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Greek Hoteliers Must Cope with Sharing Economy, Millennials, New Technologies

By Nikos Krinis

Three parameters are triggering radical changes in today’s image of the hotel industry, Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Yiorgos Tsakiris underlined during the 1st International Hospitality Forum in Athens on Saturday.

1st International Hospitality Forum logoHeld on the sidelines of the Xenia 2017 hospitality trade show at the Metropolitan Expo exhibition center and organized by the chamber, the forum focused on strengthening the potential of Greece’s hotels against competition in accordance to the latest international developments and trends in the field of quality hospitality.

“First of all, we have the upsetting ‘invasion’ and introduction of the hosting model of the sharing economy (Airbnb-type rentals), coupled with the international prevalence of the economic trend of zero marginal costs that change our competitive environment,” Tsakiris told a room packed with hoteliers from all over Greece.

“Second, we see a change in our customer base as a result of consumer maturation of younger generations, and I am referring to the Millennials and the Generation Z, which inevitably differentiates customer demands and expectations for our services. And third, we have the universal entry of technology in the hospitality industry, he stressed.

Tsakiris underlined that important developments in the hotel profession and product are taking form as a result of the aforementioned changes. “For all of us professionals, the ‘classic figures’ of hospitality and the licensed sector, the need for change and adaptation to the new environment is not just another strategic business choice but it is a prerequisite for our survival,” Tsakiris said.

Sharing Economy: ‘The problem is more intense in Greece’

Third panel discussion: “Changing consumer behavior: a brand new marketplace”. Alexandros Angelopoulos, CEO of Aldemar Resorts; Chara Georgiadou, Ιndustry Manager at trivago for Greece, Cyprus and Turkey; Moderator Marina Protonotariou, Journalist; Olivier Henry Biabaud, CEO, TCI Research; and Tjeerd Zandberg, Researcher at European Tourism Futures Institute (ETFI) & Academy of International Hospitality Research (AIHR).

Panel 3 – “Changing consumer behavior: a brand new marketplace”: Alexandros Angelopoulos (Aldemar Resorts), Chara Georgiadou (trivago), Moderator Marina Protonotariou (Greek journalist), Olivier Henry Biabaud (TCI Research) and Tjeerd Zandberg (European Tourism Futures Institute & Academy of International Hospitality Research).

“The sharing economy sector is already competing with us directly and reliable analysts predict that in the next few years it will have covered a significant part of the hospitality and services,” the chamber’s president underlined.

Tsakiris informed the audience of tourism professionals that the problem is even more intense in Greece, as due to the state’s carelessness, a legislative framework regulating the operation of short-term private (Airbnb-type) rentals, so that they will would not compete unequally and unfairly with hotels, was launched after two and a half years.

Fourth panel discussion - “Hotel Sales and Marketing in the Tech Era”: Jean-Claude Balanos (AccorHotels), Pavlos Foskolakis (Marriott International); Moderator Maria Theofanopoulou (Greek Travel Pages), Neville Graham (Best Western Hotels & Resorts) and Agapi Sbokou (SHG).

Panel 4 – “Hotel Sales and Marketing in the Tech Era”: Jean-Claude Balanos (AccorHotels), Pavlos Foskolakis (Marriott International); Moderator Maria Theofanopoulou (Greek Travel Pages), Neville Graham (Best Western Hotels & Resorts) and Agapi Sbokou (SHG).

“As a result, this encouraged the main company of the sector of short-term private rentals, a foreign company, to impose its conditions on the tax authorities of the country with an unprecedented arrogance that really surprises us,” Tsakiris said, adding that when it comes to taxing the hotel sector the state shows “remarkable determination”.

New technologies a must for hotels

Moreover, Tsakiris said that Greek hoteliers must consider the new requirements of hospitality to move forward.

“Getting familiar and taking advantage of new technologies, taking a better approach and successfully managing our clients’ requirements, enriching hospitality with new products and better marketing, are just some of the areas where we need to focus on in order to reach our goal, which is survival,” Tsakiris said.

The 1st International Hospitality Forum hosted leading foreign and Greek experts from the tourism industry, the academic community and consulting companies who shared their expertise on four themes that focused on “Hotels in the Age of the Technology Revolution”, “New, specialized hotel products”, “Changing Consumer Behavior” and “Hotel Sales and Marketing in the Era of Technology”.

The forum was held as part of the Xenia 2017 exhibition, with the expo’s organizer, Forum SA, as a Gold Sponsor.

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About the Author
Nikos is Greek-American born in New York, USA, and has lived in Greece for over 30 years. He is the managing editor of Greece's leading monthly travel and tourism guide, the Greek Travel Pages (GTP) since June 2008 and of news site GTP Headlines since its launch in September 2012. Nikos has also served as international press officer for the City of Athens and for the mayor. He has a degree in Mass Media and Communications, specializing in Journalism. Nikos is a native English speaker and speaks Greek fluently.

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