Grímur Sæmundsen

“Blue Lagoon grows with the community and the community grows along with it.“

Even though there was a great uncertainty around air traffic at the beginning of the year, 2019 started off well. WOW Air accounted for 30% of all travelers to Iceland, but when the company filed for bankruptcy at the end of March, travelers to the country reduced to 14%. Despite that, Blue Lagoon‘s earnings increased by approximately 2%.

2018 was a year of development and growth, as Blue Lagoon opened its doors to the Retreat and two new restaurants. 2019 can be seen as a year of improving efficiency in operations, streamlining the business, and paving the way for further marketing efforts for Blue Lagoon Skin Care products.

Despite a challenging business environment in year-end 2019, no one could foresee what was to come. Bad weather conditions affected bookings in the beginning of 2020, resulting in cancellations and amendments. Following the poor weather conditions, there was new activity from the Þorbjörn volcano near Svartsengi, where Blue Lagoon is located. Shortly thereafter, news about a highly contagious virus discovered in Asia started circulating. Almost immediately, this virus (COVID-19) became a global pandemic. Consequently, the Blue Lagoon shut down its operations on the 23rd of March due to worldwide travel restrictions as well as the social restrictions set in place in Iceland. Blue Lagoon’s operations remained closed until the 19th of June, when we reopened for select international and domestic guests. By that time, Blue Lagoon had remained closed for three months with almost no income.

“Special focus on digital experience, implementation of new business systems, and business optimization was the mission for 2019 as well as preparation for marketing efforts for Blue Lagoon’s Skin Care products.”

In 2019, Blue Lagoon welcomed around one million guests—a slight decrease in guests compared to the previous year, which was rooted in the general decrease in travelers to the country. However, the average earnings per guest were higher, mainly because of novelties and the development in service offerings.

2019 was the first full year for the Retreat Hotel, Retreat Spa, and Moss Restaurant and the operations for each were successful. The Retreat has been very well received amongst guests and has received many domestic and international awards for design, service, architecture, and its unique environment. Moss Restaurant has attained deserved attention, is highly praised by guests and food critics, and was awarded by the Michelin Guide for its unique food experience and excellent service.

Highly engaged and qualified employees are Blue Lagoon’s most valuable resource; their strength lies within their diverse background in education, culture, and ethnicity. At the end of 2019, Blue Lagoon employed 809 people of 40 different ethnicities, all of whom are an important part of Blue Lagoon’s experience.

Periodically, we measure our guests’ satisfaction and our NPS score was 53.2 points which not only indicates guest satisfaction, but also how likely they are to recommend Blue Lagoon to family and friends. This score is very good in international comparison and is like the previous year’s score. It is safe to say that we have lived up to our guests’ expectations at Retreat Spa as the NPS score was roughly 84 points last year, which is extremely good in international comparison.

Blue Lagoon puts great emphasis on education and job development and continuously finds new ways to further educate employees, thus creating a strong and successful team. In 2019 a new digital educational platform was implemented, which is now a part of Blue Lagoon Academy. The platform has made education and courses readily accessible and is tailor- made for our employees. We are proud to say that in 2019, 60 employees transitioned within the company between departments or received promotions.

“One of the management team’s main tasks now is to run and successfully guide the company through these uncertain times. When this is over, we are going to stand strong and lead the Icelandic Travel Industry’s comeback.”

Since its founding, Blue Lagoon Iceland has put a great emphasis on social responsibility. The company’s approach to this commitment has continually developed alongside the growth of the Blue Lagoon and the community. In 2018, an interdisciplinary social responsibility group was formed within the company to focus on better integrating this discipline throughout the value chain, evolve the company’s direction on social matters, and improve performance indicators with social and environmental projects. In the annual report for 2019, we include—for the first time—the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives that derive from the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards. The CSR report outlines the company’s performance and environmental effects in 2019 in correlation to the GRI’s sustainability criteria. In 2019, Blue Lagoon’s supplier purchases accounted for four billion ISK. Of that cost, around one billion ISK was purchased from suppliers in Reykjanes, half of which are located in Grindavik.

Over the last few years Blue Lagoon’s Directors have led the company responsibly, resulting in a solid foundation. Now, one of the management team’s main tasks is to run and successfully guide the company through these uncertain times. When this is over, we are going to stand strong and lead the Iceland Travel Industry’s comeback.

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