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Interview – Grigoris Zorgianos: ‘Our Ambition is to Establish Mykonos Pearls as an Industry Leader’

Photo © Mykonos PearlsMykonos Pearls, a Greek luxury hospitality – property management company, is going full speed ahead with its aim to expand within Greece and make a simultaneous entry to European markets.

Based on the island of Mykonos since 2015, the company has succeeded in becoming one of the most important players in the hospitality sector of the island.

Established to offer visitors to Mykonos an excellent overall travel experience and play an important role in the destination’s international fame, Mykonos Pearls combines luxurious accommodation with highly personalized services.

“We perceive our company to be just as unique and precious as a rare, high-quality pearl and we want this value to be reflected in our villas which we intend to pinpoint as masterpiece estates in the minds of travelers, properties to which they’ll desire to return again and again,” says Grigoris Zorgianos, the company’s Head of Marketing.

Grigoris is a multichannel marketing expert with an extensive track record of success as a marketing, CRM, and loyalty program visionary for industry leading companies across multiple industries. He has demonstrated great skill in creating highly innovative business models and strategies that take major brands to new levels of performance.

In this interview, Grigoris gives us the whole story regarding Mykonos Pearls, which right now manages over 75 properties with offices in Athens and Mykonos; gives his thoughts on the 2019 season; and refers to the challenges in tourism and hospitality that need to be addressed in Greece. He also shares the company’s vision for the future, which is to establish the company’s brand name as synonymous with luxury vacations.

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

Grigoris Zorianos: I have an extensive marketing background with over 20 years of experience in high-level management positions. Most notably, I have worked as an Account Director at the marketing agency Care Direct, as a CRM & Consumer Loyalty Manager at IKEA Greece and as a Loyalty Program Manager at CRI Group. During the past 5 years, I have been responsible for designing, implementing and monitoring the marketing strategies of exceptional tourism industry leading companies such as Celestyal Cruises and Mykonos Pearls.

  • GTP: Tell us about Mykonos Pearls and its concept.

Grigoris Zorianos: Mykonos Pearls is a luxury hospitality – property management company. It was founded in 2015 and is spearheaded by a team of talented and highly skilled experts of the tourism industry. Identifying the demanding needs of the rapidly expanding hospitality market of Mykonos, we have created a company that aims to offer visitors a complete travel experience by combining luxurious accommodation with highly personalized services. Our ambition is to stand out for the quality of our services and to establish Mykonos Pearls as an undeniable industry leader.
We perceive our company to be just as unique and precious as a rare, high-quality pearl and we want this value to be reflected in our villas which we intend to pinpoint as masterpiece estates in the minds of travelers, properties to which they’ll desire to return again and again. Prior to inclusion in our portfolio, every property is submitted to a long procedure of inspections and multiple quality controls handled by our on-site team of experts. We handpick and exclusively manage all properties in our portfolio with a thorough and methodical approach that enables us to offer a standardized, high-quality product at very competitive rates and bespoke travel services that are designed to meet the needs and exceed the expectations of even the most demanding travelers.
In just a short period of time, Mykonos Pearls has succeeded in becoming one of the most important players in the hospitality sector of Mykonos. Adopting a unique hands-on approach with heavy operations focus, we have managed to grow exponentially, from a modest portfolio of two villas to more than eighty, with additional expansion plans in the near future.

  • GTP: Where and how did it all begin?

Grigoris Zorianos: The idea behind the creation of the company sprouted in 2013 when the company’s founder took a short trip to Mykonos. During the trip, he identified several difficulties that travelers were encountering and flaws which could potentially blemish their overall travel experience. Mykonos Pearls began operations in 2015 on a mission to bolster the destination’s international fame, create unique travel experiences and rejuvenate the expanding market of short-term luxury property rentals. The company started expanding its portfolio already from 2016 as a spin-off of Blueground. At the time, the company had undertaken the management of 10 properties and was staffed by 3 executives. Today, Mykonos Pearls exclusively manages more than 75 properties with offices in both Athens and Mykonos, while our team numbers more than 80 people of various professional backgrounds.

