Saturday, November 13, 2010

Cyprus Airways fails with Russian Market

According to valid unofficial information, Cyprus Airways failed to agree with tour operators from St. Petersburg in Russia to take over the flights of the bankrupt Eurocypria airlines.

Cyprus airways and the Russian stakeholders did not agree on the prices the airline asked and therefore the negotiations have failed. 

This is huge hit towards the bleeding Cypriot Tourism industry since it lets Cyprus tourism without many options to re-conquer the Russian market. Here is worth mentioning that the Cypriot state managed to simplify the visa issue for Russian visitors and only this action gave an increase of 50% on tourism arrivals from the Russian Federation. 

It seems that Cyprus Airways cannot cope with the flights undertaken by the already bankrupt Eurocypria and the promises of the Cypriot administration cannot be fulfilled at least in the short term. This turnout leaves the steam engine of the Cypriot economy without fuel. The Cypriot tourism stakeholders have just had the fist signs of the incompetiveness of their state which will cost to the country much more than tourism arrivals.

Cyprus air transport is going through a very tough period due to corruption and wrong management. The stubbornness of the Cypriot government to hide problems for many years, the boards of directors of the two airlines need to go under investigation now and clarify who is responsible for this very serious economic disaster the country is about to face. At the same time brave decisions are needed to privatise the air transport sector and give back to the market the good name and good reputation in such a way that the tour operators and travels regain trust to Cyprus as a destination.

Friday, November 5, 2010 and Aeolos Travel in Cyprus get a good understanding of Social Media in Travel

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
Some time last week the phone rang and the Marketing Manager of the leading travel portal in Cyprus was on the other side of the cable. Andreas Lazarou from Aeolos travel, owners of has asked me if I could give a seminar to the team of Aeolos and Bookcyprus in Protaras over the weekend.

I have gladly accepted the challenge, but I could never think that that weekend would have been such an experience. Talking to people involved in online travel sales was for me a fantastic experience. I am a trainer for the last 10 years now and dealing with online travel training for almost 3 years. The team was simply fantastic. The mixture of “onliners” and “offliners” in the room gave the perfect mixture to achieve attention and challenging questions that I enjoyed very much.

I really hope that the audience has enjoyed the seminar as much as I did. Of course the scenery was perfect. The “extreme” hospitality of Sotos Stephanou, Managing Director of Aeolos, and the relaxed luxury of Cabo Bay Hotel came to close the circle of a perfect professional weekend.

Special thanks to Ian Hay for sharing the picture above from his Blackberry on his TwitPic.

Thank you Aeolos and

Monday, November 1, 2010

How can Social Media make money for the travel industry?

etourismforum panel-speakersThe debate about the ROI in implementing Social Media in a business has been going on for quite a long time now. While experts and not so experts struggle to prove that Social Media can make money the different industry leaders do not seen so convinced.

I have been intensively working in the world of Social Media in the travel industry for the last two years and I can assure you that it is a very hard job to prove the profitability of Social Media. The reason is not because is not possible to increase sales “going social” but due to the traditional business practices that have never included Customer Service (offline) to the traditional sales funnel.

Travel stakeholders prefer to go ahead pay per click campaigns and SEO that bring them direct traffic to their sites instead of implementing a time consuming strategy that will eventually give them online reputation, especially when it comes to intermediates that get their money from mass production of room nights and air tickets. Visiblity in he Social Media sphere is indirect and subtle, peer to peer means lost of control and this creates panic to the boards of directors of the big tour operators.

Now, six years after the internet went social tour operators realise that they need to change, they need to change fast and catch their customers they need to focus on customer care before, during and after the sale. Simple email follow-up and reviews are not enough anymore. The end user wants to be pampered and bombarded; the end user demands specialization and destination insights. Openness and authenticity are the most valued content components from the end user, therefore email shots and maniac Twitting is controversial.

The only valid path for the travel industry is to recreate its brand strategy around social media and its components, aggregate users’ content and via conversations and engagement convert them into advocates. This can only be achieved with professional help and domination of insights.

If we now look at destinations like Cyprus, where tourism is the steam engine of the economy and where the global financial crisis has crashed travel traffic dramatically, the local travel stakeholders need to make the move quickly. The “fear” of digital is present but I can assure you that “risky” travel business men and women are getting professional coaching and they are convinced that they can achieve sales growth even now in the most abyss depths of crisis.

E-Tourism Forum Cyprus 2009 - The end of Control Part III