Interview – Sofia Matzourani: Aqua Vista Hotels Delivers the Best Results to Hoteliers
Aqua Vista Hotels is currently one of the leading hotel management companies in Greece and with more than 35 hotels in its portfolio, the award-winning group continues to expand and develop very successful hotel units.
Last year was a very productive one for the company as it not only added new units to its portfolio, but expanded its presence to new Greek destinations and also launched a series of seminars to share its expertise with hoteliers. This year, Aqua Vista Hotels dynamically continues its activity in the hospitality sector with the addition of more properties and also many wins for its accomplishments.
GTP Headlines recently caught up with the company’s Business Development Manager, Sofia Matzourani, and had the chance to find out more about the innovative hotel management philosophy of Aqua Vista Hotels that enables its members to secure more bookings and therefore increase revenue.
As Business Development Manager, Sofia is responsible for enlarging the Aqua Vista Hotels group by adding new hotel members within its portfolio, through marketing and brand awareness strategies.
- GTP: You are starting the new season on a high note after receiving a very prestigious award at the recent Tourism Awards. What does that signify to the Group?
Sofia Matzourani: Being recognized by our peers is very important as it acknowledges our distinct approach to hotel management and we were particularly pleased to receive the award for the third consecutive year in the category of Hotel Development, Management & Consulting, winning the Silver for a second time. Awards such as this inspire the management team of Aqua Vista Hotels to continue to raise the bar in terms of offering a high quality of service and expertise to our members.
- GTP: In terms of new collaborations, what are Aqua Vista Hotels’ goals this year?
Sofia Matzourani: We have already added a further three new properties to our portfolio and no doubt there will be more to follow. What is special about Aqua Vista Hotels is that we run units on Santorini, which is Greece’s number one destination at the moment. The availability of accommodation on the island is really not proportional to the increase in flights and ships arriving each year, bringing more and more visitors. And yet, we continue to be successful in this extremely competitive market, regardless of the strikingly disproportionate number of beds available in relation to incoming tourism.
- GTP: So how does that achievement relate to branching out to new destinations?
Sofia Matzourani: We do run properties on other islands such as Naxos, Paros, Mykonos and Skiathos, so we are not restricted only to Santorini. However, our vast experience there has given us the advantage of being able to apply our unique brand of hotel management to any destination in Greece, from the Aegean and Ionian Islands to the mainland itself. In relation to Santorini, you could say, “if you can make it there, you can make it anywhere”, and our achievements have definitely equipped us with all of the expertise and experience needed to establish a successful boutique hotel in any destination. This is something which distinguishes us from our competitors – the ability to use our innovative management model for the creation of boutique hotels no matter where they are.
- GTP: Talking of the Aqua Vista Hotels model, can you give us a little more information on how it works?
Sofia Matzourani: From the moment we enter into a new collaboration, our approach is to see each unit as a potential boutique hotel with a distinct identity that has unique selling points. It is exactly this strategy which enables our team and the hotel owner to develop very clear goals in terms of brand identity and target audience. In addition, from the initial design stage to the overall running of the hotel and handling of bookings, we use state-of-the art systems and marketing tools in order to achieve optimum results. Bookings for all of our units are managed by a central reservations department based in Athens on a 12-month basis, allowing for a complete overview of availabilities in each hotel unit in operation. It is no coincidence that our properties on Paros are already up by 300% in terms of bookings while those on Naxos have reached last year’s profit figures and it is only May!
- GTP: What was the aim of your recent visit to the United States as part of the 2nd Greek Panorama B2B Tourism Roadshow?
Sofia Matzourani: As you know, Aqua Vista Hotels was the first Greek hotel management group to have its own stand at the World Travel Market trade show in London over 10 years ago and at the ITB expo in Berlin. In both instances, we participated independently of the Greek National Tourism Organization (GNTO), unlike other companies, and took part in the shows up until last year. Throughout that time, we have forged excellent partnerships and maximized the opportunities available in order to establish many new collaborations. Having reached our goals in the European market for our hotels, the strategy now is to expand across the Atlantic and exhibit there instead. The American market is huge and has great potential, so our focus on that explains our decision to visit for a second year in a row as part of the Greek Panorama B2B Tourism Roadshow.
- GTP: What are the secrets to success of Aqua Vista Hotels?
Sofia Matzourani: What is important to bear in mind is that our aim is to increase the sales revenue of our clients. If that is achieved, then we both win! It is therefore a mutual collaboration which begins with clear objectives of how the best results can be achieved. That depends on identifying the strong points of a hotel, its unique selling points and pinpointing the correct client niche. Once all of that has been established, it needs a combination of experience, expertise and the most advanced tools on the market to create a financially viable hotel unit. I would say that the overall secret to our success is having the vision, determination and vast expertise to deliver results in increased bookings and revenue, because that is what counts at the end of the day.
- GTP: Aqua Vista Hotels launched a successful round of “Sales Seminars” last year in Greek destinations, which are also continuing this year. What is your aim through these seminars? What destinations are next and who can attend?
Sofia Matzourani: Sales Seminar is a non-profit initiative of ours, aiming to introduce to hoteliers a cutting edge way of running successfully a unit, profit-wise. During the summer we plan to visit some more Cycladic islands and in mid-summer we will announce our winter program. Any hotelier, regardless of the size or type of the unit, who wishes to get insights on how to radically increase their turnover, is welcome to attend.
Valuable co-speakers on this project are 5 fundamentally collaborating companies of AVH, the WebHotelier, Marinet Digital Marketing, Rest@rt Art Platform, Dna Travel & Alternative Tours and Greek Travel Pages.