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Hotel Chamber Paves the Way to a ‘New Greece’ Through Hospitality Forum

Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos.

Hellenic Chamber of Hotels President Alexandros Vassilikos.

Greek hoteliers gain valuable insight on the new digital revolution

The Hellenic Chamber of Hotels is moving forward with determination to turn the page and welcome the “New Greece” for tourism, following the difficult years of austerity and surveillance programs.

“The ‘New Greece’, which we all hope to see after this great adventure of the crisis, is really in our hands,” the chamber’s president, Alexandros Vassilikos, said during his opening speech at the 2nd International Hospitality Forum, a leading institution of dialogue, information, updates and exchange of expertise for the Greek hospitality industry.

An initiative of the chamber and held for the second year, the forum took place on Saturday, during the  Xenia 2018 hospitality trade show in Athens.

As highlighted by Vassilikos, the forum’s overall concept was based on five pillars to help lead the sector to a ‘New Greece’, a Greece that will not be followed by past bad habits of convenience.

“Five pillars that can make a big difference between yesterday and tomorrow… Creativity, Extroversion, Cooperation, Immediacy and Solidarity. Five pillars on which tourism has proven itself and can give much more, as it builds upon them a new vision of the country for the 21st century,” the chamber’s president said.

Among the issues touched during the 2nd International Hospitality Forum, were the global trends that are expected to shape and determine the future of hospitality in Greece, new digital channels for the sale and distribution of the hotel product, as well as new investments that are essential for the industry.

Panel 1 - "New Hotel Investments: Appetite & Obstacles" - Speakers: Dr. Andreas Andreadis, CEO Sani/Ikos Group; Stylianos Koutsivitis, Vice President & CEO, Astir Palace Vouliagmenis S.A.; Spyros Spyropoulos, Senior Advisor, Oaktree Capital Management. Moderator: Constantinos Davlos, Financial Analyst SKAI.

Panel 1 - "New Hotel Investments: Appetite & Obstacles" - Speakers: Dr. Andreas Andreadis, CEO Sani/Ikos Group; Stylianos Koutsivitis, Vice President & CEO, Astir Palace Vouliagmenis S.A.; Spyros Spyropoulos, Senior Advisor, Oaktree Capital Management. Moderator: Constantinos Davlos, Financial Analyst SKAI.

Panel 2 - "Data is the new oil: Using data to boost guest experience and hotel revenues" - Speakers: Dr. Peter O’ Connor, Senior Market Analyst, Phocuswright; Daniel Craig, Vice President of Marketing, ReviewPro; Renzo Iorio, COO, Italy & Greece, AccorHotels. Moderator: Maria Theofanopoulou, CEO, Greek Travel Pages.

Panel 2 - "Data is the new oil: Using data to boost guest experience and hotel revenues" - Speakers: Dr. Peter O’ Connor, Senior Market Analyst, Phocuswright; Daniel Craig, Vice President of Marketing, ReviewPro; Renzo Iorio, COO, Italy & Greece, AccorHotels. Moderator: Maria Theofanopoulou, CEO, Greek Travel Pages.

The forum’s program consisted of four panel discussions focused on investments, big data, digital distribution and the sharing economy and were attended by over 500 hotel owners and executives, foreign and Greek hospitality experts, prominent academics and representatives of internationally acclaimed consulting companies.

Among the main conclusions of the forum was that the creation of the ideal holiday experience at a destination is in the center of the new digital revolution in tourism and that the offered product itself continues to be the main incentive to book on online channels.

“Therefore, Greek hotels need to develop partnerships both with tour operators and local businesses to promote the destination, as this is key to the success of small hotel businesses in Greece,” according to the chamber.

Panel 3 - "Getting digital: Maximizing the new digital sales and distribution channels" - Speakers: Andreas Birner, CEO, Inova Hospitality Management; Vassiliki Mavrokefalou, Director Market Management Greece, Cyprus & East Adriatic, Expedia Group; Ruairidh Roberts, Industry Head for Travel, Google. Moderator: George Alexakis, Journalist EFSYN & Reporter.gr.

Panel 3 - "Getting digital: Maximizing the new digital sales and distribution channels" - Speakers: Andreas Birner, CEO, Inova Hospitality Management; Vassiliki Mavrokefalou, Director Market Management Greece, Cyprus & East Adriatic, Expedia Group; Ruairidh Roberts, Industry Head for Travel, Google. Moderator: George Alexakis, Journalist EFSYN & Reporter.gr.

Panel 4 - "Sharing economy: What hotels can learn" - Speakers: Prof. Stephan Gerhard, Co-Founder/Member of the Board, 25 Hours Hotels; Dr. Cindy Y. Heo, Associate Professor, École Hôtelière de Lausanne; Andreas Koukas, Senior Manager, Luxury EMEA, Hilton; Jérôme Lassara, VP Development South Europe, AccorHotels. Moderator: Dr. Panagiotis Prontzas, Director, Grant Thornton Greece

Panel 4 - "Sharing economy: What hotels can learn" - Speakers: Prof. Stephan Gerhard, Co-Founder/Member of the Board, 25 Hours Hotels; Dr. Cindy Y. Heo, Associate Professor, École Hôtelière de Lausanne; Andreas Koukas, Senior Manager, Luxury EMEA, Hilton; Jérôme Lassara, VP Development South Europe, AccorHotels. Moderator: Dr. Panagiotis Prontzas, Director, Grant Thornton Greece

During the forum, it was also underlined that appropriate content is essential to boost hotel sales and that a particular focus should be placed on the “experiences” that both the destination and the tourism enterprise itself can offer customers.

Moreover, it was made clear that a hotel’s digital marketing strategy must evolve around the concept of the offered product and that the use of modern technology tools for the creation of promotional content is of great importance.

The Greek Travel Pages (GTP)  was a Media Sponsor to the 2nd International Hospitality Forum.

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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