How exactly can a hotel can “RevitUp” and increase its revenue? To find out, GTP Headlines had an in-depth discussion with Minas Liapakis, the co-founder of RevitUp.direct, a Greek Revenue Management & Marketing company that relies on decades of expertise and has the know-how, the experience and means to maximise a hotel’s profitability.
Based on the Greek island of Crete since 2021, RevitUp.direct offers services including Revenue Management, Performance Marketing, Digital Presence Management and Online Distribution & Sales for hotel businesses. The company currently has a portfolio of 23 hotels located in seven destinations in Greece and abroad.
“In response to a modern-day market need, we developed innovative software that collects and decodes an exceedingly large volume of information and data so that we can quickly and easily understand market trends and adapt our policy accordingly to guarantee outperformance… RevitUp takes a holistic approach, one that will ‘rev up’ a hotel and enhance its profitability,” Minas explains, adding however that the first step needs hoteliers to be willing to change their sales operating model.
“It is very important that the management of a company is willing to change not only the advertising, marketing or sales approach, but the whole way it functions to date, in a more contemporary way. This strategy is adapted to the new digital tools that are now dominating the market and providing the working capital of the future: data.”
In the following interview, Minas informs on exactly how a hotel can “RevitUp” and boost its profitability.
- GTP: Minas, please share some career highlights with our readers.
Minas Liapakis: I began my path in tourism not as an entrepreneur but as an executive in hotel operations and in tourism offices. In 2001 I entered the world of digital marketing while cooperating with a hotel chain on Crete and since then I have become committed to the field, since technology has become a main part of the hospitality industry. Now, together with George Ergazakis, an engineer of the National Technical University of Athens, who is deeply involved in the industry and data management, we created a team of 25 people and a small group of innovative digital services for hotel and tourism businesses.
- GTP: Please tell our readers about RevitUp.direct. What exactly did you see missing from the market that you wanted to offer with this venture?
Minas Liapakis: RevitUp came to life on Crete in 2012 aiming to strategically support large seasonal hotels in their aim to claim a share of the individual traveler online market. Our goal is to provide a solution to one of the most typical problems Greek hoteliers face: to move on from the massive “traditional” tourism model, thus address potential customers directly through digital marketing tools in order to gradually reduce their dependence on tour operators. In addition, we look to assist hoteliers to do away with the seasonality of their business and extend the season as much as possible.
Our initial results confirmed expectations in most cases, proving to entrepreneurs that with a strategic marketing plan and targeted actions of controlled, well-budgeted costs, they can open new markets and gain more bargaining power against their traditional partners – which is exactly what every businessman wants.
- GTP: What is RevitUp’s approach to hoteliers? What would you say is the key innovation that RevitUp offers them?
Minas Liapakis: We have structured our service in a way that it includes all the stages of a strategic plan: planning, organization, implementation and auditing. In the beginning we were learning along with our customers. So our customers created their teams that manage online sales and are supported by us mainly in terms of data analysis, performance marketing, revenue & yield management and customization of promotion and sales tactics.
Of course, when providing a service, every customer – hotel in our case – is different. In general, however, in the exploratory stage of each collaboration, we try to detect whether hoteliers are willing to change their sales operating model. It is very important that the management of a company is willing to change not only the advertising, marketing or sales approach, but the whole way it functions to date, in a more contemporary way. Our strategy is adapted to the new digital tools that are now dominating the market and provide the working capital of the future: data.
But in order for data to be useful as an asset for a business, their administrators need to know how and when to use it. Whether in the design phase (before the start of the season); the implementation phase (during the season); or the auditing phase, we are there to support our customers in this digital transition. Knowing the mentality of Greek hoteliers, we adapt to their reality, giving them what they want to deliver to their guests: value.
This is exactly what RevitUp offers as a competitive advantage to its customers: data management through our tool. More specifically, we offer a new way in terms of approaching and managing the data to achieve a result based on profitability, which is what every hotelier wants. The more the hotelier wants to deal with the data and develop his business in the long run, and according to a plan, the more he has to gain from collaborating with us. And believe me it is one of the most important reasons they work with us.
- GTP: Is your product directed to all hoteliers and destinations?
Minas Liapakis: Yes as we have data for each destination that can help with the annual online advertising and revenue management of each hotel, whether it is a resort or a city hotel. Seasonal hotels of smaller capacity can surely benefit from our services, usually when they exceed a turnover threshold. It is a win-win cooperation. The most important of all, as I mentioned above, is for management to understand the need for specialized revenue management executives, who are familiar with the field and have a serious managerial background to be able to implement the plan. We try to support everyone, but the more hoteliers are open to change, the easier the know-how will be passed on. This paves the way for a much faster implementation of the hotel’s goals for improved profitability. Our experience, the advanced tools and the degree of knowledge that our team has in using these tools, the speed in decision making and the best practices that we have developed raise the level of cooperation for everyone’s benefit.
- GTP: What exactly are the goals that RevitUp sets with each hotel in its portfolio and how are these achieved?
Minas Liapakis: Hotel businesses are not something that have been established recently. Greek tourism has been a mature industry for decades. The main problem, however, remains: finding the individual visitor, who can consume services inside the hotel or at the destination and stay more days. This was largely achieved in 2004, but average spending has now declined, especially during the 2010 financial crisis. In addition, digitization has become a one-way street and companies that provide tools are needed for management, advertising and sales.
Because Greek hotels have a history in business, the point is to capture the present as best we can, so that we can proceed together in the future. Studying their contracts, their tactics and their actions, we make separate plans (annual and monthly) of which we undertake the implementation. As you can see, we do not just have the role of the consultant, but we also run the jointly agreed plan, which we monitor daily. This is how we make the difference and why our hotel partners trust us.
When we focus on direct bookings, we are focusing on profitability. By operating the right distribution and promotion channels, we make better decisions. By giving reports with scheduled meetings (which are made with video calls for immediacy and convenience), we prove the value of our service.
- GTP: From what I understand, decisions are based on the analysis and combination of big data. Can you explain to our readers what exactly is big data’s role in revenue management?
Minas Liapakis: In a dynamically changing and complex online market environment it’s quite difficult to make the right decision – let’s not forget that the decision-making process itself is the subject of study in the world’s leading universities.
When it comes to holidays, during a digital search for a destination or hotel, the buying decision is instantaneous and you have to be there to claim it. But to be “there” the moment the consumer is making his or her decision you must have a presence in the whole cycle of the modern traveler (Dreaming / Planning / Booking / Experiencing / Sharing). And that’s what we’re doing. We help the hotel to be present within this cycle through analysis of combined data at the level of sales & marketing daily.
- GTP: What would your message be to Greek hoteliers in these times?
Minas Liapakis: Firstly, hoteliers must come to terms with the fact that the days when owners, general managers, revenue managers and hotel executives relied on excel sheets, have gone. There are dozens of BI (Business Intelligence) tools on the market that draw data from many different databases in real time so that we have at our disposal reports and technical analyses that show us deviations from our goals, trends that we must follow to react on time and indicators that will help us fulfill our strategy. We monitor our customer, we work for him, we try together to become better, creating scales. Cooperation is necessary and plays the lead role in our business philosophy.
As for the future, we are constantly investing in the training of people to offer even better services. Those at the core of the tourism industry should also invest in the education and training of professionals for Greece to attract more quality visitors. We will focus even more on the need to train Greek hotels, especially in matters of business succession, not only in matters of advertising and sales. In an environment where tourism is constantly affected by crises (it is obvious now), we must adapt. And to achieve that we have to learn and be educated. Knowledge is power and that is our advantage.
More information of RevitUp can be found here.