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Greek tourism product has the potential to evolve as to meet the demands and expectations of modern travelers

Interview with Elena Lissaiou, Founder of Welcality

By: EBR - Posted: Friday, July 14, 2023

"But most important of all, we need to point out that WELCALITY was inspired by a deep passion for hospitality."
"But most important of all, we need to point out that WELCALITY was inspired by a deep passion for hospitality."

What was the inspiration for WELCALITY and what was the trigger for your startup?

The inspiration for WELCALITY came from a combination of elements that reflect the core values and concepts of the company. The name itself, a play on words combining "welcome," "locality," "wellness," “hospitality” and "quality," represents the love for hospitality and the commitment to delivering exceptional experiences.

WELCALITY stemmed from my extensive experience in the hospitality industry, particularly in the Sales, Marketing, and Events departments. Throughout my career, I noticed a significant gap in the market when it came to small boutique hotels that lacked dedicated sales departments or the resources to participate in international tourism exhibitions. This realization, combined with the growing tourism industry in Greece and the increasing number of small hotel owners without hotelier backgrounds, served as the trigger for my startup.

Many of these unique boutique hotels, which I personally appreciate, were missing out on valuable opportunities to promote their properties and connect with potential customers. With the surge in tourism following the Covid era, it became even more crucial for these hotels to have a strong presence in the market and take advantage of international tourism exhibitions.

Recognizing the need for specialized sales representation and event organizing services, I founded WELCALITY, with the commitment to providing a warm welcome, leveraging local connections, promoting wellness experiences, and upholding high-quality standards in the hospitality industry.

What is the purpose of such an initiative and what do you want to achieve? What are the individual objectives?

The purpose of WELCALITY is to fill a crucial gap in the market and provide specialized services to boutique hotels in Greece and across Europe. The initiative aims to support these unique properties by offering tailored sales representation, in combination with event coordination, and management services.

The overarching goal of WELCALITY is to become a trusted partner, assisting boutique hotels in enhancing their visibility, increasing bookings, and establishing strong connections with travel agents, industry professionals, and potential clients.

A few of the objectives of WELCALITY can be summarized as follows:

Sales Representation: The objective is to provide boutique hotels with dedicated sales representation, enabling them to participate in international tourism exhibitions, expand their market reach, and connect with potential clients. The aim is to generate increased sales, boost occupancy rates, and establish the hotels as preferred destinations for travelers.

Promoting European Travel Fairs and Exhibitions: WELCALITY aims to actively promote boutique hotels at various European travel fairs and exhibitions. The objective is to increase brand visibility, attract attention from travel agents and industry professionals, and generate sales leads that result in increased bookings and revenue for the hotels.

Event Coordination and Management: WELCALITY aims to assist companies and individuals in organizing successful events, whether corporate or social. The objective is to deliver seamless and memorable experiences for event attendees.

Travel Market Services: WELCALITY offers travel market services to companies involved in the travel industry, such as travel agencies and tour operators. We provide market research, consulting, and support in identifying unique hotel properties that align with their clients’ preferences and requirements. Our aim is to facilitate collaborations and partnerships that benefit both the hotels and the companies in the travel sector.

Scouting and Local Assistance: WELCALITY assists production companies, location scouts, and other professionals in finding suitable filming or event locations in Greece. With our local knowledge and network, we can help identify picturesque settings, arrange site visits, accommodation and provide logistical support for various projects. This service aims to showcase the beauty and versatility of boutique hotels as potential filming or event venues, opening new revenue streams for the properties.

Local Assistance and Expertise: WELCALITY offers a range of services, including acting as a local assistant, providing expertise in the hospitality industry. The objective is to leverage local knowledge, connections, and resources to enhance the overall guest experience, and support sustainable tourism practices.

Tailor-Made Services: WELCALITY’s objective is to provide flexible collaboration options and tailor-made services that cater to the specific needs of each partnership.

What is missing from the Greek market in this sector?

In the Greek market, there is a notable gap when it comes to specialized sales representation and event management services for boutique hotels. Many small boutique hotels, often owned by individuals without hotelier backgrounds, lack dedicated sales departments or the resources to actively promote themselves at international tourism exhibitions and fairs. This results in missed opportunities for these unique properties to connect with potential clients, expand their reach, and maximize their revenue potential.

