The 3rd International Hospitality Forum was concluded with great success. The Forum was organized by the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH) and was focused on the trends forming the future of the Hospitality industry.
This year’s 3rd International Ηospitality Forum took place on Saturday, November 23, 2019 at the Conference Hall of the Metropolitan Expo exhibition center and within the framework of the Xenia 2019 trade show, which was also the gold sponsor of the Forum. International and Greek experts from the tourism industry, prominent representatives of the academic community, as well as high profile consulting companies discussed the latest trends and developments in the global hospitality industry.
The conference started with a welcome speech by Mr Alexandros Vassilikos, President of the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels referring to the 3rd International Hospitality Forum. Addressing a full to the brim conference room, Mr Vassilikos talked about the specific period during which the Forum takes place, right after a decade of crisis and at the moment when Greece is on its way for a new era of growth. In addition, he also talked about the power of information and how the right preparation leads to success.
“The Hellenic Chamber of Hotels is proud of what we have accomplished at the International Hospitality Forum. The HCH is actively supporting the Greek hotelier, so as to help him be up-to-date with the facts and the challenges of today and to be able to continuously improve this product, as the global economy of hospitality requires alertness, information, innovation and continuous adaptation,” he stated.
The goal is the continuous improvement of hotels and hospitality, in general, and the address of major challenges, such as the 4th post-industrial revolution and climate change. Responding to those needs, as mentioned by Mr Vassilikos “The International Hospitality Forum with cutting-edge themes and excellent speakers on the event panels, for the third consecutive year, provides “food” for thought and action, while proposing solutions in the direction of gradual distance from large tour operators and OTAs.
The 3rd International Hospitality Forum takes place at a time when our country is leaving the crisis behind and preparing for a new era of development. As a leading platform for dialogue and knowledge in the industry, it is actively contributing to the design of the strategic plan that will lead to new surpluses for Greek tourism and guarantee its long-term viability.”
Mr Vassilikos concluded by saying that “every hotel can benefit the development of local economies and local communities”.
Mr Peter Ottmann, CEO of the NürnbergMesse Group, of which FORUM SA (the XENIA organizing company) is now a part, also made a short statement. Specifically, Mr Ottmann talked about the close ties between Forum SA -and NürnbergMesse from now on- and the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels, as well as the importance of Tourism in the Greek economy.
“Greece is to me the land of Hospitality,” he said, while also adding that “XENIA is the place where beats the heart of Greek tourism. XENIA and the International Hospitality Forum make an important contribution to why the Greek tourism industry is so strong.”
The Tourism Minister addressed the 3rd Hospitality Forum
The leading event for the hospitality sector also took place in the presence of the Tourism Minister, Mr Harry Theoharis, who addressed the Forum and —among others— remarked that “the International Hospitality Forum is a significant effort that needs the support of each and every one of us. We must focus on knowledge in order to take Greek tourism forward.” The Minister, after talking about the 10-year crisis, suggested that the tourism industry was a safety net against the economic downturn. He also added that tourism has proven wrong all the negative forecasts regarding the county.
“Now, we must all help in the effort to create a new model for tourism,” asserted Mr Theoharis. “What we need now is knowledge, information and new models of governance.” Finally, he maintained that although tourism is facing a series of big challenges, “the government and the political leadership of the Ministry of Tourism will stand by the sector.”
A new era for the hospitality industry
The 3rd International Hospitality Forum proved once again an excellent initiative, shedding light on the changes and the developments in the hospitality industry and its future. Specifically, this year three topics were discussed with the active participation of top Greek and international players in the Tourism sector. These topics were centered around how to rethink Hotel F&B, how to increase employee engagement by challenging existing norms, and the challenge of driving direct bookings.
The Forum discussions began with a debate on “The Challenge of Driving Direct Bookings: Taking back control over hotel distribution”, moderated by Dr Peter O’Connor, Senior market analyst at Phocuswright and with the participation of Ian Macleod, Chief Marketing Officer of Hotel tech SaaS Triptease, Frank Reeves, co-founder and CEO at Avvio, and Paulo Salvador, consultant, founder & professor in marketing and innovation. During the panel discussion, the issue of hotel visibility with the help of several tools, such as hotel websites and price comparison aggregators, was debated.
The second panel consisted of Mr Tim Ananiadis, General Manager at Hotel Grande Bretagne & King George, Mr Thomas Douzis, co-founder and CEO at Ergon Foods and Dr Cindy Y. Heo, associate professor of revenue management at the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne and was moderated by Maria Theofanopoulou, CEO of Greek Travel Pages. Its theme was “Rethinking Hotel F&B: Stop thinking of hotel F&B as hotel F&B” and the trends, strategies and best practices regarding hotel restaurants and their Food and beverage sector were discussed. The speakers agreed that hotel restaurants contribute to the creation of unique hospitality experiences and debated ways on how to make the F&B department the heart and soul of hotels.
Finally, Ms Theofanopoulou also coordinated the third discussion panel, which centered on “Happy Workforce – Happy Guest: Increase your employees engagement by challenging existing norms”. Dr Stephanie Pougnet-Rozan, associate professor of talent management at the Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne, Katerina Santikou, Managing Director at Workathlon and Micah Solomon, influencer and thought leader on customer service, customer experience & hospitality discussed how employees can affect and improve guest experience and how hotels can attract the best talent, people that can make a difference and create added value for hotel services.