Prominent hospitality leaders and professionals from Europe came together last month in Athens at the 1st European Luxury Hospitality Summit of the International Luxury Hotel Association (ILHA). The summit was held in partnership with Alpine Center Switzerland.
Held May 19-20, the hospitality summit gave tips to participants on how to maximize their business, grow their hotel’s revenue and stay competitive and up-to-date with the latest trends. A wide range of topics were discussed including IT and marketing, design, HR and catering.
The summit included 19 speakers, 12 information sessions, two workshops and several networking opportunities.
The summit was opened by the General Secretary of the Greek National Tourism Organization, Dimitris Tryfonopoulos and hosted by Elena Sergeeva, founder of travel blog Passion for Greece and co-founder of the Travel Bloggers Greece network.
Featured speakers included Peter Fulton, Group President Hyatt International EAME/Southwest Asia, who gave a presentation on the future of food and beverage in luxury hotels.
Mr Fulton underlined that many hotels “are sitting on empty restaurants”, with guests flocking elsewhere to eat. He advised hotels to “let chefs be more creative” and to hire employees within the market they are trying to serve. “For example, if your target is millennials, hotels should have more millennials on staff”, he said.
Georgios Drakopoulos, the president and CEO of Tourism Generis and Special Adviser to the Secretary General of the UNWTO, gave a speech on “Managing Tourism in Times of Crisis.”
Mr Drakopoulos addressed the impact of a country’s economic turmoil and how Greece is struggling with “talent shortage” and “lack of expertise” as qualified professionals are leaving the country.
The chairman of Historic Hotels of Europe, Barbara Avdis, presented “Historic Hotels: The Art of Understated Luxury & Emotional Experience.” Ms Avdis focused on the role emotions play in creating memories and building relationships with guests. “As guardians of the stories and places of the past and hosts of the present, we treasure our History and wish to preserve it,” she said.
Carina Svensen, the Global Brand Director of Quorvus Collection, presented a highly engaging session on “The New Definition of Luxury” and gave the audience a better understanding of how to create memorable experiences for their guests. “Modern luxury has experienced fundamental shifts and hotels need to adopt a more multicultural mindset”, she said.
The International Luxury Hotel Association (ILHA) is the preeminent organization unifying, promoting and advancing the luxury hospitality industry. It is a global non-profit connecting hotel and travel professionals in more than 90 countries. The ILHA provides its members with the valuable resources and insights to ensure they stay competitive in the luxury hospitality industry.
This was the first time ILHA organized a European summit.
“I would like to extend a special thanks to our hosts Eric and Sybill Hofmann of the Alpine Center, Swiss Business School for Hotel & Tourism Management. They worked round-the-clock to ensure the event’s success”, said ILHA’s president, Barak Hirschowitz.