Vice President and General Manager
Mission Inn Resort & Club
I am 60 years old, a graduate of the University of Arizona with a BS in Finance. I met my wife of 35 years on October 29, 1976, a day that has changed my life for the better. My dad was a smart, talented man who could communicate vision. The mentoring provided by him and my mother shaped me into the man I am. I am hard working, I have a service attitude. I am better because of my marriage than I think I would have been without knowing my wife. I am blessed.
THE BEUCHER STORY —
I was fresh out of college in Arizona and interviewing for several sales positions in the Southwest. After some thought and advice from my dad, I returned home to Chicago and represented the families’ Florida golf resort, Mission Inn, at the Incentive Travel and Merchandise (IT&ME) show at McCormick Place. Interacting with resort clients and hoteliers there, I became hooked on the idea of selling company meetings, golf, and incentive travel to Florida.
Shortly thereafter, I met Al Alonso, a Midwest Sales Manager based in Chicago for the Innisbrook Golf Resort near Tampa, Florida. He offered to teach me the golf resort business, so I shadowed him for a week on the road making customer calls. I opened Mission Inn’s first sales office in Glenview, Illinois pitching regional companies on coming to the Mission Inn Resort for meetings and golf trips.
The opportunity to bring companies to our Florida resort and create a memorable meeting and golf experience was something I was very proud to provide. In those days, there were fewer destination resorts in the Florida market, especially near the new Orlando attractions.
The golf industry of the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s was full of sales camaraderie, friendship and support. We often helped each other meet and exceed our shared client’s program and event needs. Over those early years, I met and was mentored by so many great people in the hotel industry. Guys like Fred Hardman, Joe Daniels, Don Porter, Eddie Dannon, and others who shared their passion and wisdom with me. They taught me to love the golf resort business and share it with new folks who have become lifelong friends and customers.
MATT WARD: When you get up in the morning what’s the driving force?
BUD BEUCHER: I want to do good; I want to see what we have built flourish. I want to serve our guests, staff members and owners to the best of my abilities. My daughter and I say “it’s another opportunity to showcase our talents.” And I believe that.
MW: What lessons did the golf industry learn from The Great Recession which ended several years ago?
BB: I think the lesson is not over. We are still learning. What we learned was that we needed supply to drop and that has happened over the last decade. Also, the weak have gone by the wayside. Now the rest of us need to look at top-line revenues in concert with expense control. Great customer service, fair pricing, and controlled costs are the order of the day.
MW: What attributes does Mission Inn Resort & Club have to attract people to leave the immediate Orlando area and come for a stay over several days?
BB: I think there are a number of them: proximity to Orlando, a return to “Real Florida,” the rolling hills and the expansive lakes, the quality of facilities, a fair value for Floridians and of course, the customer-centered focus of our staff.
MW Customer service is the main buzzword for those in the resort areas. Define the term and what meaning it has for your staff?
BB: Real simple, I say to our staff all the time about our customers — ”you have to love em, hug em, squeeze em, kiss em, thank em, and invite them back.”
MW: The facility has had a family member that’s owned and managed the property for over 50 years. What impact does that have on your overall operations and customer impact?
BB: I would like to think it has helped to shape the culture here for our staff members to strive to provide really positive family-oriented services. We truly believe that whether it is shopping, dining, or looking for an overnight experience, the independent owner is being rediscovered again by the buyer.
MW: 2017 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the facility — what activities are planned for the balance of the year to celebrate such a key milestone.
BB: We have celebrations, tournaments planned, special events, promotions. In fact, for the 21st consecutive year, we just hosted a national collegiate championship. El Campeon – the Champion – is a perfect showcase for the finest collegiate golfers in the country, let alone top PGA professionals, LPGA and PGA Tour players, and up-and-coming juniors – all of whom have played and practiced here over the years.
MW: Your biggest pet peeve is what?
BB: Wasting my time — you can’t get it back. You can get most everything else back, but not your time.
MW: Best advice received — what was it and who from?
BB: “Nothing happens until there is a sale,” said my dad.
MW: You can change one thing in golf unilaterally – what would it be and why?
BB: I would make sure the USGA, the PGA, the NGCOA and all of their members know that we need to have financially successful golf course owners in order to have financially successful pros and industry. It is my opinion that the PGA their members would benefit from having better sales expectations — and teach that at the member level for all of our sakes.
MW: Your life has involved a wide range of elements — how have they shaped you in who you are today?
BB: The first elements that shaped me as a man were some learning Issues — I was a C student. Those years were a challenge to me, for sure. I learned not to wither at failure but to push through it. Some people are frightened of making mistakes, I am not. I think the stories I heard of the success of my grandparents were lifelong inspirations for me to excel. I also heard and have been influenced by stories of the Great Depression and losing virtually everything. My Catholic upbringing has helped me to be charitable with my time for the betterment of the community where I live. Of course, I would not be the adult that I am without being married to my wife and having her complete support.