Mr. Paleologos is the founder of HotelBrain, a leading company in the hospitality industry, which started by offering hotel management services, and today it provides a full array of services, including hands-on development and hotel management advisory services as well as short or long-term lease solutions.
Having studied hotel management in Athens and in Switzerland, Panos Paleologos wanted to immediately work on what he had studied. The idea to found HotelBrain was born after realizing that there was a gap in Greece. He soon came to the conclusion that internet would bring about a major change in the hotel industry; a hotel unit on the premises that needed to be taken care of, and another one on the internet. “A family business could not easily handle this situation. It needed professional care.”
The company began its operations in Santorini offering luxury and boutique products. Later on, it expanded in other Cyclades islands as well. The headquarters of the company was in Santorini, but in 2009 it was transferred in Athens and started offering its services throughout the country. Today, it is present in 34 Greek destinations. It employs 90 people at its central offices (sales, marketing, HR department, accounting services etc.) and in 2019 it hired 1,500 seasonal workers.
But how did HotelBrain come to be trusted by so many hotels? “In the beginning, somebody asked me to work at a hotel as a manager. I answered that I would find a suitable manager and I would take responsibility for it. As the number of the hotels increased, people soon realized that there was a whole team working on this and they had confidence in us,” Mr. Paleologos says. And then it was a matter of imitation. “When someone realized that their competitors were doing fine due to professional management, they became aware that they should do something about it as well,” he added.
He himself claims that it is not a matter of talent, but a question of know-how, of suitable practices, of professional management and professional training. He also believes that synergies are extremely important.
What does he think of the Greek tourism and its prospects?
“In the past years we experienced the boom of the Greek tourism. I do not think it occurred by chance. It was the outcome of different circumstances. Without realizing it the country turned into a top tourist destination,” he points out. He also added that in the years of the financial crisis there was not a decrease in tourism, but on the contrary, there was considerable rise, because the tourist industry acquired a more professional profile.
“In terms of tourism, Greece is a developed country. It is we who have to realize that Greece is a major player,” he points out, and he adds that a lot of things are currently changing in the important sector of infrastructures (ports, airports). Significant progress has been made in the field of professional training, but more things need to be done. “I believe that Greece will continue being a major player in Europe and all over the world. We have to be careful with the environment, because that is what makes the destination amazing,” he points out.
What is the development margin? “There is no limit in that. Every time we have to establish a new balance. For instance, it does not make sense not to have any clients so as to protect the environment. We have to succeed in having a large number of tourists and a good average price while protecting the environment and the local community. This can be accomplished with the right management and organization,” he says.
And about the impact of the pandemic? “The pandemic will shake up the whole system,” but he is optimistic. “The hotel industry has proved to be highly adaptable to the new conditions. It is flexible. I have no fear at all,” he says.
According to him, the essence of things will not change; what is going to change is the way we perceive holidays and how we travel. “Travelling and having new experiences play an important role in our lives. This is common ground for our society,” he adds.
Vaccination against Covid-19 is a crucial issue, because it ensures immunity. As soon as we succeed in this, there will be a great demand for trips. “I only hope that immunity will be accomplished by the end of June so that in summer we will be in full swing,” he says.
Three steps should be taken for the post-covid age:
1: Αdjustment to the new reality
3. Investment in human beings