On every business trip I always wondered:
What is it that makes me choose a particular hotel?
Its reputation? The opinion of my friends and acquaintances?
Or is it more of a gut feeling?
I’m rarely wrong in my choices.
Many years ago, there were two types of hotels. The very luxurious and the plain ones. You chose the first type to boost your modus vivendi. And the second because you simply wanted a nice, clean place to sleep.
Was it enough? No.
We live in anxiety-filled times. We have to work around projects, rigid deadlines, and whatever personal needs, with a set time limit to our every move.
I feel that this is why we all started to need a different experience from the hotel we chose to stay at.
We couldn’t settle for the tidy, respectable little place where we could shelve our tension and weariness. A “nice hotel”, for our vacation or for that highly anticipated long weekend, just didn’t cut it anymore.
We were checking out the hotel’s menu, the breakfast options, even the possibility that it had a modern, updated concept store for some spontaneous shopping.
This is the biggest change in the field lately.
The quest for an inclusive experience.
For a decade now, several new entrepreneurs chose to work with this innovative hospitality concept.
Abandoning the large, faceless cities, they chose to create places that make you feel “at home”, with an essence of extra but unpretentious luxury.
All of a sudden, the forgotten Greek land could yield fruit and not just sterile touristic products.
In a few years, it became important to be able to choose between the many options provided by an accommodation.
You could choose to do some trekking, for example, or make fresh jams with your friends, or attend a seminar in a non-urban environment, be part of the activities offered to you by your hosts.
Have a spa day, relax in pools that don’t look like the old “squeeze in” type but are of a more bohemian spirit, unique design, and positive vibe.
The amenities that looked and smelled of the ’80s, were out, replaced by fresh, Greek, eco cosmetic brands, aiming to make you feel even more “unique”.
The birth of the term “boutique hotel”, was what we were all looking for. And it was there in abundance; all we had to do was simply choose the experience.
That was the new trend. Uniqueness and customized service. Not simply “a roof over my head for the night”.
We were finally rid of this cliché.
Is the experiment a success? If we look at the pre-covid-19 bookings, if we look at the annual revenues and the social media impact of such establishments, then yes.
And as with every experiment, there are always some who will copy the feeling, the amenities, the design. You can try to copy anything; but true, authentic hospitality can never be copied. It is something that an owner, a hotelier manager, either has it or not.
Competition always brings victories and the genuinely good hotels which follow the modern concept of making you feel unique, are the ones that are fully booked every year.
These are the places where once you enter your room, you don’t want to leave; where you always get great service, big smiles, sunny attitude.
Human interaction can never fit in copy-paste rules. And the future will prove how much these establishments contributed to make Greece a country of equal standing among the rest, in the accommodation sector.
The next era laid on us by the pandemic focuses on the need for health safety.
Our wish is to return to the times when all we had to think about, was the journey.
Iliada Evagelia Kothra is a digital marketer and founder of the international platform www.living-postcards.com, created to promote Greek entrepreneurship (hotels, local products, designers, artists), and of “Living Postcards/The Agency”.
She writes on foreign sites and periodicals (Bored Panda-Travelling Girl-Adorn India-Huffington Post) and frequently gives talks on digital marketing, tourism, personal branding, and female entrepreneurship.
Along with her group, she created the campaign titled #dontacceptit, aiming at raising awareness against violence directed at women with the support of international NGOs and the Ministry of Internal Affairs/General Secretariat for Gender, and has published two books.
She is a member of the NGOs: “Womentech Network” / “Women Economic Forum” / “Nation of Women” and has organized 22 business events on networking and promoting small Greek business ventures.