Furthermore, the availability of a local assistant with a deep understanding of the hospitality industry, including hotel operations and sales strategies, is often lacking. Such an assistant can provide valuable insights, connections, and support to boutique hotels in navigating the local market and identifying opportunities for growth.

Additionally, there is a need for comprehensive event coordination and management services tailored to specific requirements. Organizing successful events can be complex and time-consuming, requiring expertise in venue sourcing, catering, transportation, and on-site support. Without proper assistance in these areas, companies may struggle to deliver seamless and memorable event experiences for their guests.

Overall, what is missing from the Greek market is a dedicated and specialized service provider, with a more personalized approach like WELCALITY, which can bridge the gap by offering tailored sales representation, event coordination, and management services.

Can the tourism product of our country change in this way and if so, in what form?

Yes, the tourism product of Greece has the potential to change and evolve in various ways to meet the demands and expectations of modern travelers. Here are some forms in which I believe that the tourism product of Greece can transform:

Diversification of Offerings: Greece has traditionally been known for its stunning beaches and historical sites. However, there is an opportunity to diversify the tourism product by highlighting other aspects of the country. This can include promoting adventure tourism, ecotourism, culinary tourism, wellness tourism, cultural tourism, and rural tourism. By showcasing the rich diversity of experiences Greece has to offer, it can attract a broader range of travelers with different interests and preferences.

Sustainable Tourism Practices: There is an increasing global focus on sustainability and responsible travel. Greece can embrace this trend by promoting sustainable tourism practices, such as reducing the carbon footprint, conserving natural resources, supporting local communities, and preserving cultural heritage. This can involve developing eco-friendly accommodations, promoting organic and locally sourced food, and implementing waste management and recycling initiatives. By positioning itself as a sustainable tourism destination, Greece can attract environmentally conscious travelers and contribute to the long-term preservation of its natural and cultural assets.

Digital Transformation: Embracing digital technologies can enhance the tourism experience in Greece. This can include the development of smart destinations, providing digital platforms for seamless booking and information access, leveraging augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) for immersive experiences, and utilizing data analytics to personalize services and anticipate traveler preferences. By adopting digital solutions, Greece can provide a seamless and technologically advanced experience for visitors, while also capturing valuable data for targeted marketing and decision-making.

Local Experiences and Authenticity: Travelers today seek authentic and immersive experiences that allow them to connect with local culture, traditions, and communities. Greece can promote local experiences by highlighting lesser-known destinations, encouraging interaction with locals, and supporting local artisans, craftsmen, and producers. This can involve offering authentic cultural activities, promoting local festivals and events, and providing opportunities for visitors to engage in hands-on experiences, such as cooking classes, traditional crafts, or agricultural activities. By showcasing the authenticity of Greek culture, Greece can create memorable and meaningful experiences for travelers.

Wellness and Health Tourism: The demand for wellness and health-focused experiences has been on the rise. Greece has the potential to develop its wellness tourism offerings by leveraging its natural beauty, thermal springs, and Mediterranean diet. This can involve promoting spa and wellness retreats, yoga and meditation retreats, wellness-focused accommodations, and outdoor activities that promote physical and mental well-being. By positioning itself as a wellness destination, Greece can attract travelers seeking relaxation, rejuvenation, and a holistic approach to health.

These are just a few notes that are already under development, of how the tourism product of Greece can change and expand to meet the evolving needs of travelers. By embracing these transformations and adapting to new trends, Greece can continue to be a desirable destination and offer unique and enriching experiences to visitors from around the world.

A final note

In a constantly changing world, it is essential for businesses to not only be flexible and adaptive to change but also to remain creative and innovative.

Flexibility allows businesses to quickly respond to changing market dynamics, customer preferences, and industry trends. It enables them to adjust their strategies, offerings, and operations to meet evolving demands. By embracing flexibility, one can cater to the ever-changing needs and expectations of their clients, ensuring a personalized and exceptional experience.

But most important of all, we need to point out that WELCALITY was inspired by a deep passion for hospitality.

 

 

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