On 2nd February 2012, we were delighted to be invited to attend the first ever Google Travel Forum in Greece. During this event, key Google executives from the Athens office gave insights into the growth of internet usage in particular with regards to travel and tourism. Attendance was much higher than anticipated with a full house comprised of hotel managers and executives, travel agents, holiday operators and other important businesses from the Greek and Cypriot tourism sector.
The Google Greece team introduced us to the ‘Online Revolution’ and then in particular discussed the 5 stages of planning a holiday for the digital traveler – dreaming, planning, experiencing, sharing and examined the use of technology at each stage of the process. Much emphasis throughout the session was placed on the huge importance of social media and sources of user generated content such as Trip Advisor on influencing travelling choices and decisions.
There were also presentations of great success stories through the use of Google technologies, including businesses that had grown very successful creating awareness through the use of Google Adwords search and display advertising.
The two guest speakers of the event formed the main part of the evening. First up was Dr Ioannis-John Kent, CEO of youtravel.com & Acquis Hotels, who gave us an in-depth account of his career and the ways in which he managed to adapt and change both his strategy and business model according to the opportunities and needs present in the marketplace.
Next up was Brand Strategist Peter Economides who talked about the importance of branding a destination and inspired the audience to return Greece to its tourism glory days.
Great entertainment followed with the rock band Onirama as well as an excellent show from popular Greek singer Sakis Rouvas.
Check out our photos from this event on our Google+ page