The corona virus is also turning our world upside down.
Since July 2018 we live on the beautiful island of Mallorca. We quit our jobs, sold our house and started this great adventure with our 2 teenage daughters Maartje and Floor. From a safe and very nice salaried job to own entrepreneur in a relatively foreign country. Completely out of the box, with trial and error and also super fun (and just as exciting). Every day we learn something new and take small steps forward and just as easily backwards in our new tourism sector. We are steadily building our young company and run our beautiful villa Son Flora in Alaró with a lot of passion and commitment. Last autumn we took an exciting new and next step with Bike Villas Mallorca. We now have over 30 cycling friendly villas in our offer of different luxuries and sizes. We are a unique player in the market of cycling holidays on Mallorca. The first reactions are very positive, we are working hard on our marketing (we have to be seen) and the first bookings are coming in. But then an unexpectedly external. Before the season gets off to a good start this year, we have been at a standstill for a week...
An assassin from China
The corona virus blows over like an assassin from China and grabs the whole world to his throat. An absurd situation arises. Lockdown is a word everyone is talking about. Imprisoned in your own house, all dedicated to conquer this monstrous and still elusive virus. An uncertain future, life by day, hope, survival, together, alone, a reset of our lives. Health, our greatest good, is the only thing that matters right now. But our economy, too, is on the verge of collapse. Our new home Mallorca lives off tourism. Meanwhile, all tourists have left the island and the question is when and if they will come back. People are losing their jobs, perhaps their homes, businesses and autonomos are falling over. The longer it takes the greater the damage. Our world is also upside down. From building to survival...
A great start to our season
This year starts great! From Zoover we get the best reward you can wish for. Our guests appreciated our work in 2019 with a 9.6 for our villa Son Flora and a 9.2 for our villa Can Domingo. With this we have won the Zoover Award Gold twice. A great feeling and we are grateful and most of all very proud. A great appreciation and recognition for our dedication and commitment.
Our first guest this year is none other than Dutch celebrity Eric Corton. For him and his cycling friends we have organized a fully catered cycling week (Bike Villa, bike rental, catering, cycling routes). The week is going super. Eric is a very nice and inspiring man, the group is great and most of them have discovered Mallorca for the first time as a cycling paradise. The cycling week for next year is already booked. Our next guests in the various Bike Villas are also enthusiastic about our Bike Villas Mallorca concept. As with the group of Eric Corton, the next cycling holiday on Mallorca for next year will be taken as an option or even already booked. In February and March 2021 our own Bike Villa Son Flora is already almost fully booked. Awesome! The most beautiful thing we have experienced over the past period are a number of similar reactions from our guests: "You come as a guest and you leave as a family", says Christine, who is a guest of a well-known national cycling magazine. Rob from PEAK Cycling, who was also our guest last year, says to Louisa: "the smell of your soup feels like coming home". Carlos from Los Angeles (USA) says to me at his farewell: "Thank you for bringing me home at Mallorca". Carlos was a guest at the PedalingHeroine Camp organized by Orla Walsh (famous cyclist from Ireland). We had to interrupt this successful cycling camp abruptly last Monday...
And then we have to survive
All Bike Villas are empty, no new requests and no new bookings. Instead of being in full operation with satisfied and happy cycling guests, we are busy finding new dates for our bookings in March and April. This is currently working well thanks to flexible guests, owners and bike rentals. The bike, retreat and holiday bookings from May onwards are still planned and it is hoped that they can continue. The longer it takes before we can receive guests again, the bigger our financial challenge becomes. The income is as good as zero at the moment and the expenses are almost the same as normal. As a young company without much financial reserve, we are facing our biggest challenge so far. The handbook for entrepreneurs says nothing about a crisis of this magnitude. We are fighting it on common sense and with the good advice of friends and befriended entrepreneurs.
We do what we can and must do. Turning the cost button (stop all paid marketing, save money, if the need really gets too high go in consultation with our landlords), the help that is offered through the Spanish government as much as possible (tax deferral, small one-time fee for autonomos and hopefully stopping the monthly fee for autonomos) and see if we can still generate income in this period (payments from later the year to now and even the scenario that Wies goes back to the Netherlands to work in care temporarily has been discussed). We remain positive and look at it from day to day.
However, the biggest challenge remains staying healthy. On Mallorca, the number of coronary cases is "relatively" low (3 dead, 203 sick at the moment). As an island it is hopefully also better to control. Louisa, Floor and I are healthy and are "trapped" together with our two dogs in our own little house on the mountain. You can do worse, enough outdoor space, nice weather and for the time being enough to do (keep company in the air, study, garden, work at Son Flora, running and cycling up and down the mountain, to the donkey in the meadow even higher up the mountain, with the dogs walking around the house and netflixing).
I am saddened by the news that my mom and dad, who are both in different care homes, are lockdown in their own room. Until the beginning of April their world is limited to a few square meters, without any visitors, but surrounded by the most precious care. Bizarre and absurd. And just as necessary to avoid this brutal virus. Louisa' parents have grounded themselves. They have Maartje around them who does urgent things for them like shopping. Maartje stays there until the beginning of May and follows her studies online in Wageningen. She can't be in a lovelier place (except with us of course...). She also goes up and down to Wageningen a few times a week to do her work in a nursing home. Hero!
This Sunday Louisa and Floor celebrate their birthday. It will be an unforgettable day for the wrong reasons. We are going to make video calls with parents, family and friends and just make it a beautiful day. The cake is already in the fridge and the garlands in the closet.
The corona virus takes an unexpected turn in our emigration adventure. This situation makes us more than clear that our new life on Mallorca is also our future. We are going to fight for survival with the company in the coming period. We believe in a bright future for Bike Villas Mallorca and therefore also in a bright future for us on this beautiful island.
We wish everyone strength in this period. Stay healthy, take care of each other and respect the rules imposed!
Ed, Louisa, Maartje and Floor