What is the reason that led Boussias Communications to creating this new Tourism Awards’ institution? Which gap does it address?
Katerina Drossou: Through years of experience in the tourism industry, we have observed a great number of impressive best practices in the sector. Especially today, that tourism represents one of Greece’s main economic forces, we believe that it is the right moment to recognize and reward these best practices and the commitment of the companies that follow them.
Boussias Communications has accumulated great experience through the organization of awards in a number of industries (Evolution Awards, Social Media Awards, Environmental Awards, Business IT Excellence Awards, Self-Service Excellence Awards, etc.).
We realized that there was a gap to fill when we saw that a number of hotels participated in some of these awards. For example, at Environmental Awards 2013, there were three hotels (Aldemar, Creta Maris, Elysium) among the winners.
We also believe that the Tourism Awards are of national significance and we are proud to grant them under the auspices of GNTO (EOT). We also expect that Tourism Awards will be embraced by all major tourism associations.
Are there any specific requirements for a hotel in order to participate in the competition?
K.D.: The only requirement is the existence of excellence or innovation in one of the Tourism Award categories. The application cost is very affordable, so that companies of all sizes have the opportunity to participate. There also are package prices for multiple submissions by the same hotel.
What are the procedures to be followed?
Isabella Zampetaki: Applications take the form of a document that briefly describes the project undertaken or the practices followed, the challenges and benefits, the scope and goals. Detailed information about the application format and contents can be downloaded from the Travel Awards website. Apart from submitting their application through the website, participants also have the option of sending in supporting materials including photos, videos, newspaper articles, brochures etc. The submission deadline is February 25.
Who are the jury and what are their key selection criteria?
K.D.: The judging committee is comprised of distinguished professors from Greek and Swiss Universities: Konstantinos Stefanakidis – OTEK General Manager, Dr. Konstantina Skanavi – Panepistimio Aigaiou, Τheodore S. Benetatos – ΙΜΙ University Center Switzerland, Dr. Dimitrios Diamantis – Les Roches International School of Hotel Management Switzerland, Maria Lekakou – Panepistimio Aigaiou, Dr. Panagiotis Xatzipanos – American Society of Civil Engineers, Kostas Mantzios – Hellenic Institute of Hospitality Professionals’ Accreditation, Maria Iatrou – Panepistimio Aigaiou and Miltos Karoubas – Chef’s Club.
The committee will be looking for project excellence, innovation, efficiency, quality, ROI and significance for the sector.
Ηow many award categories are there?
I.Z.: There are 12 broad categories, covering everything from sales growth and specialty offering to architecture, gastronomy and use of social media. The full list of categories can be downloaded from the Tourism Awards website http://www.tourismawards.gr/.
There is a wide range of subcategories, so that both larger and smaller scale initiatives can have an opportunity to be awarded according to their significance.
What, in your opinion, will a distinguished hotel gain from the competition?
I.Z.: There is a number of hotels that are committed to a high level of quality and innovation. Tourism Awards acknowledge their hard work and are a means of communicating excellence both within the travel industry and to consumers. An award in an area critical to a hotel’s strategy strengthens its competitive advantage in the market.
What are the institution’s… ambitions? Are there any plans for an international one in the future?
K.D.: We are taking it one step at a time. Our initial goal is to establish Tourism Awards as a well-respected institution that adds value to the companies awarded. We want the Tourism Awards logo to work as a widely recognizable sign of high quality and excellence in hospitality & travel services and as a credential that winning companies can communicate to their customers and partners in Greece and abroad.
Can you please name the Top 10 Greek Hotels for us, (in your opinion).
I.Z.: The truth is that the Greek tourism market has many hotels that excel in different areas and levels. However, it would be unfair to compare a boutique hotel to a large five star resort. We choose to evaluate specific practices, so that every company -regardless of type and size- has the opportunity to compete on an equal basis.
Our goal through the Tourism Awards is not to distinguish Greece’s top hotels, but top practices followed by pioneering hotels. We believe that this is the way to help promote excellence across the entire hospitality sector.