Thanos Papadimitriou is a PR manager with an international career specializing in hotel communication, handling PR for 76 hotels worldwide, with the majority in Greece.
His clients include hotel brands, embassies, and organizations, as well as billionaires, athletes, and celebrities. We spoke with him to learn how he got into the field and what it takes to succeed.
Q: When and why did you choose influencer marketing?
In 2015, on one of my numerous visits to Paris, I met a couple that created Instagram content for big brands and hotels. At that moment, my mind ran miles ahead, and I conceived the idea that offered me a great opportunity. Europe was behind that future, which was in social media. Even the elderly had already started using social media accounts, as I have already observed. You would see them with their mobile phones in their hands and their TV sets off! Since I had already developed an immense international PR network, I thought that was an asset that would allow me to take my new professional step immediately.
Q: What was the “moment of truth” that led you to your career path?
I had changed my mind many times about what I wanted to study. I remember having a meeting with one of my acquaintances, who unlocked these ideas in my mind. When I asked him what he studied, he said PR and advertising, and as the discussion developed, I realized that PR suited me and was my future.
Q: What is the thing you have regretted the most and why?
I regret all the times I have regretted things in my life. And I don’t want to regret anything anymore. In our lives, everything is somehow connected. The happiness we experience today is largely due to our “rights” and “wrongs,” our successes and failures of yesterday. Because of our mistakes and failures, our personalities develop. When you taste success, you don’t wonder “why,” but when you fail, your quest for the reason “why” leads to personal development.
Q: What makes you so successful at what you do?
I believe that everything is about charisma and skills. There are no talents or gifts that you can acquire. You are born with them, and if you are lucky and identify them, then you can take them far ahead. Also, I have been realistic about my abilities. You know, most people overestimate their abilities and skills, and feel unfairly treated when they fail. If you manage to avoid that error, you will succeed. The next three ingredients of success for me are a passion for what you do, an obsession for detail, and being open to learning from both the youngest and oldest, the most uneducated and the most sophisticated. You can always learn from different people that can sometimes or somehow be useful to you.
Q: What advice would you give someone who wants to follow your path?
I don’t believe in giving advice. Life has its plans for each one of us. I’d just tell them to be certain about what they like to make sure they have the necessary skills and are armed with patience, determination, and passion for what they do. But most importantly, I’d tell them not to be afraid to try, take risks, or fail. After all, what matters is the journey, not the destination or how to succeed or fail. Only then will you have lived a complete life.
Q: What is the biggest challenge you have faced and what knowledge did you obtain from it?
It is true that, lately, challenges are not rare. But they all have a common result. They help me develop personally and professionally. But if I had to distinguish one, the greatest challenge by far was the pandemic. We experienced unprecedented pressure and uncertainty, especially in a domain that was struck maybe more than any other. In a few days, we had to change our strategies to answer with phenomenal data and make decisions with no “visibility.” But we did it, and we were justified by the outcome. The hotels I work with in Crete not only rebounded, but in two weeks, they started operating again, and sold out the whole season until the middle of November. But also, the hotels I work with in Santorini did much better than the rest of the island hotels. It was a really great lesson, which I still carry, and it was something that strengthened my belief that I can work effectively under any circumstance and that no mission is impossible.
Q: Where do you see yourself and your industry in the next five years?
In the forthcoming five-year period, a dynamic course is expected. So, I don’t see myself five years from now, but I see myself within this period. I want to have a stable course to develop myself to constantly be better every year. Thereafter, I want to get through to the next level. Implementing a series of entrepreneurial ideas created from the experiences and knowledge I’ve acquired. Thus, at the end of the five-year period, I’ll be much better, more mature, and, at the same time, more efficient in what I do on a personal and operational level.
Q: Is there a Greek celebrity who you consider a fashion icon and who has a lot of public influence?
It is beyond any doubt that lately Greek stars have recorded exceptional progress in both their relationship with fashion and their influence on the public. There is a real standout case (among the stars) not only today but also over time. I refer to Anna Vissi as an absolute Greek star. In my opinion, she is undoubtedly a fashion icon not only because of her sartorial choices, which are always impeccable because, at the same time, she’s got an international temperament and the ability to “stand out” and excel on a global level. She is also astonishingly influential to her audience; consistently proven through the content she posts on social media and the unique engagement she achieves and maintains with her followers. She is distinguishable due to her unaffected luster, which engrosses whoever happens to meet her and which she impacts successfully in her social media presence—not to mention her charismatic voice and amazing stage presence. I challenge you to find it out for yourself by watching her live at one of her shows.