Petros Mavros

Petros Mavros

Petros Mavros directs the Cyprus based office for the eastern Mediterranean, as a senior consultant, he has experience consulting for various Cities with administration and destination planning in Spain, the  putting into action of plans financed and promoted by the European Union Cohesion Fund. An expert in technological development of the tourist sector and such is his level of expertise, companies such as MeetingMatrix and Sybelio have invited him to consult. A holder of a first class business degree in hotel management from SHA Les Roches in Switzerland, Petros Mavros is also multilingual and can communicate fluently in four European languages.

mujeres-unidasWe wish you all a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year, many of you will receive gifts which will both delight and bring pleasure, at the same time these gifts remind you that friends and family through their generosity really care for you.

Last year Avantless only gave one gift, not because we are mean spirited but, as we have been blessed with a great deal more than most people, the wish is to ensure that others less fortunate are able to benefit from this season of giving and receiving.

Christmas 2011 Avantless via KIVA, an international non profit micro lender and through their good offices we were able to loan a sum of money to Esmilce, a 29 year old mother of two from Villarica in Paraguay, who had set up in the local market a butchery business. This on line initiative allowed us to recruit others to also lend a small amount of money to assist this woman in her business aspirations with a loan of $775. Last month Esmilce repaid in full her loan to us and the rest of the lenders, her small business is now flourishing.

Christmas 2012 Avantless will support the Mujeres Unidas, a group of eleven Nicaraguan single mothers with 20 children in their care who are setting up a small grocery shop in order to support their families. Money loaned to initiatives such as these is small, and all will have been vetted by KIVA ensuring credibility and money is not wasted.

Avantless in supporting and nurturing the entrepreneurial spirit, wishes friends and colleagues already blessed with the tools to succeed in their lives, to join us in helping at a grass roots level these single mothers.

Please join us and become a Christmas Micro Lender. Click here to lend a gift that keeps on giving.

Thank you

Petros Mavros

Tuesday, 28 August 2012 08:09

Pafos goes App

treasure list_iphoneAn Innovative First for Cyprus, created by Cypriots for World Travellers.

Imagine you are a visitor to a new town, city, country, you want to see and experience as much as possible, be able to learn about the history of the place, where to eat, how to get there, at the same time have fun winning prizes.

Now you can, no more need for guide books or maps, all this information and more will come to you via your iPhone/iPad.

The launch of the first application centres around Pafos where 14 sites have been listed, these include museums, archaeological, creativeworkshops, and craft outlets.

When a visitor checks into a site they instantly gain points, as they progress they will gain enough points to win a gift, plus the chance to win a three night stay for two at a local hotel.

Treasure Hunt in effect, promotes places of interest, at the same time thevisitor takes part in a fun competitive game. All points on the app are accessible by public transport and the application facilitates the bus route information for each point.

The application is available in English, Greek, and Russian. Another big bonus boost for towns and cities, is the application allows treasure hunters to share their progress with friends and family via social networking sites – Facebook and Twitter, by sharing their 'hunt' in this way the town and its 'treasures' are promoted to new potential visitors.

It's been a long time in the making but, we the innovators can now offer this totally unique application FREE on the iTunes App Store or by visiting www.pafostreasurehunt.com .

Nicosia based company Cocoon Creations along with Pafos based Tourism Consultants Avantless LTD plus a like minded group of International associates are busy working on applications for European destinations.

Cocoon Creation's co-founder Michalis Strouthos believes: -

'This is just the beginning of something much bigger, by cleverly harnessing the power of smartphone technology; we bring towns and cities alive via a visitors device. Tourism is rapidly changing, and Cyprus can now lay claim to having created a worlds first in electronic tourism which combines education, entertainment , and full on instant promotion for each town and city.'

Petros Mavros – Managing director of Avantless made the point that: -

"The Treasure Hunt will mean a before and an after in the way we market Tourist destinations, this is the first online collaborative destination marketing tool that brings the end-consumer in direct contact with the tourist product.

There is no intermediation, no intervention from 3rd parties and there is no pressure exercised on the end-customer. FIT (Free Independent Travelers) make up 50% of the Cypriot Tourist business, and will be the first target group to download for free the app. Pafos launches the Treasure Hunt as it's a town which displays the ideal characteristics to lead the initiative, with more Cyprus towns to follow'.

