“New Faces” is a column by GTP that introduces the young professionals of the Greek tourism industry. In each column, the young Greek professionals refer to issues related to their profession, the travel & tourism sector and Greece as a destination.
“…Athens is a breathtaking city. It’s a ‘feast’ for the senses. The Greek capital has the ability to “teleport” you to ancient times… but also offer numerous experiences as a modern European city.”
Anastasia Gogali was born in Athens and is a graduate of the School of Tourism Education of Agios Nikolaos (ASTEAN). She holds a Master degree from Manchester University, from where she received a MSc in International Management. With over 18 years of experience in the hotel and tourism sector, Anastasia has worked for many local and international brands. Following her studies, Anastasia was employed at the Electra Palace of the Electra Group. Her career in the Greek tourism industry includes positions at President Hotel, Grand Hotel Palace and Porto Carras. In 2016 she joined the team formed by the partnership of Zeus International and Wyndham Hotels and Resorts. Covering the position of Sales Manager, Anastasia contributed to Zeus International’s and Wyndham’s expansion in the Greek tourism industry. In May 2019 she joined the team of the Grand Hyatt Athens as Sales Manager and focuses on strengthening the Group’s international presence in the local and international market.
- What are the things you like best about your job and how would you describe your hospitality and tourism management philosophy?
Diversity and variety are the key factors that make my daily working routine so much enjoyable. I like working with people of different nationalities, cultures and backgrounds. Therefore, creativity and pleasure is abundant at my workplace. My hospitality philosophy is “Hospitality is simply an opportunity to show love and care”. As I happen to be a really hospitable person, I must say that I totally agree with Sir Richard Branson, who once said: “The key is to set realistic customer expectations and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them — preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.” Since our business is a customer-based one, I always aim for customers to feel completely satisfied and always have big smiles. A satisfied costumer is the best advertisement for a hotel.
- Have you had to face any challenges in your career to get to where you are today?
There are quite many challenges in hospitality since it is an industry that evolves continuously, making it very demanding to follow. It is my firm belief that every challenge proves to be a unique chance to boost yourself, improve your current working status and bring you a step closer to higher professional paths. Every day you may have to face a new challenge. Trying your best every day makes challenges pleasant. However, the most essential challenge was having to collaborate with people of different backgrounds, trying to adapt and cooperate in order to accomplish the best possible results.
- In regards to hospitality, where do you think Greece needs to improve the most?
Since our economy primarily depends on the tourism industry, Greece’s tourism and hospitality industry needs to be improved in terms of quality and tourism education. Also, infrastructure in Greece is in need of improvement. We should take into serious consideration all the critical aspects of the country’s infrastructure, ranging from hotels, shipping ports, airports, railway links to road network. Provided that we make necessary improvements, we will be able to create better circumstances for the benefit of our country. Moreover, I strongly believe that alternative tourism, agrοtourism and medical tourism are fields that we should urgently focus on and develop.
- What would you say is Greece’s best kept “secret”? (In other words, what shouldn’t be a secret in your opinion and should be promoted more abroad?)
Greece is an internationally well-known tourism destination for all tastes and budgets. It also provides an all year experience to all travelers and can satisfy everyone’s needs, whether they holiday in the city center, in traditional villages, or on the islands. The “Land of 12 Gods” is a motto to promote and this way combine Greek mythology with a climate ideal for 365 days of unforgettable experiences while on holiday.
- What is your favorite destination in Greece and why?
For me Athens is a breathtaking city. It’s a “feast” for the senses. The Greek capital has the ability to “teleport” you to ancient times, thanks to the Acropolis and other impressive monuments in the city. But on the other hand, Athens also offers numerous experiences as a modern European city. At this point, I would like to mention a “hot” trend that has emerged in the last few years: the rooftop bars. I must, of course, mention Plaka, the oldest neighborhood of Athens. There you can walk through cobblestone alleys between neoclassical houses, sunny squares, many souvenir shops and traditional restaurants.
- If you could pass on a message to the hospitality industry about Greece, what would it be?
Greece is among the best tourism destinations in Europe and we must make sure that this doesn’t change! I believe that tourism is on a very good path and that we, as an industry, should now take the next step. Greek tourism must adapt to new international trends for it to really take off. Of course, for this to occur, the cooperation of all involved is demanded.
- What are your plans for the future?
The hospitality industry is a fast growing widespread global industry. Therefore, my goals for the future are to continue spending as much time as I can in a professionally rewarding career, and to travel as much as possible. Working hard and proving my qualifications and qualities is my ultimate purpose. Establishing myself in the Grand Hyatt Athens and doing my best to spread the word on the Hyatt chain’s services is of utmost importance. The Grand Hyatt Athens, situated on Syngrou Avenue, is a brand-new hotel that offers the ultimate hospitality experience.
- If you didn’t work in the hospitality industry where would you be?
The fields of hospitality and tourism have been experiencing a radical development worldwide and I have always wanted an exciting career, which would integrate my business and creative skills in a way, which would be more energetic, active and fun than most orthodox and boring office desk jobs. I have desired to work in this industry, which I was fervent about and I cannot think of myself doing something different. If I had to change my career, I would still opt to work in a hotel.
Connect with Anastasia Gogali on LinkedIn