I prioritize knowing each employee on a personal level, fostering an environment that promotes their mental well-being and individuality. Beyond their professional growth, I recognize and respect their personal needs. Education and career development are essential, but I also value every conversation as an opportunity for a coaching-like interaction. I encourage self-realization and the exploration of hidden potentials, making these interactions much more than just business discussions.

As part of my series about “How To Create A Travel Experience That Keeps People Coming Back For More”, I had the pleasure of interviewing John Kyritsis.

John Kyritsis is an accomplished entrepreneur and visionary leader in the hospitality industry. As the founder and CEO of Axia Hospitality Sales and Hospitality Management, he has played a pivotal role in establishing the company as a premier leasing company. With a passion for providing exceptional experiences to guests, John also holds ownership of A77 Suites by Andronis, an esteemed member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World, located in Athens. Driven by a commitment to excellence, John recently undertook the renovation of Minois Hotel, another esteemed member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World. With his keen eye for detail and dedication to quality, he has transformed the hotel into a Mediterranean chic haven for travelers seeking luxury and comfort in the beautiful island of Paros.

Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Of course! When I was 14 in 1994, my father was invited by friends who were staying at the Intercontinental Hotel in Athens. We decided to join them for a casual coffee at the hotel. The moment we stepped into the hotel, its captivating ambiance, exceptional hospitality, and impeccable service left a profound impression on me. Witnessing how they effortlessly turned a simple coffee gathering into a cherished memory inspired me deeply.

As we enjoyed our coffee, I couldn’t help but be enthralled by the hotel’s ability to create such a luxurious and inviting atmosphere. Every detail seemed to be meticulously curated to enhance the overall experience.

It was in that very moment that I realized I wanted to be a part of crafting these remarkable experiences for others. The passion for the hospitality industry was ignited within me, and since then, it has been the driving force behind my career.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Certainly, one of the most intriguing stories from my career dates back to when I was just 18 years old. I attended an interview for a front desk agent position at a prestigious 5-star hotel in Santorini. Surprisingly, I declined the offer.

To my surprise, the next day brought an unexpected turn of events. I received a call from the owner of the company, who expressed his fascination at my decision. He mentioned that he had never encountered someone who turned down a job opportunity like that before. In response, he offered me a completely different role: the position of assistant to the CEO of the company.

This twist of fate was remarkable. At that time, the company oversaw 13 hotels in Santorini, and being entrusted with a role directly supporting the CEO was an immense responsibility and honor.

This experience taught me a valuable lesson. Sometimes, a seemingly simple “no” can set in motion unforeseen opportunities that have the potential to reshape one’s entire trajectory. This story underscores the importance of taking chances and being open to uncharted paths, as they can lead to remarkable outcomes that might never have been anticipated.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Early in my career while working at a prestigious 5-star property, I encountered a situation that still brings a smile to my face. A guest had called to book a spa appointment, and due to my lack of experience, I found myself unsure of how to proceed. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, I made an admittedly funny mistake — I chose to stay silent and simply hung up the phone.

Looking back, I can’t help but chuckle at my novice approach to handling the situation. However, this incident taught me a valuable lesson about the importance of communication, honesty, and seeking help when needed. Instead of letting my inexperience dictate my actions, I should have reached out to a more experienced colleague or supervisor for guidance. Admitting that I didn’t have the answer at that moment would have been a much better approach.

This humorous mistake taught me that everyone starts somewhere, and it’s okay to not have all the answers right away. What truly matters is our willingness to learn, adapt, and seek assistance when faced with unfamiliar situations. Since then, I’ve embraced challenges with a proactive attitude, ensuring that I communicate effectively and make the most of every learning opportunity that comes my way.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I’m a firm believer that each of us charts our own unique path, and our strength lies in the choices and changes we make along the way that shape our journey and define our successes. While it’s true that certain individuals may have an impact on our trajectory towards success, it’s important to recognize that we also influence them in return.

I hold a deep sense of gratitude towards my father, who played a significant role in my life’s direction. Despite his own successful career as a doctor, he showed remarkable understanding and respect for my decision to pursue a career in the hospitality industry.

In essence, our paths are woven with the threads of both our own choices and the support of those who believe in us.

Thank you for that. Let’s jump to the core of our discussion. Can you share with our readers about the innovations that you are bringing to the travel and hospitality industries?

Absolutely, I’d be glad to share the innovations that have been at the core of my journey in the travel and hospitality industries. However, my journey of innovation began even before the present day, back in 2012 when I made a pivotal shift from my role as a Hotel Manager and Director to establish Axia Hospitality.

At that time, the landscape was quite different. While many management companies were primarily focused on operations management, I recognized an untapped opportunity in sales and revenue management. Axia Hospitality was groundbreaking as the first company in Greece to fully concentrate on revenue management services for hotels. This shift marked a significant departure from the conventional approach and sparked a wave of change in the industry.