For more information talk to:

Petros Mavros - Avantless 26948003 – 99217165 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Michalis Strouthos –Cocoon Creations 22253233 – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sunday, 20 May 2012 16:17

A bad website is worse than none.

content-or-designClients wishing to create a website to promote their business/services have to be made aware that the web is no longer just about brand image.

The web is about customer experience, and if the experience isn't good, users will go instantly to a different site. Its all about usability because e-commerce has dramatically changed the way it works.

Users will mentally strip out animated graphics, so they will ignore things even if they could in fact be quite good. They will also skip the slogans, the branding messages and advertisements, resulting in the amount that goes into the users experience being very small. That's why there's not much point in designers including all the bells and whistles that have become commonplace, and at the same time redundant to requirements.

It's so smart to be simple, and minimalist design has to now be the way to compete successfully in what is a hugely competitive global marketplace. This coupled with quality content which is original, clear, and easy to understand, and, when we talk today about content it's not solely restricted to the written word, we also have the use of still images, video and user generated content which results in high levels of customer interaction.

You can't just design what you like, you've got to design what users like. If you don't do it, someone else will, there are millions of web sites out there and people will go where they are well treated, this has to be the ultimate truth –the mantra of the successful website now being:

Usability, quality content, attractive design, intuitive navigation, and functionality.

Businesses and services need to have an active presence within the social media sphere, but its pointless to just have a presence, you have to have it 'felt' and on a regular basis, in order to gain users who will interact and share their own user generated content regarding your company.

One of the Titans of the internet -Facebook now envisages a future where we will navigate the web through our social graph-our network of friends and contacts- with recommendations, rather than searches, determining what we buy, watch, and discuss.

The industry has so far catered for a relatively niche community but there are 100 million augmented reality capable smart phones in use and 10.000 sites daily are adding Facebooks tools. There are about a third of users accessing the site this way every month, and it's a daunting 'statistical line up for Facebook as within any 20 time period Facebook sees 1 million shared links, 2.7 photos uploaded and 10.2 comments, they also record 7.7. million 'likes' all in the space of 20 minutes. All this traffic is generated not just by Facebook users but also on more than 2 million sites across the web that has embedded Facebooks commenting tools.

Now it's all about turning users into advocates and this in turn makes passive users become real followers of a company.

Websites are serious business and in this business its constantly updated knowledge coupled with judicious application of that knowledge in the client's best interests which ultimately delivers -power.

Special Thanks to Joshua Porter for the header image of this post


Content Is King – Bill Gates (1/3/1996)

Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.

The television revolution that began half a century ago spawned a number of industries, including the manufacturing of TV sets, but the long-term winners were those who used the medium to deliver information and entertainment.

When it comes to an interactive network such as the Internet, the definition of "content" becomes very wide. For example, computer software is a form of content-an extremely important one, and the one that for Microsoft will remain by far the most important.

But the broad opportunities for most companies involve supplying information or entertainment. No company is too small to participate.

One of the exciting things about the Internet is that anyone with a PC and a modem can publish whatever content they can create. In a sense, the Internet is the multimedia equivalent of the photocopier. It allows material to be duplicated at low cost, no matter the size of the audience.

The Internet also allows information to be distributed worldwide at basically zero marginal cost to the publisher. Opportunities are remarkable, and many companies are laying plans to create content for the Internet.

For example, the television network NBC and Microsoft recently agreed to enter the interactive news business together. Our companies will jointly own a cable news network, MSNBC, and an interactive news service on the Internet. NBC will maintain editorial control over the joint venture.

I expect societies will see intense competition-and ample failure as well as success-in all categories of popular content-not just software and news, but also games, entertainment, sports programming, directories, classified advertising, and on-line communities devoted to major interests.

Printed magazines have readerships that share common interests. It's easy to imagine these communities being served by electronic online editions.

But to be successful online, a magazine can't just take what it has in print and move it to the electronic realm. There isn't enough depth or interactivity in print content to overcome the drawbacks of the online medium.

