Google is aiming this year to educate over 30,000 Greek tourism professionals on the sales potential of the Internet through its ambitious Grow Greek Tourism Online initiative, it was announced on Wednesday during a press conference in Athens.
In its third year, the Google training project, aims to boost the online presence of Greek tourism professionals and their businesses through ongoing training in the use of online technology and help attract visitors all year round.
In 2014 and 2015, over 10,000 Greek SMEs developed their digital skills through Google’s special seminars and online training sessions.
Google takes a step further for Greek tourism in 2016
Aiming to educate three times more Greek professionals this year compared to the two previous years, Google announced that the initiative has been expanded through two new services.
– Grow Greek Tourism Online Advisors: The Grow Greek Tourism Online initiative now offers a new service, through which a group of 20 Google-trained experts — online advisors — will travel to 30 destinations of the country’s 13 regions to update and train travel professionals without any cost.
– Free online training platform: Google also launched a free online education platform for tourism professionals. Through a wide range of topics, professionals can be trained for everything they need to know, such as how to improve their presence on the web and how to adopt the best digital marketing practices. Users can additionally choose a customized learning plan to receive a certificate of attendance by the Grow Greek Tourism Online initiative and IAB Europe (Interactive Advertising Bureau).
“The Internet can be a powerful ally to society, helping both young professionals and businesses grow”, said Grigoris Zarifopoulos, the Country Manager Google for Greece, Cyprus and Malta.
According to Google, the travel industry worldwide is booming through the Internet, as 37 percent of total sales in Europe are now carried out online. At the same time, online searches for “Travel to Greece” grew by 19 percent compared to last year, while the corresponding increase for searches from mobile devices reached 72 percent. However, Greek tourism enterprises are not using the potential of the Internet to its fullest as only eight percent of the country’s hotels accept online reservations via their website.
“Through the Grow Greek Tourism Online initiative, we at Google confirm our commitment to enhance the digital skills of the Greeks and we invite Greek enterprises to use the power of the Internet and the digital economy to improve their businesses”, Mr Zarifopoulos said.
During the press conference, two Greek companies that took advantage of Google’s previous training sessions presented their results.
Antonis Fiorakis from Incrediblue, an online platform for fully customisable yachting holidays, saw his sales increase after he was trained to use online tools that helped him “count” the online behavior data of his web visitors. “I was thrilled with the volume of data available. I found details about my clients, which helped increase my sales by six times.”
Dimitris Bistolas from Key Tours, an online platform that reaches travellers interested in visiting places of cultural interest in Greece, received training on AdWords and Google Analytics. “By using digital tools, our turnover has doubled from year to year, for two consecutive years (2013 and 2014), while in 2015 we closed the year with a 15 percent profit.”