One almost magical thing about social media and the Internet is the way in which news is spread, so quickly and often on a personal level. I was scanning my Facebook messages and notifications the other day when I ran across an interesting announcement from our friends at Travel Daily News. The wonderful family owned hotel chain, Diana Group Hotels, having just done a splendid job relaunching their company website. What’s more interesting though, is how the family actually engages the web better than most huge corporations. Read on.
Travel Is About Peeps
It is no secret that Travel Daily News is one of the most trusted online travel information portals. Theodore Koumelis and Panos Fotiadis are superlative people, imminently knowledgeable and friendly, especially where all things Greek are concerned – Panos even asked me via Facebook how I discovered the Diana re-design so soon. Well, that was easy, I read Travel Daily News. But this story is about a great Greek family hospitality company. And as a tech blogger of some repute, it’s always fun to scrutinize websites.
The Diana Group of Hotels is truly a family oriented and run business. Begun in 1972 by Panagiotis and Loukia Margari, Hotel Diana quickly expanded on the philosophy of offering the best in family oriented services to her guests. Located in beautiful Zakynthos, the third largest Island in the Ionian chain, Diana bestows a bit of the 70’s upon visitors without seeming like a relic as so many older hotels do. The home of the Margari family’s hotel dream, it sits in perhaps the best location possible in the center of Zakynthos, a stone’s throw from the blue of the Ionian Sea and all the nearby attractions.
The Diana Group of course capitalized on the demand for superior service and the family’s passion for friendliness. In 1989 the Diana Palace was opened just outside Zakynthos near the ever popular Argassi resort. A good thing being a sort of “contagious” condition, the four star Filoxenia Hotel (below) quickly followed in 2001. Finally, the Meandros Hotel (image bottom) was completed in 2006 to offer visitors to Kalamaki beach a warm respite from all day frolicking at the seaside.
Online Branding the Right Way – Reflecting Beauty
Anyone who knows an inkling about the Internet can tell you a company’s website must quickly and aesthetically reflect the essence of the underlying business. If you think about it, this is really only logical. It’s all about truth when you get down to it. And so, a family hotel chain’s website should reveal what? The people that make up the family, and of course the places those people have infused with their passion – in this case superb hotel accommodations in paradise.
The Diana Group’s new website is crisp and elegant without being overly gimmicky, in short the new site is an economical – almost minimalist affair from the design aspect. Easy navigation, wonderful use of images, and most significantly an introduction to the people who run these hotels – this is what a website should be about. Is it perfect? No website it. But, it does show any visitor a window into these places to stay at one of the world’s most beautiful destinations.
I have to note though, for what I would term a small hotel chain, Diana’s people have created a very social and savvy network connected to their new site – Facebook, Twitter, even a YouTube channel as evidenced below – the Margari’s engage better than some mega PR firms honestly.
What’s more, the Margari’s had the site developers infuse a bit of intuitiveness into the new portal. I particularly like the tool dedicated to revealing what goes on around the area, I Feel Like (illustrated briefly below) offers quests vital info about the goings on – from dance clubs to scenic attractions – personal service does include digital tour info these days.
The Ultimate Social Quantity – Reciprocity
When all is said and done, no review can adequately reflect what you the reader, site visitor, and ultimately hotel guest experiences. My job, as always, is to reflect what you will probably feel. I will tell you this, it helps a lot when reciprocity is so easily forthcoming – kindness so genuine and almost instantaneous. As I was zooming past the Travel Daily News Facebook postings, I just “liked” this new Diana Group look, made a comment – no strings – just a notice.
Almost immediately Katerina Margari, the owner of these wonderful hotels, came to thank me personally, adding at Facebook and etc. I did not do anything, please understand. These are just very nice people.
The only negative comment this writer has is on the site’s utilization of TripAdvisor’s TripWow tool. For hotels of the caliber of the Diana Group offering, TripAdvisor’s generic video/slide show tool is frankly cheap looking. Two hours in the hotels, and 3 or 4 in our edit room could have produced something compelling honestly. Aside this, there is not a lot of negative where Diana Hotel Group’s online face is concerned.
To conclude here, it is not so often I rave about a website, let alone a corporate one. The thing is, with travel, showing the correct online presence is maybe more crucial than in any other business. Diana Group Hotels has delivered on projecting the perfect image of themselves here, and across their other profiles on the Web. But what is more important, the owner of the company is engaged and engaging.
When we travel to this marvelous Ionian paradise, I know where we will be staying. Where else but a place where friendliness is like next door, at one of the places in the mind’s eye? Our thanks for Katerina Margari (home image) for a warm and friendly smile, and showing corporate hospitality in Greece what true social engagement should be like.
Most of the images are courtesy of Diana Group Hotels from their website and Facebook.