Marketing Greece – identifying and promoting the quality identity of modern Greece
1st Session Conclusions
During the 1st Session, Mr. A. Andreadis, SETE’s Chairman, announced at the panel the intention of the private sector to exclusively finance the “Marketing Greece” company for Greek tourism, in which the Greek State had initially planned to participate with 30%. Mr. Andreadis stressed that in the midst of the crisis, it is not necessary for the State to finance the company, and he invited the Hellenic Chamber of Hotels (HCH)and the Hellenic Association of Communication Agencies (EDEE) to participate in the endeavour.
• Activation of the “Marketing Greece” company. The goal wasto launch the company in the first quarter of 2013, and have it in full deployment in 2014. A roadshow will also be used for the financing, aiming at raising a minimum share capital of 1.2 million euro. The intended structure will be SETE with 60% – 65%, HCH with 30% and EDEE with 5% – 10%. A new arrangement may modify this structure. The conference participants were also informed that the board of directors of the company will be at least double the initially planned nine members, because representatives of industry bodies will participate in it, whereas the company will initially have a staff of ten.
• Cooperation with the Greek Tourism Organisation (EOT). The need for synergies and cooperation was confirmed by EOT’s General Secretary, Mr. N. Karachalios in his intervention, focusing mainly on commercial activities which EOT cannot support due to Presidential Decree 113. At the same time he stressed that “EOT is not the EOT we want” and added that the Organisation “will either change or its existence will have no meaning” giving a one-year deadline for the necessary restructuring. He also repeated the proposal for a General Secretary with a minimum three to five-year term of office.
• Positive response by EDEE to SETE’s invitation. EDEE’s President, Mr. D. Mavros, noted the need for a thematic promotion, estimating that the Bordas study for Greek tourism’s Marketing Plan can serve as the basis.
• HCH is examining the proposal. The President of HCH, Mr. Tsakiris, stated that he will examine SETE’s proposal, requiring however clear roles as regards EOT and that the objective will ensure the sustainability of the endeavour.
• The President of the Hellenic Management Association (EEDE), Mr. Lambrinopoulos, was in favour of the collective participation and cross-party consent of the strategy, with the cooperation of all involved stakeholders.
• The company will start by setting up a website that will provide the complete commercial presentation of the country, sales of tourism services and a press center, at the same time building a public relations network in key markets, such as the UK, Germany, France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, USA and Russia.
2nd Session Conclusions
Social media have drastically changed the method by which people communicate with their social environment, how they express themselves and how they interact with information in general. These changes significantly influence their behaviour as consumers: Social media give easy access to specialised knowledge networks for any product, where consumers not only find but also contribute information. At the same time, these media allow brands to open channels of dialogue with consumers.
• Social media development in tourism product markets. Especially as regards tourism product markets, these new media found a breeding ground for growth: On the one hand due to the many different products the tourist must choose and purchase in order to compose his or her travel experience, on the other due to the high risk hidden in the purchase of these products. Thus inevitably consumers are led to a search and exchange of information, that is huge in volume, from and to multiple available sources. This search and exchange takes place through an “extended journey”, which starts out in the tourist’s mind some time before the actual journey, and continues for some time after the return home. Through this “extended journey” the tourist will make all his decisions, make his purchases, have his travel experience and share it with others.
• New strategies. Businesses and brands must now revise and plan anew their strategies and methods of communication and interaction with consumers. Especially during periods of financial recession, when the effectiveness and performance of available marketing resources is extremely restricted, businesses must take into consideration these changes and fully integrate the new media into their planning and actions.