By SOPHIE MCCARRICK – [email protected]
It is undeniable to say that the Algarve has seen better days, but amidst the negativity blooms positive thinking that may just allow the Algarve, as a successful business location, to ‘come back’ bigger and better.
With the summer season fast approaching and anticipation building, generating questions such as “what will the Algarve’s busy season bring this year?”, a number of Algarve businesses regroup to look back on recent trade, in comparison to previous, busier years, and what measures they will take to ensure success.
Working with currency exchange and international payments on a daily basis, via real estate agents, builders, lawyers and more, Philippa Rowat, Business Development Executive of Currencies Direct in the Algarve, told the Algarve Resident: “There is a definite air of positivity starting to form from quite a few of the people I work with and if we all grasp this together, it could start to channel its own feel good vibe and create some greatly needed confidence.”
When looking at ways in which the Algarve business network can begin to improve its chances, Philippa believes that businesses are starting to realise that by using social media sites, everyone can help to promote the region together and communicate what a great place it is to not only visit but to live too.
Quoting entrepreneur Estee Lauder, Philippa referred: “When I thought I couldn’t go on, I forced myself to keep going. My success is based on persistence, not luck.”
Reflecting on 2011 as a trading year, the Victor Picardo Hairstyling Group describes the time period as quite simply being a “challenge”.
Speaking on behalf of Victor Picardo, Marketing and Communication Director Jorge Maia said: “The fight for the company’s survival has been put to the test, not only by the world economy but specifically by Portuguese Government policies.
“We believe that the trick is to keep a positive perspective and to keep your eye on the ball at all times.”
At Victor Picardo’s, a main philosophy has always been kept, which is to provide a good, quality service that will satisfy the client from the moment they are in contact with them.
However, a difficulty faced by the group and many other Algarve businesses is that their general clientele’s financial priorities have now been forced to adapt to the current economy.
Jorge said: “In an attempt to combat this, we now provide clients with the possibility of receiving special offers and discounts.
“All things in life must be balanced, however the clients’ finances must be taken into account. So our views come from the client’s perspective and never from a strict corporate numbers game,” he said.
Jorge concluded that his belief that the Algarve is an amazing region with much to offer still remains and claims “it’s not all about beach and sun”.
In agreement, Erika Mountain, Managing Director of Sandy Blue, rental holiday apartments and villas company, said: “I would like to see the Algarve Tourism Board do more to promote the Algarve as a winter destination.”
Perhaps suggesting that if the local businesses pull together to promote the Algarve as an all year round destination, the word may finally break through and spread to a global level.
Erika continues to sum up the working year of 2011 as a “whirlwind”.
However, she believes that despite difficulties and challenges, “a good company never sleeps and never stops improving and evolving. Having staff that are fully committed to 100% service satisfaction is also very important.”
Due to economic circumstances, many owners, who have historically not rented, now look to generate income from their properties, providing holiday makers with more choice than before, which, in turn, generates much needed cash.
In order to keep business moving and successful, she said: “We strive to nurture the relationship with the guest from the moment of the initial enquiry, through to the booking process, ensuring that their arrival is stress free and providing excellent quality holiday accommodation.”
When promoting the Algarve, she believes that “with its easily accessible short haul flights, amazing beaches, fantastic golf courses and Europe’s best weather, the Algarve will continue to flourish and remain a leading European holiday destination whatever the global economic situation.”
Tony Elwood from Penguin, a company supplying the Algarve with air conditioning and solar heating services, said: “Although 2011 was a challenging year for everyone, it was nonetheless a year that we focused on the expansion of our company, in order to broaden our horizons and generate business.
“We increased our technical team and opened a small promotional display stand in Almancil to promote further our branding,” he added.
By making surroundings comfortable for prospect buyers in the Algarve or on the other hand for visitors, it is important that conditions inside properties, summer or winter, are enjoyable.
“In terms of the coming year, we see no reason for things to slow down in the Algarve and hope that they continue to rise in parallel with energy-consciousness,” Tony concluded.
What the cards hold for the Algarve in the upcoming summer season and years to come is unknown to all; however, with great determination and, most importantly, a positive outlook and attitude, the renowned European destination should, in fact, be prevalent.
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