Felip Rigat is an entrepreneur from Barcelona who has a super active life: he has his hotel in Lloret de Mar which he is managing very successfully, he is president of the Rotary Club, he participates in a thousand events in Barcelona and abroad, he likes to ski, swim, etc. We have spoken with Felip to find out more about his business and understand how he has become so successful.
Felip, do you remember the day you opened your hotel?
In my case, I remember when I was 22 years old, I was commissioned to “recover” one of our hotels since it was in poor condition and poorly managed. At that time we had eight hotels in different places, several restaurants, a ski resort, an importer, a finance company, a construction company… many businesses.
Our family business is over 175 years old and I felt compelled to leave my job as an economist and banker and take over the family business, there was no one else apart from my father.
Why the hospitality sector? How did you come to this idea?
In my case, as I mentioned before, it comes from a family tradition. I am a 5th generation hotelier. In any case, the hotel industry, tourism in general, is the world's leading industry. This suggests that it will need the best professionals if it wants to have the prestige that other sectors of the economy have. Leisure activities are a good sector in general to invest.
You are the General Manager of Rigat Park Hotel for 29 years now. What have you learned in this time?
Learning in life is always continuous. The most important? That personal (human) relationships are essential and irreplaceable. Also that each year is different, sometimes a lot and there is not always a clear reason, and you have to be very far-sighted and flexible from all points of view.
When you hire a person, what is most important to you? Just diploma or something else?
In my sector we are still far from professionalization. People hold positions, including responsibilities, with very little regulated training (recognized by the Administration). Experience and predisposition is still an important factor in selection.
The competition in your sector is enormous. What differentiates Rigat Park from the others?
A lot, it is incredible the number of catering establishments (bars, restaurants and hotels) that have been developed these years. The key is differentiation. In our sector you cannot easily move or change the site product. Our Hotel is unique in its design and configuration, very personal and generous in spaces, terraces, gardens, views, materials, its location is also very good: it is important not only to be in front of the sea but also very close to important tourist centers.
(Barcelona, Girona, France…., airports, highways).
Can you give us some advice in this time of crisis?
It's hard now. Crises must have been prepared in advance. When it gets late it's more complicated. For this 2020 crisis, the secret will be to have enough liquidity (available money) to be able to overcome it. Always be prudent and farsighted and never lose the investment in the medium and long term, in a crisis it is the first thing that is forgotten and it is the first thing that helps to get out.
What advice can you give to teenagers, people who are looking for their passion?
I think that in these new times the "classic jobs" will no longer be the most interesting, these will be more the new occupations that we do not know today and if you are between 13/16 years old, have an open mind and be very very curious.
You have been the President of the Rotary Club for almost two years now. Tell us more about this post please.
I will try to summarize it because to speak of Rotary International is to speak of a great non-profit institution worldwide, very well structured by local clubs in which the best professionals in each field come together to contribute a grain of sand to improve the world we live in. For example, the disappearance of Polio as a disease is one of its achievements.
What is your opinion about the era of digitization where we live? How does it affect your business?
Well, we must take advantage of everything that technology gives us in process improvement. However, in my sector, the human relationship continues to be very important for the development of our activity.
In your opinion, what are the common problems in companies in Spain?
Lack of professionalism and commitment: lack of training of all kinds, especially in languages and business administration and vision of a long-term project. Young people today prefer to be salaried than to have a business project, it's very sad. Having a company is not attractive. Of course, in Spain there is an excessive and unjust tax system that is highly politicized without taking into account economic criteria and high-cost social protection for the consideration it provides. Everything more than improvable.
You are a super active person: where do you get the energy?
I have always been a very restless person, even as a child. They always kept me busy with different things, I suppose, so that it wouldn't bother me too much: studies, trips, football, hockey, swimming, water polo, handball, skiing, sailing, sailing, motorcycling, motor racing, rallies, trips... a thousand things. I don't sleep much either. I am also quite competitive.
Lately I've been charging my batteries a lot and relaxing at the same time going out to sea on a boat with friends.
Sports training and discipline helps a lot to work in general and to managerial management. It helps you to fight, not to give up, to be imaginative, constant... suffer a little if necessary.
Please tell us your three daily habits without which you cannot survive.
See the sea, dream and laugh not always in this order
Tell us please what inspires you?
A lot of things… basically other people, their stories, their dreams, their fears… lately I like to read “light” biographies and articles or history books, without much detail. Also the people whose eyes shine when they explain something.
What is your favorite book.
Now I'll play the interesting one... the one that hasn't been written.
But my favorite movie is "El guateque", I recommend it.
The best lesson life has given you.
On a professional level you can't control everything, on a personal level you don't need to leave room for surprise. I believe in "karma" in the broad sense.