The first Digital Marketing Academy for Hospitality (DMAH) is getting ready to open its doors and provide the full spectrum of digital strategic thinking that is necessary for tourism professionals to develop, refine, and implement a digital marketing plan for their hospitality business.
Launched exclusively for tourism professionals in Greece and Cyprus, the DMH Academy is a synergy between the StudySmart training organization, Greek digital marketing agency Nelios and the Cyprus International Institute of Management.
In partnership with leading tourism professionals and under the authorization of the Digital Marketing Institute (DMI), the DMH Academy offers the “Certified Digital Marketing Professional in Hospitality (CDMP / H)”, a certification that gives the opportunity to professionals to apply dynamic digital marketing practices that will boost their services and increase their profit.
GTP Headlines assembled three of the DMH Academy’s main figures to discuss details regarding the certification.
Dimitris Serifis, CEO of Nelios; Dr Constantine Dino Kyritsis, founder of StudySmart; and Costas Chandrinos, programme manager at the DMH Academy & Smart Hospitality Center (SHC), underline the need for tourism professionals to earn digital marketing credentials as challenges in the hospitality industry continue to grow at a rapid pace.
Dimitris Serifis, Nelios
“…The main rationale behind the creation of the DMH Academy is to give the people of the tourism field the possibility to acquire a better and deeper understanding of digital tools so that they can cooperate fully with their collaborators…”
- GTP: Mr. Serifis, which identified need led to the creation of this academy and what gap in the market does it come to fill?
Dimitris Serifis: We interact with Greek hoteliers and executives of the tourism sector through our daily work routine and for over a decade now. And what we have identified is always current: there is a lack of understanding regarding digital marketing tools within the industry.
Today more than ever, while the discussion about redistributing and remediating sales channels is a ‘hot’ topic, hoteliers and executives that handle marketing and sales feel the need to bridge that knowledge gap. Until now they only had two choices: either study it academically or try to learn the ins and outs through various one or few day seminars that unfortunately just barely scratch the surface, not being able to fully delve into the intricacies of such tools. In my experience, having taken part in dozens of seminars all over Greece and abroad as a speaker, tourism professionals who participate in these seminars leave all the more anxious, rather than in a position to comprehend the subject and find ways and solutions that will help them use digital marketing tools the very next day to aid the sustainability and competitiveness of their business.
This is the main rationale behind the creation of the DMH Academy: to give the people of the tourism field the possibility to acquire a better and deeper understanding of these tools through 60 hours of applicable training, so that they can cooperate fully with their collaborators. To be able to fully grasp, on a holistic level, the entire picture and reap the benefits that will shape their business by working with all the pieces of the puzzle such as SEO strategies, Google Ads, social media content and handling, emailing marketing, rate parity, online sales & distribution, revenue management etc.
Dr Constantine Dino Kyritsis, StudySmart
“…The world and the digital ecosystem is changing at a rapid pace and a bachelor degree at 22 years of age or a masters degree at 25 is no longer adequate for a career that goes well into our 30s, 40s and 50s…”
- GTP: Mr. Kyritsis, how sufficient is this 60-hour applied training offered by the academy? To what extent will attendees be able to develop the digital tools of hotel marketing upon completion?
Dr Constantine Dino Kyritsis: As already mentioned before, the aim of the Academy is not to create digital experts. It is to cοntribute both substantially and practically so that hospitality professionals can understand how each digital marketing tool can be applied to the greater promotional and sales strategies of a business. To assist them in gaining familiarity with the digital reality and, of course, their ability to “communicate” more effectively with their partners and collaborators whether they are in-house or at digital agencies.
- GTP: Does this model coincide with international educational trends?
Dr Constantine Dino Kyritsis: Absolutely, as I said before, DMI and its network of partners provides training programmes to this effect at 150 countries and thousands of businesses use the specialised programmes for the professional progression of their executives.
The world and the digital ecosystem is changing at a rapid pace and a bachelor degree at 22 years of age or a masters degree at 25 is no longer adequate for a career that goes well into our 30s, 40s and 50s. Constant training is imperative and the best way to do this is to engage in relatively short but comprehensive programmes that fit international standards.
This is precisely the mentality of established, reliable and internationally acclaimed certification bodies; to theoretically and practically inform professionals about the latest advancements within the fields of their activity and specialisation.
The fundamentals in all industries, and especially in the Digital sector are rapidly progressing on a daily basis, and it therefore goes without saying that there is limited time and often restricted resources for someone to obtain a second or third degree.
And this is the trend of today and specifically abroad, where there is a shift from Degreefication to Certification, through which someone can focus their efforts to improve specific practices and develop abilities when and where the need arises.
Costas Chandrinos, DMH Academy & Smart Hospitality Center
“…A 2018 Oxford Economics study showed that there is a Global Digital Skills Gap that reaches 69%, meaning that 2 in 3 marketing and sales professionals do not have the required training and skills necessary for Digital Marketing and Sales…”
- GTP: Mr. Chandrinos, how digitally and technological mature would you say are Greek hoteliers and executives on a national level in the tourism industry?
Costas Chandrinos: They are definitely much more mature than they used to. However, we still have a lot of ground to cover. At this point, allow me to highlight that the lack of understanding digital marketing is not a local, but a global issue. Its challenges face hoteliers and executives throughout the world…
A 2018 Oxford Economics study showed that there is a Global Digital Skills Gap that reaches 69%, meaning that 2 in 3 marketing and sales professionals do not have the required training and skills necessary for Digital Marketing and Sales.
The difference between them and us Greeks is that although we recognise the need to rise to the challenge, we are reticent in taking the steps toward change.
And again, a relevant study by Oxford Economics pertaining to Greek Tourism showed that if the share of Greek touristic demand increases through direct online activity from 19% where it is today to a desired 56% which is the EU average, this will signify an increase in GDP by 3,4% and will create more than 110,000 new job placements in Greece by 2025.
- GTP: Mr. Kyritsis, may we have a few words on the certification of the Digital Marketing Institute that bears its signature on this Academy?
Dr Constantine Dino Kyritsis: DMI is a certification body of international acclaim, a recognised and integral member of the Global Industry Advisory Council (GIAC), members of which are top players in the digital world such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Microsoft that together analyze and set the Digital trends of the future.
It provides the certified training programme in question to 150 countries and over 50,000 certified professionals. The fact that this organisation bears its signature on this venture, speaks for the importance of this attempt on a global scale.
- GTP: Mr. Serifis, how do you think the digital environment of global hospitality will be shaped in the near future?
Dimitris Serifis: One thing is certain, the digital aspect will continue to penetrate the global tourism market. Already, the mobility around this field is huge. Everyone is talking parity, distribution channels, online and direct bookings etc. The game is changing, the dynamic of traditional players is adapting, new entrepreneur models that rely on the internet are surfacing. There are rearrangements and developments. And it is this tumultuous climate that creates the imperative need for high grade education of people in the industry, now more than ever.
- GTP: What are your plans for the Academy’s future?
Dimitris Serifis: Firstly, we hope that it will be received well in Athens as much as in Limassol, which are the two destinations where the programme will kick off and then soon expand to cover other geographical locations in Greece and Cyprus. And since we are talking about the first globally innovative digital marketing course specialising in tourism, I speculate that this training programme will soon be exported to the entire network of DMI partners (to more than 150 countries around the world).
The DMAH program’s duration is 60 hours in total and covers all digital marketing aspects. DMAH courses will be held at StudySmart’s facilities in Maroussi, Athens.
To see the DMH Academy’s official eBrochure, press here.