Vicky Santikos, VP/sales and marketing at Santikos Collection Group, is slated to speak in Athens next month at the Mediterranean Resort & Hotel Real Estate Forum, which is sponsored by Questex, parent company of Hotel Management magazine.
The Group operates five properties across Greece: the Marpunta Resort on the island of Alonnisos, the Santikos Mansion in Pelion and the Aegean Suites & Princess, both on Skiathos; and The Alex, the latest addition to the family and the first urban hotel for the collection.
Santikos will be speaking on "The Economics of Experiential Travel: Making Lifestyle Innovation Profitable" session at the forum. Resort concepts are evolving and are catering to a growing audience across a range of demographics. This session will provide a guide to what hoteliers need to do to meet the needs of the new breed of traveller and potential resort guest. Ahead of the conference, Santikos shared her insights gained over 30 years on the latest trends affecting hotels and resorts across the Mediterranean region.
1. Can you give us an overview of your business?
Santikos Collection is a family-run hospitality business model with five properties in Greece, around 250 seasonal employees and over 25 executives and senior managers working year-round. Our managerial ethos is based on four values:
- Security, both economically and emotionally
- Equity, which refers to justice in rewarding performance
- Advancement opportunities
Santikos Collection has been a strong performer in the region over the last decade, mainly due to investment in personnel and fixed costs as well as strategic acquisitions targeting growth across our business.
2. What innovations and trends have significantly changed the marketing of resorts over the last decade?
Without any doubt, the evolution in technology has broken new ground. From operations to guest experience to marketing, intelligent hotel technology offers a variety of revenue opportunities enabling hotels to reach new levels of profitability. Online booking engines, technology in the workspace of a hotel, CRS systems, social media and online guest satisfaction ratings have changed the business for good.
Over the past decade, the leading edge in the modern business is smart marketing. Biometric and artificial intelligence, big data and online reputation management focus marketing actions directly to the end traveller. Hotels and resorts can now succeed in delivering on guest satisfaction. By leveraging data insights ethically and responsibly, they can proactively continue to prosper against an increased and diversified competition.
Ecological concerns, energy footprint and other environmental issues are reshaping the industry and its core business. Marketing the contemporary resort is not only about creating brand awareness but embracing the traveler’s concerns and ethical values, which results in new revenue opportunities.
Also, last but not least, trends that are unanimously preferred by the modern traveler, like experiencing the real local atmosphere, have enriched marketing and advertising tools. By organizing experiential press/blogger visits on-site the relationship with the end customer has strengthened. Honest reviews, real photo shoots and storytelling created by the press and bloggers are having an enormous impact on the market.
3. Looking ahead to your session at MR&H 2019, how significant is the demand from travelers for an experience today? And how, as an operator, do you deliver that?
Offering authentic, local and unique experiences is a major goal in contemporary hospitality. These undoubtedly drive demand and increase ROI. Santikos Collection is proud to be renowned in the industry as a quality hospitality operator with long-term thinking. We follow the Santikos SILC rules: Special, Instagramable, Local and Comfortable.
4. You recently opened your fifth hotel, the first in an urban location. As the group continues to expand, how do you do so sustainably?
Our management approach follows specific requirements and schemes that are passed [on to] all members, allowing a sustainable and easy transition from one project to the next.
The second generation of owners work alongside the managerial team to reach new goals, putting together higher prospects in guest satisfaction and company profitability and growth. They are ready and keen to develop new business opportunities, making sure the markers are in place and the specific requirements are met before making a commitment.
The Santikos Collection advisory board, composed by experts in the hospitality business and key market stakeholders, contribute knowledge and expertise, establishing a vigorous, agile and strong hospitality company.
5. What is the importance and relevance of attending events like MR&H?
Communicating the realities and the future of hospitality, exchanging ideas and business opportunities with peers and recognized market stakeholders during MR&H, gives a huge contribution in the hospitality industry, as well as in our brand’s welfare and sustainable growth.
"The Economics of Experiential Travel: Making Lifestyle Innovation Profitable" takes place on Thursday, Oct. 31, from 11:50 a.m. - 12:05 p.m. Register here.
The current Advance Delegate Rate is available only until Sept. 13. Don’t forget to check out the MR&H Playlist on Spotify.