With in-person meetings and events on the rebound, following the sudden halt caused by the Covid-19 pandemic since early 2020, Greece this month is seeing the openings of its B2B tourism trade shows and exhibitions.
An innovative trade show with a strategically designed structure, the 100% Hotel Show once again gave visitors the opportunity to tour all the development stages of a comprehensive hotel product, beginning from its conception as an idea until its placement on the market. The exhibition is also known for its many hotel workshops, which aim to inform and educate professionals on international trends.
Between November 19-22, vaccinated masked attendees gathered at the Mediterranean Exhibition Center (MEC) in Paiania, East Attica, where they had the chance to met with professionals, network, learn about new products and more.
Organizer gets positive feedback
Although attendance numbers remained lower than they would be in a ‘normal’ year, Dimitris Antonakos of Demand, was pleased to restart the trade show and give professionals the opportunity to do business in the post-covid world as well as discover the market’s needs, as well as their own, from here on.
“The feedback is that the market – our exhibitors and visitors – is looking for its new regularity, which can be discovered through exhibitions… This year, apart from the expo’s usual commercial tone, meetings and business deals, I noticed that the show functioned as a basis for ‘where things are going’, as well as what hoteliers need post-covid and learning about new international trends… The 100% Hotel Show gave us an idea of how the product is shaping in view of 2022 and beyond,” he told GTP Headlines.
With regard to the 2022 season, Antonakos said that he sees positive signs.
“At the moment it is clearly looking better in terms of bookings than 2021 was during this time,” he said.
However, Antonakos added that hoteliers should be concerned of a possible shift in the demand of visitors in 2022 and 2023, following the “surprising” tourism boom in 2021.
“Ιn 2021 we had this ‘outburst’ for travel and saw pent-up consumer demand following months of lockdowns. But a change will most likely follow… I think hoteliers should not dwell on the ‘easy numbers’ of 2021 but focus on where things are headed in the long run,” he said.
Exhibitors’ point of view
Exhibitors of the 100% Hotel Show were more than happy to return to face-to-face networking and gave positive feedback of the the physical event and their thoughts on what to expect in 2022.
- Charis Brousalian, Sales & Marketing Manager of GTP (Greek Travel Pages)
“As a tourism professional, I must say that I am very pleased with the comeback of trade shows. Tourism is a sector that depends heavily on communication and is based on relationships between a variety of professionals. Therefore, I believe that the need for face-to-face meetings is essential… GTP supports the 100% Hotel Show, a unique exhibition dedicated to hoteliers and gives them the opportunity to touch base with partners and make new acquaintances that often lead to fruitful business discussions and more.”
- Nikos Morantis, Managing Director & Hospitality Strategy Consultant of Destsetters
“Having carried out the strategic development of the 100% Hotel Show, I must say that the event was actually a stepping stone towards a new normality in the post-pandemic era – not that of 2019 but a new normality that exhibitions will need to adjust to… Now we wear masks, which alone shows that we cannot have the ‘lifestyle experience’ we used to have in exhibitions of previous years… We received positive feedback for this event. Quality visitors attended, exhibitors made the contacts they came to make and therefore saw results to their participation. Besides, our aim this year was not quantity… With regard to 2022, from my perspective, if nothing significant changes, we will again see a dynamic year with last-minute bookings.”
- Stella Tsantila, Co-founder of INcrementUM
“Visitor traffic at this year’s show is not on the same level of previous years, but this was expected… However, the event gave us a good start, an opportunity to expand our activity from online meetings… Our participation here has been a positive experience. This is our first exhibition with our new company and we had the opportunity to combine our participation with our presence in the exhibition’s workshops which attracted traffic to our stand… As for 2022, it is too early to make any predictions. We do see some positive signs but will have a more clear picture from February onwards. We do expect last-minute bookings to remain but there is also a tendency for early bookings.”
- Minas Liapakis, Co-founder of RevitUp.direct
“The travel and hospitality markets need to restart and this is why we decided to be a part of the exhibition and support the efforts of 100% Hotel Show… The market’s situation appears much better but right now we can’t be sure of anything. Pre-booking levels for 2022 are much better compared to the previous year, with high demand from the British and German markets… Tour operators have informed that more air itineraries will be available to Greece next year. However, I must say that this is not a sure factor as it will be confirmed based on the circumstances in February… The pandemic can suddenly change everything. For example, right now, although pre-bookings were seeing a rise, we noticed a drop in the last 15 days due to the current lockdowns in European countries.”
- Alexandros Damigos, CEO of RateParity
“Just returning to the exhibition mentality is a pleasant process, with what ever attendance crowd. We are happy to be part of the comeback and have high hopes for the future…
Following our meetings here, we are optimistic for next year and hope that the successful steps that have been taken so far for the market will increase… On the business side, at the moment we are seeing a good booking trend for 2022 which leads us to a modest optimism.”
- Giannis Koutsopoulos, CEO & Co-founder of AboutHotelier
“In general, we are happy because those who came to see us here knew what they were looking for. Although attendance was not at its usual standards, we saw more ‘quality visitors’ at this year’s show… With regard to 2022 it seems that the market will go one step further as many companies will need to digitally transform. Next year, in general, the technology sector in conjunction with tourism will play a very important role as the need for contactless technology and automation in hotels will be more relevant than ever.”
- Vassilis Polyzos, Founder & Managing Director of The Vscope
“We should congratulate the show’s organizer for having accomplished so much in such a short period of time. Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the event was organized in just two months against the usual six to eight month period in pre-pandemic times. The opening of the exhibition is a small victory and we need small victories in order to return to some kind of normality that resembles our life in the past… As an exhibitor and owner of The Vscope, I am optimistic for 2022… Bookings are on a positive level for most of our partners and we expect next year to be better and possibly reach the numbers of 2019, a year used as a landmark to compare performance, which I’m not sure is correct because things change. Let’s not forget that we are working in a lively sector with trends that constantly see a change.”
- Harry Papadopoulos, Co-founder & Managing Director of Reminds Hospitality
“We didn’t expect the exhibition to be exactly as it was in 2019 because the return to normality will be done in stages and a complete comeback can only take place gradually… As a company we are satisfied with the visitor turnout as we connected with target professionals, held our meetings and proceeded with deals… The exhibition this year attracted those that wanted to be here and do business… A target audience attended, which is exactly what an exhibitor hopes for at such trade shows.”
Building on the progress made at the 100% Hotel Show 2021, Demand Customize Marketing is already planning next year’s 10th anniversary exhibition.
The Greek Travel Pages (GTP) was a media sponsor to the 100% Hotel Show.