If people are to be expected to put up with turning on a computer to read a screen, they must be rewarded with deep and extremely up-to-date information that they can explore at will. They need to have audio, and possibly video. They need an opportunity for personal involvement that goes far beyond that offered through the letters-to-the-editor pages of print magazines.

A question on many minds is how often the same company that serves an interest group in print will succeed in serving it online. Even the very future of certain printed magazines is called into question by the Internet.

For example, the Internet is already revolutionizing the exchange of specialized scientific information. Printed scientific journals tend to have small circulations, making them high-priced. University libraries are a big part of the market. It's been an awkward, slow, expensive way to distribute information to a specialized audience, but there hasn't been an alternative.

Now some researchers are beginning to use the Internet to publish scientific findings. The practice challenges the future of some venerable printed journals.

Over time, the breadth of information on the Internet will be enormous, which will make it compelling. Although the gold rush atmosphere today is primarily confined to the United States, I expect it to sweep the world as communications costs come down and a critical mass of localized content becomes available in different countries.

For the Internet to thrive, content providers must be paid for their work. The long-term prospects are good, but I expect a lot of disappointment in the short-term as content companies struggle to make money through advertising or subscriptions. It isn't working yet, and it may not for some time.

So far, at least, most of the money and effort put into interactive publishing is little more than a labor of love, or an effort to help promote products sold in the non-electronic world. Often these efforts are based on the belief that over time someone will figure out how to get revenue.

In the long run, advertising is promising. An advantage of interactive advertising is that an initial message needs only to attract attention rather than convey much information. A user can click on the ad to get additional information-and an advertiser can measure whether people are doing so.

But today the amount of subscription revenue or advertising revenue realized on the Internet is near zero-maybe $20 million or $30 million in total. Advertisers are always a little reluctant about a new medium, and the Internet is certainly new and different.

Some reluctance on the part of advertisers may be justified, because many Internet users are less-than-thrilled about seeing advertising. One reason is that many advertisers use big images that take a long time to download across a telephone dial-up connection. A magazine ad takes up space too, but a reader can flip a printed page rapidly.

As connections to the Internet get faster, the annoyance of waiting for an advertisement to load will diminish and then disappear. But that's a few years off.

Some content companies are experimenting with subscriptions, often with the lure of some free content. It's tricky, though, because as soon as an electronic community charges a subscription, the number of people who visit the site drops dramatically, reducing the value proposition to advertisers.

A major reason paying for content doesn't work very well yet is that it's not practical to charge small amounts. The cost and hassle of electronic transactions makes it impractical to charge less than a fairly high subscription rate.

But within a year the mechanisms will be in place that allow content providers to charge just a cent or a few cents for information. If you decide to visit a page that costs a nickel, you won't be writing a check or getting a bill in the mail for a nickel. You'll just click on what you want, knowing you'll be charged a nickel on an aggregated basis.

This technology will liberate publishers to charge small amounts of money, in the hope of attracting wide audiences.

Those who succeed will propel the Internet forward as a marketplace of ideas, experiences, and products-a marketplace of content.

This essay is copyright © 2001 Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

 

Wednesday, 29 February 2012 07:10

Avantless.....more - February 2012

Avantless moreI read a quote years ago that said. ’If people delivered in marriage what they sold when they were engaged, the divorce rate would be much lower’. Delivering in business is very similar, many companies will meet a prospective client and the world is instantly rosy with the hope the relationship will continue to blossom. Sadly, there are break ups and people have to then go out and start looking again for that perfect partner. 

 
Avantless understands this need for people to feel connected, not just at the beginning of the relationship, but to be considered, and looked after throughout the time of our relationship, and to be kept abreast of activities long after the work has been completed.

 
Many of you may be wondering how to get that spark back so your clients can fall in love all over again with your business, with your employees, and most of all your customers. One sure way to reignite a serious interest in your business is to create anew or look again at your existing online strategy. Avantless is here to help guide you through the path of revising your online practices enabling you to create a tailor-made online policy, one that talks directly to your target market. 
 
Clients who have commissioned websites from Avantless include the Ethnographical Museum of Pafos, and Red Cactus Post which is probably the freshest arrival onto the online magazine scene offering as it does a unique mix of quality writing on a myriad of subjects.  
 
