“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.
“I think Greece’s best kept secret is that it is ‘Open’ around the year. To really create year-round tourism, more promotion needs to be given to Greece’s Gastronomy Tourism, Active Leisure Tourism and Medical Tourism.”
Born in the U.S. and living in Greece since 2003, John currently serves as Deputy Sales & Marketing Manager for Spyrou Hotels and Spyrou Philoxenia. He is originally from the Greek island of Andros. John studied International Business, International Studies, and Marketing, holding three Bachelor of Science degrees from The Pennsylvania State University. His diverse background includes internet companies, broadcast television, start ups, and travel & tourism. At Spyrou Hotels and Spyrou Philoxenia, John is responsible for creating sales and marketing strategies for their own properties in addition to their affiliate member properties.
- What are the things you like best about your job and how would you describe your hospitality and tourism management philosophy?
Onboarding a new property is always a new challenge which keeps my work interesting. What I enjoy the most is the conceptualization of the marketing strategy for each new property. When working with new properties, my philosophy is to listen as each story and experience is unique. Having an open, honest, and continuous communication is as crucial as with any new relationship. However, my passion is destination marketing and highlighting the uniqueness of each area I work with.
- Have you had to face any challenges in your career to get to where you are today?
Having worked in media and then in travel, there were inherent challenges due to the differences in the industries. My experiences in travelling from a very young age helped me in this transition. Specific to travel, I had to face difficult questions and hesitations from potential guests to destinations such as Egypt during their instability and Greece in crisis. It is tests like these which shape people in tourism and enable them to gain knowledge and experiences.
- In regards to hospitality, where do you think Greece needs to improve the most?
There is room for improvement in infrastructure, accessibility, organization, and synergies. Greece needs public and private sector cooperation working on an organized and unified front with a short and long term plan. There are countless individual efforts which are currently getting lost in the noise. We need to work together as a collective, even if this is on a regional level at first. Though progress may feel slow, I believe that we are moving in the right direction. We need to stop being so critical to the point of becoming negative. We need to step back and focus again on the basics of hospitality or Philoxenia, one of the main principals of our cultural identity.
- 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?)
I work with hotels located in regions throughout Greece, many of which operate around the year. Unfortunately, I think Greece’s best kept secret is that it is “Open” around the year. To really create year-round tourism, more promotion needs to be given to Greece’s Gastronomy Tourism, Active Leisure Tourism, and Medical Tourism. Additionally, Greece is a very safe destination and this message needs to be passed as well.
- If you could pass on a message to the hospitality industry about Greece, what would it be?
Forget the stereotypical thoughts about Athens, Sea & Sun, and Crisis. Crete had done an outstanding job through their campaigns and videos dispelling the “evils” during the economic crisis. Here is an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oj06RMIo_Cc
- What are your plans for the future?
Continuing to work with hotels and destinations in helping them find their voice. There is no greater joy than knowing you have played a role in introducing your country/region/hotel/etc. to visitors from abroad and having helped to create life-long memories through great experiences. We are all brand ambassadors so I plan on keeping up the good fight.
- If you didn’t work in the hospitality industry where would you be?
Through my experience in travel and media, I have realized that both of these industries have many similarities. They are both means offering relaxation, entertainment, stimulation, communication, and education. Media would be the other.
Connect with John Grigoras on LinkedIn