“New Faces” is a column by GTP that introduces the young professionals of the Greek tourism industry. In each column, the young Greek professionals refer to issues related to their profession, the travel & tourism sector and Greece as a destination.
“Greece needs to ‘catch’ the technological development of tourism and become a professional model, an example for the rest of the market. ”
Maria Aivalioti is General Manager of Travelotopos Ltd. She holds a BBA and a Master in Science in Marketing and Communication from Athens University of Economics and Business. She was raised on the Greek island of Naxos and her aim is to help small businesses to grow in a global market.
- What are the things you like best about your job and how would you describe your hospitality and tourism management philosophy?
My job is really exciting. The thing I like best is the launching of new updates or products. I can’t describe the excitement I feel when some drawings on a piece of paper and discussions with the developers, turn into real products. This is the part that I really love. My philosophy is to be a collaborator not a soloist. Teams achieve more, in my opinion. Synergies are essential now more than ever.
- Have you had to face any challenges in your career to get to where you are today?
Firstly, I have to say that I haven’t gotten in any remarkable place yet. I still have many paths to cross. However, I have already faced many challenges. At the start of Travelotopos I had to convince the market that our company and our products, which are very innovative and revolutionary, are necessary for businesses to turn to another level of “doing business”. Then I had to create a reliable image about me and our team, as the oldest person is 29 years old. Additionally, I constantly have to develop myself from a marketing specialist to a multitasking and skilled professional that can engage IT with marketing and business development. So, the challenges never stop and I’m sure I will face more in the future.
- In regards to tourism, where do you think Greece needs to improve the most?
Greece as a destination-product has so much to offer. Its potential is great, interesting, respectful, incredible, etc. But in my opinion Greece needs to “catch” the technological development of tourism and become a professional model, example for the rest of the market. We have amazing landscapes, delicious cuisine, historical monuments and skilled developers and web specialists. Tourism providers have to take part in the digital market and promote their work as individual brands and not only via intermediaries.
Moreover, our country has to support the tourism sector. Give incentives for investments, reduce taxes, eliminate bureaucracy and focus on urban infrastructure.
- If you could pass on a message to the hospitality industry about Greece, what would it be?
I would invite them to invest in Greece! Now is the opportunity to invest in a country that has all the elements of becoming a champion in the tourism sector. There are many investors that have taken over many major projects. We are taking all the necessary steps to become attractive for investors.
- What are your plans for the future?
This is the third year for Travelotopos and I am very happy that I see it growing, creating bonds with the local businesses and making a stronger brand. In the following years, we would like to improve our web applications, expand our relationships with our industry’s partners and complete our new revolutionary product. Our plan is to make businesses “work easier”.
- If you didn’t work in the hospitality industry where would you be?
There are many sectors that need to be developed in “a digital society”. But what inspires me the most are not sectors, but companies that are really attractive because of the revolution and the influence their brands have made in people’s perception and life. I would definitely serve technology then and the companies I admire are Oracle, IBM and APPLE of course.
Connect with Maria Aivalioti on LinkedIn