Greece’s attractiveness as a destination for tourism investments was recently highlighted by Accor CEO Southern Europe Maud Bailly.
Speaking during an exclusive interview by Phocuswright during the virtual 4th International Hospitality Forum (IHF), Bailly said that despite the current coronavirus (Covid-19) crisis investors are showing an interest to open properties and invest in many countries in the coming years.
“Greece is included… In the short term it will be tough (due to the pandemic) but in the mid-term business will be back and Greece will have a huge role to play,” she said, adding that although this past summer may have been “harsh” for Greece, the sector’s “blessed tourism season” will recover.
Accor has four brands in Greece – Sofitel and Novotel in Athens, ibis Styles in Athens and Crete and its latest being the Athens Capital Hotel of the MGallery Hotel Collection that opened on September 1.
“Greece is an amazing potential for us in our investment approach,” she said, highlighting that Accor has faith in the Greek market and believes Greece could become a top level luxury-oriented premium destination, welcoming many new lifestyles.
Message to Greek hoteliers
Wanting to give a message to the Greek hoteliers in the audience, Bailly advised them to adapt their business to the new guest expectations created by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Giving an example, she said that reassuring guests with health and safety measures is essential.
“Sanitary reassurance is very important… Hoteliers have to be ready with clear working effective protocols and be able to reassure their guests by proving that these protocols are implemented,” she said, adding that sanitary reassurance should be included in the communication strategies of hotels.
Referring to cancellation policies, Bailly said that hoteliers should be more flexible especially in the post-Covid-19 era.
“On flexibility, hoteliers should look at the cancellation behaviors of the consumers,” she said, indicating that travelers are now making last minute bookings due to the uncertainty created by the pandemic.
“Make sure you adapt your commercial policy to guest expectations and offer more flexibility to guests,” she said.
Moreover, Bailly advised hoteliers to rethink their distribution strategy in order to encourage their loyalty clients to book direct and also encouraged them to develop their F&B concepts to offer a unique experience to guests. “What we see today is that the F&B drive is a huge way of survival for the hospitality industry,” she said.
Referring generally to the hospitality industry in Covid-19 times, Accor’s CEO appeared optimistic about its recovery.
“We will overcome the crisis… We will resist and the way we resist will be our signature so we have to be strong and proud,” Bailly said.
The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) was a media supporter of the forum.