GTP has launched a weekly column that introduces the young professionals of the Greek hospitality industry. Every week, a young Greek professional will refer to issues related to their profession, the travel & tourism sector and Greece as a destination.
“If you are not facing challenges, you are going the wrong way.”
All of Konstantinos’ pre- and post-graduate studies have been about tourism, with a strong tendency towards electronic marketing. He has an academic and research background but in recent years has mainly worked in e-commerce for the hospitality industry as well as for a major online booking company.
At the moment, Konstantinos is contributing his efforts to a start-up company that utilizes innovation in the development of certain niche markets in Greek tourism.
- What are the things you like best about your job and how would you describe your hospitality and tourism management philosophy?
I love innovation and spotting opportunities to develop products and services that fill gaps in the market, which are not all too apparent at first but are there whatsoever.
My main hospitality and tourism management rule is that effective, long-term market growth cannot be achieved without involving the local community to achieve something sustainable; whether it be personnel, local products and services, a viable tourism entity must be interwoven with its local community and provide but also receive crucial benefits from it.
- Have you had to face any challenges in your career to get to where you are today?
I have been lucky enough to have faced many challenges so far and by my estimation there are even more to be expected. I strongly believe that if you are not facing challenges, you are going the wrong way. There are no standard procedures or rules to breaking new ground, so you have to strive to create those.
- In regards to hospitality, where do you think Greece needs to improve the most?
The Greek hospitality sector as a whole still has trouble getting on with the times, improving its services but also enhancing its marketing and sales by fully embracing the Internet as a means for both. While this is given for the rest of the world, sadly enough the Internet as a means for marketing and most importantly sales, is still regarded as a novelty by the majority of the Greek hospitality stakeholders, being only partly utilized at best — with some bright exceptions, thankfully.
While tourism has been the first and still most prominent online market since the beginning of the Internet, Greece has yet to properly tap its potential, whether from a state/National Tourism Organization or private sector standpoint, while considerable sums of money are being spent on a slew of bad practices.
- What is your region’s best kept “secret”? (In other words, what shouldn’t be a secret in your opinion and should be promoted more abroad?)
As I consider both Athens and Thessaloniki as my “region”, the best kept secret and at the same time, most underdeveloped aspect of both cities are the coastal regions adjacent to them. With proper development and promotion there could be a boom in visitors by effectively combining seaside and city tourism in their geographical area.
- If you could pass on a message to the global hospitality and tourism industry about Greece, what would it be?
With proper entrepreneurship and determination to work around the ills of the state, the potential is great and hardly reached yet. There are still many untapped markets and niches within each market to be developed and fully actualized.
- What are your plans for the future?
I’ll keep facing challenges ahead until I have created something of relative meaning to me and those around me. If all that fails, I will opt for a quiet and simple life however I can get it.
- If you didn’t work in the hospitality industry where would you be?
Probably traveling around, attending musical festivals around the world and writing. On second thought, why am I not doing this already?
Connect with Konstantinos Riavoglou on LinkedIn