As Owner and Managing Director of the World’s Best Relaxation Retreat (World Boutique Hotel Awards 2018), Sotiris Kopatsaris (MSc Management 2017) is a busy man. The fortunes of his family boutique hotel, Carpe Diem Santorini, have grown from strength to strength since he took over the running, after graduation. No two days are the same: one day Sotiris might be tasting a unique dish for the latest VIP guest; the next the hotel is being used as the backdrop for Givenchy’s new lipstick. So what is his secret to business success? And how has he also found time to set up his own digital marketing agency?
Taking over the reins
“There was a very clear turning point for me: I reaslied that the agents of change in a business that is failing, are the people who dare to accept that they are also partly responsible for the situation. Through this acceptance, comes the desire to change and pursue a different path.
“I was all set to pursue a career in engineering project management and/or business consulting, when this light bulb moment hit. It was then I decided to take responsibility for the leadership and innovation of the family business. With the support of my family, I created a comprehensive plan of action to rejuvenate the business. I repositioned the hotel with more a luxury focus and reviewed our package to guests.
“We revamped the hotel from the inside out, as well as its positioning and brand. It was a fantastic feeling when this resulted in our first award – World’s Best Honeymoon Hideaway (World Boutique Hotel Awards 2017).”
“We have now created an award-winning website, a cinematic brand video and installed the most cutting-edge software. We have also pursued collaborations with very important agencies in luxury travel – who having seen our upgrades and willingness to push the boundaries, were suddenly very keen to work with us.”
Road to success
Sotiris is quick to attribute this success to the support of his family, as well as his time at Imperial College Business School: “None of this would have been possible without the support of my family, but also the incredible concept of personal responsibility and accountability that I discovered at Imperial. The programme boosted my confidence and enabled me to see the business from a totally different perspective. Only because I was confident in myself and felt personally responsible for the business’s performance, was I able to pursue these radical changes and succeed.”
“Imperial has been the most positive and transformative experience of my life. I think that every student at the Business School is privileged to consider their career and life plans in such and dynamic and creative environment. The year changed my confidence and perspective, and also made me part of an entirely new network of amazing people. It also gave me the skills I needed to pursue my own startup!”
None of this would have been possible without the support of my family, but also the incredible concept of personal responsibility and accountability that I discovered at Imperial.
Despite working full-time on the hotel business 7 days a week for 7 months of the year, Sotiris has also found time to start his own business: Loveworthy LLP. The digital marketing agency that he runs with his best friend, came about after realising what a key driver for custom conversion social media can be.
However despite all his previous experience Sotiris had a lengthy process ahead: “Starting a new business is always a challenge, as is attracting new clients and getting the word out there about what you do. Initially I was overwhelmed by the number of challenges and difficulties. However using the knowledge I gained at Imperial, I was able to push forward and enable our company to expand sustainably. The key skill at this stage is communication and teamwork. We are working intensively to get the word out to potential customers about what we do at Loveworthy.”
Sotiris believes the key to success is to “listen to what your client wants and offer it, not try to convince the client to want your service.” And his final word of advice to other budding entrepreneurs: “No matter how hard you prepare, you’ll never be ready. So, just do it anyway with no hesitation!”
It certainly seemed to work for him.
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