Mijas Mountains”.
The new general manager is taking on a key role which is not without difficulties, as he is “coordinating” a team trained by experts in sales, marketing, operations, finance and human resources. In essence, “all this experience and decision making” are “key for the future of the company”.
He praises the Costa del Sol as it has an extensive choice for all kinds of clientele, providing “culture, history, sports and training” combined with an extensive “selection of hotels of different standards and types” and “several gastronomic options from beach bars to Michelin star restaurants”.
With an ever increasing number of visitors, the tourism industry “would hugely benefit, provided that we can maintain trust that the area is safe” Ken Flockhart concludes.