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‘SWOT Aims to be One Step Ahead’ – Interview with Panos Constantinidis

“My aim is to build strong business partners and customer relationships, always targeting the highest financial performance for our clients,” says Panos Constantinidis, regarding his new role as Senior Partner Sales & Marketing for the tourism enterprises development company Simple Way of Tourism (SWOT).

A known figure in the tourism industry since the late 1990’s, Constantinidis has embraced his new role and is getting ready for the company’s 6th Business Travel Professionals Forum (BTPF) B2B event, which will take place November 1-2 at the new Grand Hyatt Athens.

“Our goal is very specific, we want to have the most effective networking event of the tourism industry in the country, where in just 2 days the hotels can meet more than 200 companies, travel agents, PCOs / DMCs, event organizers and foreign hosted buyers,” he tells GTP Headlines, adding that the event’s plan is similar to SWOT’s plan: to be “every year one step ahead”.

While getting ready with SWOT to offer the best networking opportunities between Greek hotel entrepreneurs, leading tourism enterprises and travel agencies at the 6th BTPF, Constantinidis took the time to analyze the event’s concept and focus this year.

He also gives us an update on SWOT’s future plans, which includes the management of a hotel on Mykonos, which the company will operate under Marriott’s Autograph Collection flag.

“Our success reflects the success of our clients to whom we constantly deliver immediate results…” – Panos Constantinidis

GTP: Panagiotis, please share some career highlights with our readers.

Panos Constantinidis: All of my roles, from the early years of my career, offered me great experiences.
I started in 1997 at the Grande Bretagne, which was managed by Starwood, and lived a significant experience. Joining Sofitel Athens Airport when it opened in 2001 was also something unique, followed by my position as Cluster Director of Sales at Classical Hotels, which has added value to my strategic thinking, knowledge and made me understand how to analyze and handle complex situations. All these helped me succeed during the period after 2010, where the financial crisis influenced hotels’ sales and financial performance. The most important role, however, until now is my new role at SWOT, where I must further increase the revenues of the hotels within our ever-growing portfolio.

GTP: You were recently appointed to the role of Senior Partner for the management of the sales and marketing services of the tourism enterprises development company Simple Way of Tourism (SWOT). How demanding is this position and what are your aims in your new role?

Panos Constantinidis: The specific position is the most exciting and demanding one until now as I feel like I have to give exams on a monthly basis to a growing and demanding portfolio of hotels. Our success reflects the success of our clients to whom we constantly deliver immediate results based on custom-tailored marketing and sales action plans that we design and implement for each hotel. By doing this we succeed to increase revenue both by increasing penetration in the local commercial market that is still recovering, and by developing new international markets that depict the maximum fit to the offering of each hotel. My aim is to build strong business partners and customer relationships always targeting the highest financial performance for our clients.

“All these years the BTPF event has a great satisfactory level from each participant…” – Panos Constantinidis

GTP: Your move to SWOT coincides with the company’s 6th Business Travel Professionals Forum (BTPF) B2B event (to be held in November), which seems to have been embraced warmly by the Greek hospitality industry. What is SWOT’s goal regarding the BTPF concept?

Panos Constantinidis: Having the experience of similar events abroad all these years, we strongly believe that the specific concept of BTPF is the only that can work with immediate results for both the sellers and the buyers. Our goal is very specific, we want to have the most effective networking event of tourism industry in the country where in just 2 days the hotels can meet more than 200 companies, travel agents, PCOs / DMCs, event organizers and foreign hosted buyers. Every year we are framing the event with additional actions such as seminars, speeches and networking activities. And more will come. BTPF’s plan is similar to our company’s plan: “every year one step ahead”.

GTP: The event is in its sixth year. How is it evolving to meet the demands of today’s business environment? What should we expect in terms of participation this year?

Panos Constantinidis: BTPF was created to meet tomorrow’s needs. Speed dates, many and effective meetings within a limited time frame giving the hotels and buyers the opportunity to network for the coming season. All these years the specific event has a great satisfactory level from each participant, which is easy to confirm from the percentage of repeated exhibitors (approximately 83 percent) and buyers (90 percent). As a result, this year, the event will grow more in terms of exhibitors and the buyers will even be more considering also a 60 percent increase of foreign buyers that we will host for 2 days in Athens. So, we expect more meetings, new contacts, new markets and much more materialized business.

GTP: What are SWOT’s future plans and what more will it provide to its customers?

Panos Constantinidis: Our 3 main pillars where we will invest more within 2019 are:
– The Sales & Marketing representation, to which we added this year the Yield and Social Media Management, tailormade actions for each hotel, open new international markets,
– The Hotel Management. We recently signed a significant contract for an amazing property on Mykonos which we will operate under Marriott’s Autograph Collection flag,
– The Advisory, through which we assist both investors, financial institutions and hoteliers increase financial visibility, assess financial and operational performance and understand feasibility and value. The advisory division provides strategic, financial and operational consultation and offers products such as valuation reports, feasibility studies and restructuring plans.

GTP: What do your member hotels expect in regards to this year’s Greek tourism season and what is the “feeling” for 2019?

Panos Constantinidis: The general feeling for 2019 is that we are now entering a stabilized period where we will gradually see a stabilization on YoY growth figures in sales. This means that more professional and focused sales and marketing efforts are needed. We advise our clients to stay alert and we design strategies with high ROI and closely monitor their implementation to avoid negative surprises within 2019.

For updates on the BTPF 2018 event by SWOT, press here.

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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