This decision to pivot towards sales and revenue management wasn’t just a business choice — it was a strategic innovation that inspired numerous professionals in the hospitality sector. The success and impact of Axia Hospitality encouraged others to follow suit, creating their own businesses with a sharp focus on enhancing hotel sales and revenue. It initiated a trend that, by 2023, has led to the emergence of several such companies dedicated to assisting smaller hotels and hotel owners who might lack the necessary expertise to optimize their sales and revenue.

Looking back, I’m proud to have played a role in shaping this shift towards sales and revenue management specialization. This innovation has not only helped hotels thrive financially but has also elevated the standards of revenue-focused strategies within the industry. It’s a testament to the power of recognizing opportunities for change and embracing innovation to drive meaningful transformation.

Innovation, as I’ve learned, isn’t confined to a specific time frame — it’s a journey of continuous adaptation and evolution, fueled by the desire to make a difference. My journey with Axia Hospitality continues to be a source of inspiration for me, reminding me that even the smallest shifts can lead to monumental changes in an industry as dynamic as hospitality.

Which “pain point” are you trying to address by introducing this innovation and how do you envision that this might disrupt the status quo?

The innovation behind Axia Hospitality aimed to alleviate the pain point faced by smaller hotels and owners who lacked the expertise to optimize sales and revenue effectively. Traditional management companies focused on operations, leaving revenue management unaddressed. Axia’s specialized approach disrupted this by providing tailored revenue management solutions. This shift democratized revenue expertise, enabling smaller hotels to access advanced strategies and technology. The disruption challenged the status quo, prompting a trend of dedicated companies assisting smaller hotels, thus reshaping the industry landscape.

As you know, COVID19 changed the world as we know it. Can you share a few examples of how travel and hospitality companies will be adjusting over the next five years to the new ways that consumers will prefer to travel?

Certainly, the impact of COVID-19 has prompted significant changes in the travel and hospitality sectors. Over the next five years, companies will adjust their strategies to align with new consumer preferences for travel. Here’s how:

Last-Minute Character: Travel and hospitality companies will cater to the growing trend of last-minute travel. They will implement flexible booking options, dynamic pricing, and user-friendly interfaces that accommodate spontaneous trips and changing plans.

Off the Beaten Path Destinations: Consumers now prefer less crowded destinations. Companies will highlight and promote unique, less touristy locations, offering curated experiences that allow travelers to explore hidden gems while avoiding crowds.

More Mindful and Back-to-the-Roots Experiences: The shift towards mindful travel will continue. Companies will focus on providing experiences that foster connections with local cultures, nature, and personal well-being. This might involve wellness retreats, eco-conscious accommodations, and immersive cultural interactions.

Sustainability as a Priority: In response to the growing concern for the environment, travel and hospitality companies will increasingly adopt sustainable practices. They will reduce single-use plastics, promote eco-friendly accommodations, and support local conservation efforts. Companies that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability will resonate with conscientious travelers.

Incorporating these adjustments, including a focus on sustainability, will allow travel and hospitality companies to meet the evolving preferences of consumers in the post-COVID era.

You are a “travel insider”. How would you describe your “perfect vacation experience”?

As a “travel insider,” I find that the perfect vacation experience transcends the usual factors of destination and luxury. To me, a perfect vacation is a time to disconnect from the usual demands of life and connect with both oneself and loved ones. It’s about embracing true quality time, free from distractions, where genuine moments can be shared and cherished. Whether in a serene natural setting or a bustling city, the essence of a perfect vacation lies in the opportunity to be present and create lasting memories with those who matter most.

Travel is not always about escaping, but about connecting. Have you made efforts to cultivate a more wellness driven experience? We’d love to hear about it.

Absolutely, I believe that travel is more than just an escape; it’s a chance to foster connections. When it comes to cultivating a wellness-driven experience, our efforts extend beyond the obvious elements like our lovely Minois Hotel in Paros and its amenities such as the beautiful outdoor gym and the Aura Spa. We’ve put emphasis on crafting an environment that envelops guests in a sense of calm and tranquility.

Our approach involves carefully selecting hues, patterns, and sea and sunset views that contribute to relaxation. The surrounding gardens and natural environment are curated to create an ambiance that encourages guests to connect with themselves. This setting allows individuals to tune out the noise of daily life and truly hear their internal voice in a clearer and more profound manner. Ultimately, our goal is to offer an experience that nurtures well-being and provides a space for meaningful self-discovery and connection. Picture yourself unwinding to the soothing melodies of nature, with the gentle symphony of birdsong and the rhythmic chorus of crickets in the background.

Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. Based on your experience and success, what are the five most important things one should know in order to create a travel experience that keeps bringing people back for more? Please share a story or an example for each.

Creating a travel experience that consistently brings people back involves a blend of essential factors. Drawing from my experience with Minois Hotel, here are five key insights to craft a compelling and enduring journey for travelers:

Cultural Immersion and Authenticity: Infuse the local culture into every aspect of the Minois Hotel experience. For instance, we organize guided tours to nearby historic sites, allowing guests to delve into the rich heritage of Paros.

