“New Faces” is a column by GTP that introduces the young professionals of the Greek tourism industry. In each column, the Greek professionals refer to issues related to their profession, the travel & tourism sector and Greece as a destination.
“…We should all try to create genuine hospitality experiences. Get off the beaten track! … We should invest further in our tourism capacity, potential, talent and know how.”
Theodore Katis was born in Piraeus in 1978 and is a graduate of the School of Tourism Education of Rhodes (ASTER) and of the University of Surrey, from where he received a MSc in International Hotel Management. After his studies, Theodore began his training in hospitality at the famed Astir Palace resort in the southern Athens suburb of Vouliagmeni and in 2001 he was employed at the Metropolitan hotel of the Chandris Group. In 2003 and for a year, he offered his services to the Athens 2004 Olympic Organizing Committee at the Sponsors Hospitality Center. In November 2004 he joined the Yes! Hotels & Restaurants group and having passed through the positions of Front Office Receptionist, Sales Executive and Sales Manager, today Theodore is the group’s Director of Sales. Leading a team of six, Theodore focuses on strengthening the Group’s international presence abroad. He speaks fluent English and Spanish.
- What are the things you like best about your job and how would you describe your hospitality and tourism management philosophy?
Sales in the hospitality industry is a complex procedure and offers multiple astonishing experiences. I like interacting with people of different personalities. I appreciate learning facts and networking with other sectors and industries. I enjoy promoting our hotels, Athens and Greece abroad. Management philosophy focuses in actively listening to the needs of our guests and associates, always being flexible and available to them. Consequently, we emphasize in enhancing team work, encouraging initiatives and unconditionally transferring knowledge and experience to younger colleagues.
- Have you had to face any challenges in your career to get to where you are today?
Yes!Hotels is not classic, not conventional, not conservative, not international branded. It is an independent Greek company which opened five properties (New Hotel, Periscope Hotel, Semiramis Hotel, The Kefalari Suites and Twentyone Hotel) within 10 years offering a different hospitality approach. Creating brand awareness and loyal clientele in Greece and abroad, for the first contemporary design hotel group of Greece, was the biggest challenge since the beginning in 2004.
- In regards to hospitality, where do you think Greece needs to improve the most?
I am not going to refer to something new: Branding and Education. Investing in a long-term tourism strategy, designed by tourism professionals, supporting it and actively applying it. All political parties should commit to that and not change it annually. In addition, public tourism education is very important, it needs to be upgraded in all levels and produce specialized and high class future tourism professionals. The Tourism School of Rhodes used to have foreign students between the 60s and the 80s! Shouldn’t this be the norm for a sector contributing directly and indirectly 20% of GDP?
- 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?)
The mountain of Hymettus. An abundant pine forest, part of Natura 2000 network, with very rich flora (650 species) and fauna (115 species). Located only 6km away from Syntagma, Hymettus offers 33 trails for trekking and mountain bike (sports, alternative and nature tourism), 6 historic Byzantine Monasteries and the Basilica of San Marco (religious tourism), 1 Botanic Pathway and numerous spots for free play, picnic (family tourism), corporate games and team building events. Foreign travel agents and corporate accounts, all express their surprise for Greece not promoting these alternative natural activities. I strongly believe that Hymettus (together with the development of other natural areas in Attica, such as the long desired renovations of the Tatoi Estate & Hellenikon Airport) has the potential to contribute to the prolongation of the average stay in Athens.
- If you could pass on a message to the hospitality industry about Greece, what would it be?
I would say that we should all try to create genuine hospitality experiences. Get off the beaten track! Our country has a hard-working tourism workforce and the sector has much more to offer. We should invest further in our tourism capacity, potential, talent and know how.
- What are your plans for the future?
My plan is to always improve myself through continuous new knowledge and education. My plan is to always offer my services to inspiring companies that appreciate the importance of human factor, to successful leaderships of efficiency and integrity and to quality colleagues that guarantee a fruitful and healthy working environment. I consider the above main ingredients for personal and corporate growth.
- If you didn’t work in the hospitality industry where would you be?
The shipping industry! Another major contributor to our economy. I grew up in Piraeus, my father still works for a big shipping company, I was always hearing about issues and developments of the sector at home and I admire the supremacy of the largest commercial fleet in the world.
Connect with Theodoros Katis on LinkedIn