GTP has launched a weekly column that introduces the young professionals of the Greek tourism industry. Every week, a young Greek professional will refer to issues related to their profession, the travel & tourism sector and Greece as a destination.
“Challenges are the path to evolve and develop both in our personal and our professional lives.”
Born in Athens in 1987, Vassilis Polyzos is a graduate of Business Administration and a holder of a Master’s Degree in International Marketing. His working experience has always revolved around tourism, in the fields of New Technologies and Marketing.
For the past year Vassilis is the Head of Digital Marketing at Nelios, a Hotel Digital Strategy Agency. Previously, he worked at Aldemar Resorts, as a Communication Coordinator.
Vassilis also serves as a World Food Travel Association Ambassador in Greece and is the founder of Tasty Greece, a website about food and wine tourism in Greece. His publications and research on Traveling Behavior, Online Marketing and Alternative Tourism have been well received and were considered very thorough.
- What are the things you like best about your job and how would you describe your hospitality/tourism management philosophy?
Those of us who work, directly or indirectly, in the Greek hospitality industry, are part of a general effort that extends even to our personal lives. Hospitality isn’t constrained in the lodging, transportation or food fields, not even in their combination. Hospitality is everything about the personal relation and communication with the people who visit our country, all the time. It is exactly this relation that we must encourage and excel in, with regard to enhance our country’s reputation abroad and showcase its beauty. Hospitality is culture. It is this very sense of culture that we serve and that leads our industry.
- Have you had to face any challenges in your career to get to where you are today?
Challenges are the path to evolve and develop both in our personal and our professional lives. Every day I go to work, I face new challenges and learn something new. The field of my profession, which stands with one foot on tourism and with the other on technology, is constantly changing and transforming, forcing me to always be on alert. “Adaptation” is the buzzword of our times.
- In regards to hospitality and tourism, where do you think Greece needs to improve the most?
It is my belief that in Greece we need to focus more on our services, on further development of alternative forms of tourism, and on moving our businesses online in a thorough and methodical manner. These steps would swiftly take us away from the juggernaut of mass tourism which, in my opinion, burdens not only Greek tourism businesses but also our natural environment.
- Which region of Greece are you from and which is its best kept “secret”? (In other words, what shouldn’t be a secret in your opinion and should be promoted more abroad?)
I’m one half from Aitoloakarnania and one half from Lakonia, the prefecture of Sparta, but I’d focus on my latter half, and to be more specific, to the village of Skoutari, in Lakonia, where I took my first steps, under the vigilant watch of my beloved Gran. It is a blessed piece of land, with breathtaking changes in its beautiful unspoiled natural landscape: unique beaches, rocky ground, stone built tower-houses and the scent of thyme that fills your lungs. But its true secret lies in its people: honest and blatant, a trait we come across less and less often these days.
- If you could pass on a message to the hospitality/tourism industry about Greece, what would it be?
If I could pass a message to all the people who work in the hospitality industry, it would be to never forget that each and every one of them is part of a combined effort and a common goal. They should encourage collaborations, be more environmentally aware, make room for younger people and fresh ideas, give emphasis to online marketing, take better care of their destination, but most of all improve their offerings and services to their clients.
- What are your plans for the future?
We’re doing an excellent job at Nelios, and I’m really happy to be part of its team. We want to encourage Greek hoteliers to take a more dynamic approach online, in order to increase their direct bookings, enhance the traveler’s experiences and feature them. I’d say that we’re currently on the verge of a “technological revolution” in Greek tourism, the benefits of it we’ll be able to enjoy as a country in a few years. This is the direction we’re heading to and this is what leads our — and thus my — steps.
- If you didn’t work in the tourism industry where would you be?
I’d probably be playing professional basketball! Five years ago my athletic career came to an abrupt end, when an accident left my Achilles tendon severely damaged, forcing me to abandon my basketball dreams and rethink about my future. But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and being an athlete helped me define my character and the way I overcome any difficulties I now face at work.
Connect with Vassilis Polyzos on LinkedIn