Personalization at its Best: Tailor each guest’s experience to their individual preferences. A memorable instance at Minois Hotel was when we surprised a couple with a private sunset picnic, showcasing the stunning sunset from Parasporos Beach and creating a truly personal memory.

Exceptional Service: Striving for service excellence is paramount. A guest once mentioned their fondness for a specific type of local pastry. Our team promptly arranged a private baking session with a local chef, making their stay truly exceptional.

Obsession with Detail: Every detail matters, from the selection of furnishings to the scent of the common areas, Suites and linen. The meticulous design choices at Minois Hotel, reminiscent of the Mediterranean palette, contribute to an atmosphere that enhances the overall experience.

Sustainability and Community Engagement: Embrace sustainable practices and give back to the local community. Minois Hotel proudly partners with local artisans, showcasing their crafts in the hotel, which not only supports the community but also enriches the guest experience.

By weaving these five principles into the fabric of Minois Hotel, we’ve managed to create an enchanting and unforgettable stay that resonates deeply with our guests. This holistic approach, encompassing authenticity, personalization, exceptional service, meticulous attention to detail, and a commitment to sustainability, entices travelers to return, eager to relive the magic of their time on the beautiful island of Paros.

Can you share with our readers how you have used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Absolutely, using my success to contribute goodness to the world is a principle I hold dear. Across my companies, which collectively employ 110 individuals, I’ve dedicated myself to a personal and holistic approach to leadership.

I prioritize knowing each employee on a personal level, fostering an environment that promotes their mental well-being and individuality. Beyond their professional growth, I recognize and respect their personal needs. Education and career development are essential, but I also value every conversation as an opportunity for a coaching-like interaction. I encourage self-realization and the exploration of hidden potentials, making these interactions much more than just business discussions.

In this way, I aim to create a supportive space that goes beyond the workplace. By focusing on the mental health and growth of my employees as individuals, I believe I’m contributing positively to their lives and, in turn, to the broader world. It’s my belief that empowering individuals within my sphere of influence ripples out to foster goodness in both their personal and professional spheres.

You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

The movement you mentioned has already taken shape, and it began in 2012 with the inception of Axia, as I mentioned earlier. The true transformation began within me — a shift from a “no pain, no gain” mindset to one that harnessed my convictions to overcome my own limitations. This transformation not only changed my own reality but also had a profound impact on the reality of my employees and fellow hoteliers in Greece.

This movement, rooted in the power of mindset and determination, has initiated a ripple effect of positive change. By proving that transformation is possible, even in the face of challenges, I aim to inspire others to break free from their own constraints and create meaningful change in their lives and communities. The movement is a testament to the idea that personal growth and empowerment can be a driving force for collective good, making a difference in the lives of many.

On a more practical level, I’ve observed a curious gap in the U.S. hospitality landscape. Despite the abundance of hotels that lack the backing of major brands like Marriott or Hilton, there’s a surprising absence of companies similar to Axia. The kind of specialized services that Axia offers, focusing on revenue management and sales optimization, could significantly benefit these independent establishments.

In a market where smaller hotels and boutique lodgings can play a vital role, there’s an untapped opportunity to bring the expertise of revenue management to the forefront. These independent hotels could greatly benefit from services that enhance their revenue streams, improve guest experiences, and enable them to compete on a level playing field with larger hotel chains.

Just as Axia sparked a movement in Greece, there’s a potential to ignite a similar movement in the U.S. by establishing companies that cater specifically to the revenue management needs of smaller hotels. By empowering these establishments with tools, strategies, and insights, we can foster a thriving ecosystem of independent hotels that contribute to the diverse tapestry of the hospitality industry. This could lead to a more vibrant, competitive, and enriched landscape that benefits both businesses and travelers alike.

How can our readers follow you on social media?

IG Minois Hotel: @minoisparos

IG A77 Suites by Andronis: @a77suitesbyandronis

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!


  • Savio P. Clemente

    TEDx Speaker, Media Journalist, Board Certified Wellness Coach, Best-Selling Author & Cancer Survivor

    Savio P. Clemente, TEDx speaker and Stage 3 cancer survivor, infuses transformative insights into every article. His journey battling cancer fuels a mission to empower survivors and industry leaders towards living a truly healthy, wealthy, and wise lifestyle. As a Board-Certified Wellness Coach (NBC-HWC, ACC), Savio guides readers to embrace self-discovery and rewrite narratives by loving their inner stranger, as outlined in his acclaimed TEDx talk: "7 Minutes to Wellness: How to Love Your Inner Stranger." Through his best-selling book and impactful work as a media journalist — covering inspirational stories of resilience and exploring wellness trends — Savio has collaborated with notable celebrities and TV personalities, bringing his insights to diverse audiences and touching countless lives. His philosophy, "to know thyself is to heal thyself," resonates in every piece.