  • GTP: What problems did you encounter along the way and how did you overcome them?

Grigoris Zorianos: As is the case with every new business endeavor, we also had to face some challenges that were gradually overcome with patience, persistence and meticulous strategic planning. A crucial problem we encountered was the hesitant stance of property owners towards property management companies on the island of Mykonos where, during the recent times of economic turbulence, the market of short-term rentals became abruptly disorganized. We are very glad and take a lot of pride in the fact that most of the partners with whom we began our operations are still working with us today and have supported us in every step along the way.
In fact, during the few years of our activity, we have managed to become a reference point in the local market and property owners are now turning to us for the management of their properties. We revere the mutual relationships of trust and respect as a cornerstone for the successful operation and the progress of our company. It’s particularly important for us that our partners and clientele become brand ambassadors for Mykonos Pearls. Another significant challenge was the rapidly increasing demands developed within the context of third-party partnerships with external providers, especially during the summer months when increased traffic on the island complicates supply chain processes. Nevertheless, we managed to surmount all obstacles not only by establishing new strategic alliances but principally through vertical integration that allowed us to cover the majority of our needs internally.

  • GTP: What are your predictions for 2019?

Grigoris Zorianos: Our predictions for 2019 are very optimistic and the results we’ve had so far are substantiating our estimations. Earlier this year, we set a goal of incorporating a total of 70 properties to our portfolio, a number that was surpassed already by the start of this tourist season. As far as bookings are concerned, the data is even more emphatic. Even though we’ve set the bar higher in comparison to previous years, we have already outpaced ourselves and we are expecting to reach the goals we set for this season very soon.

  • GTP: What is Mykonos Pearls’ vision for the near future? What are the company’s plans?

Grigoris Zorianos: Our vision entails further expansion in the Greek market and a simultaneous entry to European markets with a goal to manage more than 500 properties at multiple destinations. We have set out to build a product that will meet the needs and demands of even the most discerning clientele, which will allow us to build a loyal following and establish our brand name as synonymous with luxury vacations.
Next year, we plan to launch operations in at least one international destination, always maintaining the integrity of our values and the high quality of our products and services. Our mid-term plans revolve around expanding to more than 3 European destinations and the simultaneous expansions to winter destinations.

  • GTP: What are the three major concerns you have as a hospitality professional? What challenges do you think need to be addressed in Greece?

Grigoris Zorianos: During my career within the Greek hospitality sector, I have had the chance to interact and exchange thoughts with numerous colleagues and other high-level executives, analyze different phases of the tourism activity in the country and reflect upon various aspects of the industry’s development and future. Undoubtedly, there is a lot of room for improvement in the way the industry evolves and how companies conduct their operations. My main concern is the absence of long-term strategic planning, especially in regard to the recent and ongoing boost, that could accelerate the maturation of the market. Another issue that needs to be addressed, in my opinion, is that of the cooperation between companies and DMO’s that has so far been sporadic and limited. Finally, I would like to see a focal point shift from solely relying on capitalizing on the country’s natural beauty to creating new, exciting and innovative travel products and services in order to enhance and complement it.

  • GTP: 2018 is said to have been a record year for Greek tourism. What is your impression?

Grigoris Zorianos: 2018 was indeed a great year for Greek tourism and, hopefully, there will be no downturn to this upward course in the following years. Evidently, the industry’s growth was further benefited by concurrent predicaments in the wider region. Nevertheless, as I mentioned before, I am quite skeptical when it comes to how the future of the industry will unfold, as it has been ineffectual in learning from past missteps. The majority of tourism companies in Greece lack a viable long-term plan, while their strategies mainly revolve around immediate revenue and reducing costs. Fortunately, during recent years, several new companies have emerged in the tourism market, which strive to implement sustainable practices and create fertile ground for the future prosperity of Greek tourism.

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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