VASSILIS DRACOPOULOS, OWNER, MARBELLA HOTELS
Vassilis Dracopoulos, Owner, MarBella Hotels, tells Can Faik of his pride in watching the MarBella brand grow and prosper as it welcomes guests from all over the world…
MarBella Hotels, nestled into the idyllic and tranquil South-East corner of Corfu in Agios Ioannis Peristeron, Greece, offer the most iconic properties on the island. Following the success of their first property, MarBella Corfu, the family behind MarBella Hotels is looking forward to future expansions throughout 2018/19, commencing with the adult-only property MarBella Nido Suite Hotel & Villas opening in May 2018.
What was your background in hospitality prior to launching MarBella Hotels?
My family has been in the hospitality business for more than 40 years. My involvement from a very young age gave me the opportunity to get a good understanding of all the levels of the business.
What does your current position involve?
In my current position my main focus is the design and development of our new projects and sales strategy. Over recent years I have been fortunate to be surrounded by exceptionally gifted people who have taken over most of the day-to-day operational responsibilities with great success.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
The challenge and creativity around visualising new products, making them happen and ultimately seeing the positive impact in our customers’ reviews. A special joy is the feeling of creating value and jobs in places no-one had thought possible before.
What are the complexities of meeting the demands of shareholders, fulfilling the growth of your management team and delivering the brand’s values to the guests?
We have a tightly knit shareholder base that helps make the decision-making process smooth and fast. The biggest challenge we currently face is the task of rapidly expanding our corporate structure while at the same time not losing our focus from our ultimate goal, which is of course the continued offering of superior customer service.
What will MarBella Hotels have to do to stay one step ahead of its competition, especially in the boutique hospitality sector?
Constantly invest in improving our product and services. For the past 10 years 100 per cent of our profits have been reinvested in the development of our products. We do not take anything for granted, we keep learning from the best practices of the industry and take no short cuts in the development of our staff, who are key to staying ahead.
What are MarBella Hotels Unique Selling Points?
Affordability and a superior level of service with a personal touch.
What is next for the MarBella Hotels as in new openings?
We are very happy to be opening our new adults-only hotel ‘MarBella Nido’ in May 2018. It will offer spectacular views, luxury accommodation in the form of suites and villas and bespoke service with a Corfiot heritage feeling. For summer 2019 we are aiming to open our third hotel on one of the most pristine and acclaimed beaches on mainland Greece.
Are MarBella Hotels looking at any countries in particular for new openings?
We are still focusing on Greece where we firmly believe that there is a strong demand for quality hotel accommodation and services.
Where else would you love to open a MarBella Hotel?
My first choice would be Italy.
What kind of equity will be available to finance all of these new builds and acquisitions?
Our investments are financed with a combination of 70 per cent of our own equity and reinvestment of profits and 30 per cent project financing by banks.
What are the personality traits that define a successful and happy hotel proprietor, in your opinion?
A successful and happy hotel proprietor focuses on clients’ needs, has a keen attention to detail, the ability to motivate a team and is constantly pursuing new trends.
Have you noticed any particular trends in hotels in Europe compared to US and Asia?
In terms of trends, European hotels in general rely mostly on service rather than infrastructure in comparison to hotels in Asia. US hotels are mostly about efficiency.
Have you noticed any particular trends in hotel design?
As we are entering the time of the ‘Millennials’, the aspects of connectivity, casual luxury, destressing of mind and body and healthy living have become central to customers’ expectations and therefore the design of the hotels. Modern hotels are continually striving to find subtle and innovative ways to address these needs and incorporating them into hotel design is a continuing trend.
How important do you feel hotel design has become when launching a new hotel?
Very important. Visiting a hotel is a sensory experience that starts with the eye. However, design needs to follow the concept of the hotel and challenge, in a positive way, the senses of its clients.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Looking at the smiling faces of our customers is where I take a huge amount of enjoyment. I also love inspiring a team with diverse talents and abilities to come together and work towards a common goal in the form of a new and exciting project.
Where currently ranks highest on your travel wish list?
A trip to Antarctica with my kids.
Let’s finish with the issue of personal and work life balance. How do you aim to achieve a good balance and what do those closest to you think of your attempts?
Balancing work with family life is obviously a challenge. I think the best way to tackle it is to allocate each their time and be 100 per cent devoted to it. I consider myself lucky to have a family that supports me in every step of my professional career.