Another string to our bow has to be the top flight seminar business; please read more on this by going into the new Avantless web site. 

The tourism aspect of Avantless continues to be one of our key strengths with the introduction of our new improved on line booking system aimed at smaller /boutique hotels. This resource work has resulted in Avantless being able to offer clients the capability of building in only a few minutes, a new online point of sales connected to the vast social media sphere. The effectiveness of this booking system is now enjoyed by the Napa Prince in Ayia Napa, or Blue Cottages Agrotourism (site in 3 languages with capability of 10 more languages), these clients now receive 10% of his bookings without paying one cent commission to an intermediary.  
 
I leave you with one thought:-Businesses cannot even start to think ‘outside the box’ until the inside of the box is maintained on a daily basis.

P.D: Header Photo courtesy of our good friend Andreas Evlavis
 
Tuesday, 24 January 2012 15:04

Ryan Air, a Mixed Blessing?

ryanair planeThe recent agreement between Hermes airports and Ryan Air for the opening of their 50th operational base in Europe has to be looked at as both a blessing and a curse. We can count the blessings as follows.-


1. Ryan air will be committed to invest a substantial amount of money in order for the operational base to become viable.
2. Ryan Air will set tourist targets and when met this means a significant increase in tourist traffic to Cyprus. One can look at the success of Ryan Airs partnership with Spanish airports such as Girona and Reus.
3. Ryan Air is not into just one specific market such as the bucket shop package traveller, they are for the first time targeting the free independent traveller (FIT).

Like all blessings we should receive them gratefully, but at the same time we have to managing them correctly. Ryan Air, flying in plane loads of multiple blessings to Pafos means we have to look seriously at what we, as one half of the partnership can offer in return. According to the press officer of Pafos Hoteliers Association Mr. Evripides Loizides he summed up the current dilemma that is dancing around the minds of clear minded Pafos based businesses. ‘Ryan Air has arrived, but its now time we started to get really serious as a tourist destination’.

To date the Pafos tourist scene is viewed with pessimism by those in the business and there is a genuine fear that sectors within the market are not going to be entirely responsive to the demands made by this new wave of travellers.

A complete change of attitude has to start from the top down with our elected officials now having to waken up to the fact that with the arrival of independent tourists we have to quite simply ‘clean up our act’ and instead of the usual indifference and apathy, our municipal and community leaders have to get into the mind set of sustainability rather than ‘fast attainability.

We must also address the expected increase in traffic going to and from the airport, with there being a more noticeable demand for car rentals, taxi hire, mini buses etc, modes of transport which will carry more tourists but in much smaller groups. Pessimism is rife as to the anticipated increase in accident rates as our less than civil taxi drivers continue to follow the ‘old ways’ of unbridled rudeness mixed with a good dose of road rage. Deep pessimism also abounds when it comes to those restaurants who will no doubt continue their blinkered short term thinking by offering their usual serving of ‘customer scare’ rather than the anticipated ‘customer care’.

What’s actually needed is for us to all to be re educated into what exactly the art of tourism really is, how we must now be ready to play a new and effective role, rather than re-enact our constipated, lack lustre, short term mind set formed over the past disastrous decade.

The opportunity offered to us by claiming Pafos as a European Capital of Culture in 2017 coupled with the Ryan Air arrival are ‘good sparks’ which should be igniting the flame of a ‘healthy tourism fire’. The pessimist in me however worries that we may have the making of such a fire but sadly no –one has brought alone the matches.

The Ryan Air agreement could be compared to morphine in that this is an opiate which doubles as both a form of pain relief and as an addictive drug which, if taken to excess results in a slow death. Our sole dependency on Ryan Air can also be viewed as dangerous if we become too addicted, as we have experienced to our cost when we depend so much on tour operators.

Surely the avowed aim to the tourist sector by the state and Cyprus Airports has to be the practice of healthy independence with no more reliance on addictive practises so we can at long last transform Pafos into an attractive sustainable tourist destination which thrives year in year out without recourse to entering into any unholy, inappropriate, or short term relationships.

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