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Small hotels in Greece: An industry-wide revolution

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The sensation is different in small local boutique hotels to big insipid multinationals. The idea is to choose more intimate, interesting, idiosyncratic accommodation, preferably family-owned - in other words, places with stories to tell - over large, characterless franchises owned by big firms. Opting for one of those small hotels for holidays upgrade the experience in Greece and make you feel like visiting friends in another country.

Τhe last fifteen years, several small hotels have sprung all over Greece. Their philosophy is to offer travelers a genuine taste of Greek “philoxenia”; by arranging for a personal and friendly approach to every aspect of hospitality, by being personally involved in preparing proposals for activities for their guests and take personal care of their guests to ensure they have a good time.

"Philoxenia” is the Greek word for hospitality - it comes from word “philos”, meaning friend, and “xenos”, meaning stranger. It is an act of hospitableness and welcome and it means the friendship for people that are strangers to our home and our country. The Greek hospitality is popular all over the world - the friendliness and openhearted character of Greeks and their curiosity for other cultures is something that a traveler in Greece will certainly experience one way or another.

Many times someone that comes to Greece is only seeking the sea and the sun. Unfortunately, these travelers spend most of their days at the beach or by the pool and take little time to explore what else their destination and its people have to offer. Usually, they prefer the huge, impersonal, all inclusive hotels and the package deals that tourist agents have offer. However, it is not enough for everyone.

As tourism developed in Greece, new proposals emerged in the hospitality industry. Proposals that seek to attract a different kind of traveler that enjoys getting to know a little bit more about their destination, likes to be part of the way of living of locals and wants to explore the real Greece. This is the reason why there will always be room for small independent hotels. You can find these small hotels everywhere in Greece. They are built in the traditional style of the region or a mix of modern and traditional and decorated with great attention to detail. In a way, this size of hotel better fits the Greek landscape and it truer to Greek ideal of human scale. Smaller hotels do not target the package deal holidaymaker but the true traveler. The good thing about small hotels is their personalized service. The hotel you choose to stay can be your guide, host, local expert, chef, all mixed into one. Guests don’t want to be a room number, and the more they are made to feel like family the better. This is the reason why smaller hotels score over the bigger ones. Put in a bit of innovation on setting up appropriate technology, and small hotels can emerge as a tougher competitor to big hotels worldwide.

The sensation is different in small local boutique hotels to big insipid multinationals. The idea is to choose more intimate, interesting, idiosyncratic accommodation, preferably family-owned - in other words, places with stories to tell - over large, characterless franchises owned by big firms. Opting for one of those small hotels for holidays upgrade the experience in Greece and make you feel like visiting friends in another country. Specifically it will be like being home away from home! Small hotels will always make a far better accommodation choice than big brand hotels and this is definitely a shift in thinking towards the notion that smaller is better when it comes to accommodation. In reality a great number of travel and tour companies opting for small and special hotels over big hotels. Eventually, large chain hotels have one principal purpose, and that is to make money for their shareholders. In contrast many small hotels exist for a quite different reason: to provide at least some sort of a living for a family or a husband-and-wife team or local inhabitants who want to remain living locally.

A revolution is brewing. Small independent hotels are authentic this is why many travelers choose them over big hotels. Ιn any case, you can’t mass-produce uniqueness. Travelers are starting to choose a hotel based on the genuine and local cultural experience that independent hotels have to offer. Over the last years consumer preference is shifting away from big brand loyalty with a new realization that authenticity is more important than consistency.  There will always be a need for small independent hotels that will survive and thrive. In places where the big chains have seen profitable openings, the future for small independent hotels may be tough; nevertheless things are not so bad. Independent hotels - at least those that make a difference - have some things that the big brand chains cannot have; outstandingly the human touch, individuality, character and a local base. Notably there will always be a significant minority of travelers who will prefer a small hotel to a big one, a hotel with character, soul and local style, to a sequence of flavorless hotel bedrooms in which, when they wake up in the morning, they have first to wonder where they are.

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