The Greeks Can Still Teach Business Travel

Monday, January 9th, 2012 - Business & Finance

The Greeks Can Still Teach Business TravelThe Greeks Can Still Teach Business Travel

I assume that one of the overwhelmingly consequential stories of 2011, was that of the Greek fiscal and social turmoil. With matching stable and focused reporting on bodily ( seldom, in toto proportionately to the sense of the post ), I am guessing that due alike me you will own mixed emotions about my person countrymen. The Greeks Can Still Teach Business Travel

On the one hand, the irregularities ( ranging anywhere from innocent mistakes all the street to blatant larceny – from both Europe, but further from the bankrupt to shell out to the well-heeled ) obtain happened within the country itself. Unquestionably right has been the Greeks making their own rest ( albeit messing up everyone other ‘ s considering a outcome ) and that apportions blame squarely and wholly hereafter within the country.

On the other hand, below several appropriate wrong and authentic uncalled-for governments for partly 30 age just now, rightful is typically the ” non – thieving ” tough – working type of Greek ( majority ) that is propitious a correct disproportionate price for all the irregularities that went on. Which is further oppressive to scorn…

To value some culinary parallels to illustrate my views: whatever your position on the matter, I presume true that the full mess can exhibit boiled down to a few answer ingredients that hold been cooked by certain nation ( from what in Greece is just now called ” the top ” ) for halfway three decades; unfortunately these were the duplicate individuals that further happened to reproduce in jurisdiction of the books which were besides thoroughly cooked.

From these few ingredients, the one that is indubitable young underestimated is complacency. And in my proof complacency is a right contagious indisposition.

” The Greek physics law of Inertia ” – AKA the Greek tragedy of ” mañana ”

The one substance for which I will dare to ” hurl a stone ” to my countrymen is that us Greeks are cher much governed by some cultural imperative, agnate to the physics charter describing inertia. When we aren ‘ t familiarity contrivance, we are very likely to maintain our state and stick to not acquaintance much. ( Incidentally, although much increased rarely, the opposite further applies: when we somehow asset ourselves in action, we can pride stable onerous to stoppage ). All this can make us relaxed company and oversize gala friends, but in business corporal can hold office a disadvantage…

During the autumn of 2007, when our Squawk Multilingual product was still in its origin, I was master conversation to hotels about multilingual versions of their websites, and international marketing packages. Wise that Greece attracts persons utterance foreign languages in their millions every pace, I did some research in up-to-date hotels in the country that were bounteous likely to usability and assistance from our services.

Amongst abounding potentials, I retain preference a stupendous candidate. Essential was a five star property with some 450 quarters, in a prime post in Crete, near an airport ( but far enough ) and by a superb sandy beach. The hotel was independently owned, and alone on the second spell of its operation – which to me concrete meant that polished would normally equate a lot of room for heightening of business. To cut a rangy clothesline short, this property ‘ s cardinal statistics false them an first-rate candidate. According to my guestimations at the ticks, they could jewel themselves generating some dainty impressive profits within the prime season of using us. I couldn ‘ t wait to say to them. The Greeks Can Still Teach Business Travel

The Greeks Can Still Teach Business Travel

Unfortunately, my initial enthusiasm swiftly evaporated by the hotel ‘ s absence of a booking mechanism on their website. In truth, proficient was no conduct to make a reservation at that hotel, other than calling them, or emailing them and happy for the culminating. Obviously licensed is simple stunted point in pursuing, accommodation and taking visitors to your website from abroad if you don ‘ t have a road to convert them to customers!

For those of you that aren ‘ t intimate with the concern of booking engines, I should briefly highlight here that for such a property having a booking engine is an absolute necessity. I don ‘ t want to send anyone to sleep talking about a the different pricing models of agencies and the comparative costs; so let ‘ s just say that in a country like Greece, a decent – sized independent hotel of this type on its second year of operation, would easily pay the equivalent of 30 % for a reservation in commissions to all manner of agencies. Forgetting about the numerous benefits that further enhance the argument and necessity for a booking engine, I will just mention that when someone books a hotel on the hotel ‘ s own website, the commission costs for that hotel would drop to anywhere between one and five per cent. It is relevant to mention here that agencies already squeeze hotels as much as they can, and as hotels have costs associated with servicing a room, bookings over the hotel ‘ s own website represent a staggering benefit in profit levels – a 25 % reduction in commission payments could be very nearly the entire profit on a room sold!

So why on earth would anyone not have a booking engine – I hear you ask. I didn ‘ t know either and I was too curious to let this go, so I decided to find out. I picked up the phone, got through to the General Manager, and basically asked the question.

” Well, someone would have to manage it.. ” – came the answer.

[What? As opposed to bookings from agencies that are OK to be left unmanaged?!! ]

I was shocked. That was a prime example of ( these days already hard to find ) old – style Greek public – sector complacency having permeated the private sector. Of all the people to show such lack of interest in the hotel ‘ s well being, to hear such a blatant statement of laziness from a General Manager… To me, that was just wrong.

A year after this conversation took place, the financial world imploded. Today travel agents control the business for that hotel ( and so many other hotels like it ) and have forced the General Manager to drop her prices and increase the commission she pays to them. The owners were probably far too removed from the day – to – day decisions to identify the missed opportunity, and have now fully blamed the Greek corrupt elite for their misfortunes. Complacency and lack of understanding are a poisonous mixture for a business.

Following that incident ( and a few more like it ), and seeing the suffering of Greek hotels in these trying times for Greece, I have quickly developed a strong aversion to complacency. It is therefore with considerable worry that I share with you my suspicion that this affinity to a ” mañana ” approach to life is not entirely alien to Britons either…

Having worked with hotels from all over the world [and aware that I have no other evidence than our own contacts with the markets ( hardly a statistically acceptable sample ) ] I would suggest that British hoteliers are on average less keen to move forward with international marketing than their international counterparts.

Despite us being a firmly UK based company, today only 23 % of our clients are located in the UK – the rest are based pretty much everywhere else around the world. The hoteliers around the world to whom we sell our services seem to be much more aware that hoteliers sell to travellers and that these days travellers don ‘ t come from the hotel ‘ s neighbourhood, and they don ‘ t always speak the neighbourhood ‘ s language.

Looking at the flickering lights of the world economy today, I am strongly advising hoteliers to go after international business even if they do well domestically. Every incremental demand point is of benefit not only to the hotel ‘ s pricing and yielding flexibility. It is also another point of safety in an unsafe world.

If the pessimists of this world are correct, there is a lot of pressure for everyone in the not too distant future, and it will be only those who are prepared that will stand a chance to thrive. The Greeks Can Still Teach Business Travel

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