Sotiris Damianos, former founding director of one of TUI’s hotel sites, has become an active partner in The San Francisco Mystery SL, which is behind the emerging Greek sailing and yacht charter holiday specialist, 48options.com.
This is just one of a number of business ventures that Damianos is participating in at board level since leaving TUI. He brings over 15 years’ tourism experience to the business which includes previous management roles at United Airlines, Opodo and a now e-bay owned shopping service.
Damianos said, “48options.com is currently focused on pioneering a crowd sourcing model in a niche market, providing sailing holidays to Greece. It’s an exciting time to be part of a company which is fundamentally revolutionising the way consumers shop for travel by opening up competition in the Greek Sailing market which has so far been dominated by a few key players.”
The website, based around the Web 2.0 concept of ‘crowd-sourcing’, allows increased engagement between multiple suppliers and the customer.
The website works as follows: Customers are invited to write their request for a sailing holiday on the homepage. This message is sent to all registered sailing companies who then have 48 hours to provide the customer with the most competitive, tailored response directly by email and or telephone.
The site allows anyone to use the service for free to source their sailing holiday in Greece. Professional Greek sailing suppliers have the opportunity to subscribe to the service for lead generation, and use the service free for a limited trial period. To fund the site and the development of the service, suppliers are asked to pay a small subscription of approximately £50 per month.
Damianos added, “While the crowd-sourcing concept usually favours buyers who receive tailored quotes from a variety of suppliers at once, the service also fosters increased competition allowing small independent specialists more opportunities to compete.”
Unlike the simple price comparison models which invariably just commoditise suppliers on a price based algorithm, the crowd-sourcing model involves a substantial amount of human interaction.
Walter Kruk, CEO at Ocean Nomads, is one such supplier. He stated, “Ocean Nomads is excited about this new way of doing business. We are getting much more exposure to clients that we could not reach beforehand and it helps us get the message out about our unique personalised service when it comes to crewed, skippered and bareboat charters in Greece.”
In addition, Nena Margariti, spokesperson for Olympic Yachting said, “We’re currently getting a huge number of client contacts with 48options.com and we have the opportunity to maximise what is a relatively small cost when compared to other forms of advertising. The return on investment is great - we’re building up the customer base and brand directly with our target market.
“Olympic Yachting is highly specialised in providing sailing yachts across Greece. Our professional standards cover all aspects of sailing the Greek Islands, including environmental ones with a unique fleet entirely equipped with solar power options. 48options.com enables us to focus on our core strengths, providing a personalised service matching clients with the ideal yachts for their sailing holiday in Greece.”
Suppliers on 48options.com sell sailing holidays on bareboat charters, flotillas, and crewed boat charters, with bases all over Greece, including Athens, the mainland coast and Crete and many other Greek islands in both the Ionian and Aegean seas such as Corfu, Zakynthos, Lefkada, Santorini, Samos, Naxos, Skiathos and many more.