Dr Alkmini Gkritzali
Dr. Alkmini Gkritzali is a Senior Lecturer in Tourism at the University of Surrey, where she is also the Programme Leader of MSc in International Tourism Management and the SHTM Dissertation Leader. Alkmini has received a BSc in Marketing and Communication from Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB) and an MA in Creative and Media Enterprises from the University of Warwick, before pursuing a PhD on the way motion pictures influence travel destinations at Cass Business School, City University London. At Surrey, Alkmini teaches various courses, such as Destination Management and Marketing, Tourism Services Marketing and Strategic Brand Management. Her research interests include the way destinations and their images develop and transform in everyday life, through popular culture projections, offline and online storytelling, intercultural stereotyping or even major social, political or natural crises. Alkmini is passionate about destinations, viewing them not as products, but as powerful experiences, which can create memories of a lifetime and change people’s lives.
Areas of specialism
University roles and responsibilities
- Programme Director - MSc in International Tourism Management
- SHTM Dissertation Leader
Destination marketing, Destination branding, Online and offline storytelling, Social media, Social cognition, Value co-creation in tourism, Popular culture tourism, Film-induced tourism
Tourism Management - Level 4
Strategic Brand Management in Tourism - Level 6
Strategic Marketing and Brand Management in Tourism - Level 7
Research Methods - Level 7
Destination Management and Marketing - Level 7
This paper develops a methodology for the early detection of reactivation of tourist markets to help mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 crisis, using Skyscanner data on air passenger searches (>5,000 million) and picks (>600 million), for flights between November 2018 and December 2020, through ForwardKeys. For future travel during the May to September 2020 period, the desire to travel (based on the number of flight searches) has dropped by about 30% in Europe and the Americas, and by about 50% in Asia, while intention to travel (the number of flight picks, the final selections amongst flight searches) has dropped a further 10-20%. Most source markets remain optimistic about air travel during the last quarter of 2020, suggesting a U shape recovery. However, optimism has dwindled as time passes, suggesting a flatline L shape. A traffic light dashboard for domestic and inbound air travel demand to Spain shows how destination managers might use Big Data relating to the early recovery of key source markets to develop targeted marketing strategies. We show how Big Data provides timely granular data essential in highly volatile situations, and we argue that destination management organisations must improve their Big Data analytical and evidence-based, decision-making skills.
The article discusses a study that explores the role of value creation in the value created by consumers in their consumption activities and experiences. Topics covered include the relationship between value consumer creativity and the consumption of brands, the emergence of online platforms of exchange and the development of new consumer experiences, and on how value is crated when consumers integrate and share resources to others. Also mentioned are the psychological, social and cultural mechanisms that drive value creation.
Efforts to design and communicate sustainable tourism products have been based on the premise of explicit market demand for sustainability. This study tests whether it is possible to design mainstream sustainable tourism products that circumvent customer scrutiny of their sustainability features, by making sustainability implicit (as part of quality product design) and communicating hedonistic benefits instead. This is akin to using the peripheral route of communication, as explained in the Elaboration Likelihood Model, as the central route emphasises the consumer-driven message of overall quality of experience; the approach lessens the need for customers to be conscious of the sustainability consequences of their actions. The methodology proposed to achieve this is User-Centred Design (UCD), which places insights into customer needs, values and demands at the heart of new product design. We designed sustainable tourist activities using UCD and then appraised customer demand for them. Although this may seem counterintuitive, the results show that it can be more effective than traditional methods in mainstreaming sustainable activities, through choice-editing of unsustainable ones and normalising the appearance and communication of sustainability, provided a focus on sustainability is maintained by the product provider.
To mainstream sustainability, we need to understand the value gained from sustainability by users. We apply a user-centred design methodology to develop an agile, iterative, incremental and reflexive process to understand the sustainability value proposition for Lufthansa City Center travel agents. We analyse the failure of sustainability communications within the online platforms used by these agents and explore why the agents factor out sustainability information during the customer sales process. We identify how agents and customers understand sustainability, and we explore opportunities to co-create sustainability value. Furthermore, we prototype, and then test, methods of empowering travel agents to communicate sustainability to their customers as a value-adding proposition.
This paper explores the way location myths conveyed through Hollywood movies influence consumer expectations, by looking at how the city of Paris is represented in motion pictures. We develop measures of the location image of Paris in a sample of Hollywood movies released between 1985 and 2011. These are used to examine the images of Paris held by American consumers who have never directly experienced the location. Our results show that Hollywood movies project specific location images and myths of Paris. More specifically, we show that these images fall into two distinct stereotypic patterns and are widely shared by consumers. Individuals who seek information on location from popular culture are shown to embrace and reproduce Paris myths. The study concludes that the cultural industries influence the cognitive consumption of location through the production and dissemination of meaning, via stories and fuelled by perpetual myth making.
This study examines the evolution of the city of Athens’ destination image from 2005 to 2015, in order to exploit the impact of the recent economic recession on individual perceptions. It uses advanced web content mining to analyze Tripadvisor messages that were posted in Athens Travel Forum. The findings show that the image of Athens has remained positive, facing a significant, but short-term, shift during the first years of the crisis. The findings also reveal that the destination image of Athens is only partially shared by people residing inside and outside Greece, and that non-Greek residents have more favorable perceptions towards the destination. The study expands understanding on destination image literature by demonstrating the normative nature of destination images, which - once established - can be particularly resistant to change, even during long term crises.
Advances in technology have brought back the concept of home sharing and transformed it into a global phenomenon that is peer-to-peer (P2P) accommodation. Yet, the vast growth of P2P accommodation also pairs with increasing customers’ dissatisfaction. There is an increasing evidence of guests experiencing service failures during their stay with P2P accommodation, resulting from various service encounters, such as guest-host relations, technological challenges, customer service interactions, etc. Though the concept of service failure has received considerable attention in the past, most studies have been limited to investigating its patterns and impacts from a dyadic customer – provider relationship perspective, where the provider is solely responsible for service failure. Through P2P platforms, how service is delivered and experienced is fundamentally changed as more entities are involved in service system. In P2P accommodation system, service is delivered through different service encounters within the triadic relationship: customer – service provider encounter and customer – platform provider encounter. This new form of service delivery has been neglected in current service failure research. Therefore, in order to fill the research gap and provide managerial implications, this study explores the major forms of service failure in P2P accommodation and provides effective recovery strategies accordingly.
This research note uses sentiment analysis of online conversations to identify how long it takes for individual attitudes to turn favourable again during a sustained destination crisis. The note’s main aim is to give insights to researchers and DMOs on the recovery process of online destination sentiment, as an indicator of destination image, by investigating the representation of the city of Athens in a popular forum. The case of Athens is topical, as the city faces a sustained financial crisis, which officially began on April 2010 and has been marked by a series of major financial events, such as credit downgrades and international loans. The research note is part of a wider research project, which aims to respond to the growing financial instability that has affected multiple destinations, and its multiple impacts on tourism.