“Face of the Week” is GTP’s 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.
“Hospitality is part of my personality and my culture. It is offering a great service, along with a genuine smile.”
Born in Athens in 1980, Dimitra Arida holds a Bachelor in Tourism Management and a Master’s Degree in Marketing & Communication. For the last 10 years, she has been working in hospitality sales & marketing with leading brands like Grecotel/Classical Hotels, Helios Hotels & Resorts, AKS Hotels, and since 2010 for Melia Athens Hotel, member of Melia Hotels International, as a Sales & Marketing Manager.
Dimitra is also an active member of the Alumni Board of the Athens University of Economics & Business (AUEB), being in charge of public relations, event management and new communication identity, among other things. She is passionate about E-Commerce and new media.
- What are the things you like best about your job and how would you describe your hospitality/tourism management philosophy?
Hospitality is part of my personality and my culture. It is offering a great service, along with a genuine smile. It’s easier said than done, but hospitality is in our everyday life. It’s in the brief communication when giving directions to a visitor in the metro or when welcoming back a business traveler who spends half his time away from home and his family. In my opinion, people affect the hospitality experience more than facilities. That’s why I love hospitality; it’s about being a genuine host and a “peoples person”!
- Have you had to face any challenges in your career to get to where you are today?
The first challenge we all face in the hotel industry is that it’s a 24/7 business. Anything may occur at any given time, because it’s not a company working 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. Also, another challenge I faced while in the MICE business, was cooperating with a lot of departments, colleagues and guests at the same time and trying to keep up everything organized to deliver quality service. Such experiences only make us better!
- In regards to hospitality and tourism, where do you think Greece needs to improve the most?
Greece has to improve its tourism and hospitality service in terms of quality. Everyone involved in the process, from airlines to ground operators, hotels, restaurants, museums, local shops etc. must realize at a point that they all part of the guest experience. This can be achieved at one level by upgrading and improving tourism education. Unfortunately there is a lack on this field.
- 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?)
My father was born and raised in Amfilochia in Aitoloakarnania and my mother is from Pontos (Black Sea). In Amfilochia during the summer nights, the sea illuminates by the glow of phosphorus, which during the day has a green-blue color and may seem blurry, not clean. But this phenomenon — which is unique in Europe and rare worldwide — it’s just zooplankton and creates a magical view of glows in the sea surface when its windy, or if you throw a rock (a great game during my childhood). For my mother’s region, I can only say that you must taste the traditional flavors!
- If you could pass on a message to the hospitality/tourism industry about Greece, what would it be?
“It’s all about hospitality”. If you create a culture, set of values and services that focus on the guest experience, you cannot go wrong. Also re-enforce universities with new courses and on-field trainings.
- What are your plans for the future?
I have the luck and pleasure to be part of Melia Hotels International as our company has a very anthropocentric culture and vision to which I best fit. I would like to continue my career in Greece or abroad in such a company. Training is also very important for me. I am already thinking of joining an MBA program, as well as keeping myself updated with the industry’s new trends.
- If you didn’t work in the tourism industry where would you be?
If I had the chance now to select another career now, I would definitely study architecture or civil engineering. I find fascinating that — in this line of business — you can create something from scratch; you begin from a design on a piece of paper and then see it materialize.
Connect with Dimitra Arida on LinkedIn