Ibiza holidays

Ibiza lockdown diaries #2

Markus Lueck – General Manager, 7Pines Kempinski Ibiza

Ever an optimist, Markus Lueck – General Manager, 7Pines Kempinski Ibiza – believed the Ibiza lockdown would be over after 14 days. Seven weeks later, he shares the ways in which he’s adapted to the situation.

Hailing from Germany, Markus Lueck moved to Ibiza four years ago when he accepted the position of General Manager at 7Pines Kempinksi Ibiza, prior to the resort’s launch in 2018. In February, while the resort was temporarily closed for winter, Markus was on a skiing holiday in Austria, and heard about COVID-19 spreading from China to Italy. “At this time, I would never have thought the virus could have such a worldwide impact that would influence everybody’s lives – personal and professional – for so long,” he says.

Five days prior to the lockdown, Markus was in London for an important face-to-face meeting with colleagues from Ibiza, London and Germany, which was rapidly restructured to become a Zoom conference call from their hotel rooms, due to the newly communicated social distancing laws. “Nobody thought this would become the new way of meeting and communicating,” he recalls. “As I am a positive thinker and an optimist, I was convinced the lockdown would end on April 9, 2020, as initially communicated. Unfortunately, I was proven wrong.” Today, Markus – back home in Ibiza – is conducting all business via online platforms, planning for ‘life after Corona’ and the return of tourism to Ibiza.

Describe your current Ibiza lockdown situation?
I’m spending the lockdown with my wife and two children. The first week was strange, but then we got used to the strict confinement and adapted our daily routines. We are very lucky that we have an outside area so we can get fresh air and exercise. The longer the lockdown has continued, the more difficult it has become to stay motivated – especially for the children, as they’ve been missing their friends and their social lives in general. Now bringing garbage bags to the containers on the street or doing the weekly shopping at the supermarket are the highlights of the week!

What is your daily life like now?
I am working from home and thanks to various meeting platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, I’ve been able to connect with my teams and other business partners as if we were the same room. It is incredible to see how fast one gets used to these new working and communication methods. We stay in touch with the outside world using digital media channels from news apps to the usual Facebook and Instagram, plus WhatsApp and FaceTime for communication with friends and family. Meanwhile, thanks to the international school on the island, our kids have been home schooling since day one of the lockdown. They’re in online classes from 8.45am till 4pm every day – we are very grateful for this.

How are you feeling on a personal level right now?
By now, as we enter the month of May, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. There will be life after Corona! Hence, I motivate myself, my family and my colleagues by making plans for the time after the lockdown – be it on a private or professional level.

Who or what do you miss most right now?
The freedom of movement and the possibility to meet friends and colleagues in person.

What’s been most the challenging thing for you throughout this experience?
The tourism industry has been hit extremely hard. Knowing the fact that the crisis is heavily affecting the industry we are working in is a challenge. Tourism in summer 2020 will take place, but how and to what extent is still unknown.

Has there been anything about the lockdown experience you’ve enjoyed?
Doing workouts together with my boys three times a week.

How is your general health and wellbeing right now?
I am feeling well. Due to being at home, I manage to exercise more regularly and eat healthier. Our cooking skills have definitely improved by trying out new recipes.

Have you set yourself any goals for this lockdown period?
Not really – only to ensure that I stay positive and that I do not put too much emphasis on the mass of negative news that is constantly posted and commented on. As information and new measures change on a daily/weekly basis, I have the impression that this is the right approach – why discuss and worry about something that is not set in stone?

How do you manage your stress levels during such uncertain times?
Family helps me a lot on this, but my strong belief in ‘life after Corona’ is also a driving factor.

What are your hopes for Ibiza in the future?
My hope is that we will have some kind of business in 2020 – even if mainly from national tourism. For 2021 however, I am confident that we will have a very successful year again. Ibiza lovers cannot wait to come back to their beloved island.

Do you have any fears for the future of the island?
My glass is always half full and this is also what I focus on in my communication. Hence, I prefer to say that I am looking forward to the ‘new normal’.

What about your own future – how is that looking right now?
In a way, the confinement and home working situation has given our team time to focus on different projects. We have developed concepts for the resort in 2020 and 2021 such as a new Kids’ Club to cater to our family travellers, plus more wellness and fitness offerings. This strange period has also seen the rise of ‘virtual travel’, so we launched our Virtual Sunset Rituals, which consist of a Live Instagram stream of the sun setting in Ibiza to the sounds of our resident DJ. The reaction from our audience has been so positive that we made it a weekly event. We’re even thinking to continue this throughout the season for all the Ibiza lovers who might not be able to travel to the island this year.

Is there anywhere else you’d rather be quarantined than Ibiza?
I think we’re lucky to be locked down in Ibiza. The risk of infection here has been low and therefore the health care system wasn’t overloaded. If the infection rate had been higher, obviously this would have changed our situation dramatically.

What are you most looking forward to when the restrictions are lifted?
Meeting up with our friends. And to get an appointment with a hairdresser!

Is there anything you might miss about the experience?
The amount of quality time spent with my family.