CEO Spotlight

CEO Spotlight: Ioannis Bras, CEO of Five Senses Consulting and Development

Ioannis Bras, CEO of Five Senses Consulting and Development

The Founder and CEO of Five Senses Consulting & Development, a boutique consulting company that specializes in cruise development for ports and destinations, Ioannis Bras analyzes at the CEOWORLD magazine the restart of the new era of cruising after Covid-19, the emerge of new cruise destinations globally, the role of Greece as a “key” cruise destination and the importance of the USA cruising market.

It is worth mentioning that Five Senses Consulting & Development has a worldwide presence, while during the Covid-19 pandemic played a very important role by developing the appropriate protocols and procedures for governments, cruise lines, and ports in order to welcome again cruise ships with safety.

Q: Can you describe in a few words the objective of Five Senses Consulting?

Ioannis Bras: Five Senses Consulting was created in 2015 with the main purpose of providing specialized services for the development of Cruise Ports, Destinations, and Businesses. We are a boutique consulting company with strong and lasting relations with the cruise industry, key stakeholders, cruise ports, and destinations worldwide. During Covid, the company has been assisting governments, cruise lines, and ports worldwide to develop their protocols and procedures so that they are ready to welcome back cruise ships.

Our trademark, the Five Senses Experience Model, examines and develops appropriate actions and gives the highest measurable results for higher visitor satisfaction through the activation of the historical, cultural and gastronomical parameters of the destination by activating all of the Five Senses. Our team of experts analyzes and offers tailor-made products and support for any project we undertake. With more than 20 years of experience in the industry, we thrive for measurable results and innovation on our solutions. Other expert areas are project development and Destination Performance Measurements (DPMs) and our unique Secret Shopper Services for guest experience in ports/destinations». 

Q: In recent years, which destinations in Greece and abroad show significant growth in cruising and why?

Ioannis Bras: The year 2019 was a record year with more than 30,2 million cruise passengers worldwide. The pandemic has changed the whole industry, but 2021 is the year of the ReStart of the new era of cruising. Many areas/destinations have re-opened, and the applicable protocols made cruising one of the safest ways to travel to date. Currently, more than 230 out of the 410 cruise ships are in operation, and we expect all of them to be in service by next spring. 

In this new era of cruising, many traditional cruise destinations have strengthened their positions, and many new ones are emerging. The countries/destinations that proactively have been developing their protocols and procedures to address any Covid related issues have seen the cruise ships return faster and more robust. Greece has been exceptional in delivering on its promise to re-open cruises, and since mid-May, 45 ships have been visiting more than 40 Greek destinations with 15 cruise lines homeporting from Greece this summer. Mykonos, Rhodes, Piraeus, and Santorini are the most popular, but Agios Nikolaos, Patmos & Kavala are growing fast, especially in the luxury category. 

Cruise Saudi has also been very active in developing their destinations, and Qatar is expected to gain maximum momentum from next year’s world cup and the new facilities they are being developed in the cruise area. Finally, many Canadian destinations are expected to see an increase in on-demand as the area has not seen cruise ships for two years. 

Q: What are some key elements that a destination strategy should include in order to develop the cruise business?

Ioannis Bras: Every destination that wants to develop its cruise business must understand that apart from the necessary infrastructure (sea & port), many other characteristics must exist to make a successful business case to the cruise lines. First, the capacity of the destination in transportation and excursion choices. Then, the appeal of the destination and the positioning of the port in the global itinerary market. Also important is the suitable representation to the cruise lines, the networking and the personal relations with the cruise executives. 

Q: The Americans support the Greek cruise – What developments do you see in the coming years?

Ioannis Bras: The USA is the largest source market for cruising globally, and Greece has always been on the bucket list for many of them, especially places like Santorini, Mykonos & Rhodes.   

This year, many direct flights between Greece and the US have given many thousands of Americans the opportunity to visit Greece, and many of them choose a cruise starting from Piraeus. More than twelve cruise lines of all categories designed itineraries at the Aegean sea, visiting Marque destinations also adding new not-so-well-known islands in the Greek Archipelago. Many cruise lines developed butterfly-style cruise itineraries where a passenger could stay for 14days instead of the typical 7day cruise, visiting this way more destinations. 

Next year more than 14 flights per day will connect the USA with Greece, allowing more people to visit our beautiful country. In the following years, COVID permitting, I expect the tourism and cruise visitors to expand not only in numbers but also in season. Spring and late Autumn are ideal for those that do not want scorching temperatures, and Greece all over is the perfect place to be discovered as it has so much to offer.

Q: What are your future plans for the Five Senses Consulting & Development?

Ioannis Bras: Five Senses has always been at the forefront of technology, and during the pandemic, we developed the virtual office that allowed us to expand our business more than 200%. We have been very active and developed many free webinars that anyone can find on our website. This is our way to give back to the whole community. 

We are currently assisting more than 45 ports/destinations around the world to realize their potential or build their processes for the next day, and we are in discussions to bring our products and specialized services to a more global audience and be able to assist more ports to realize their full potential.

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Maria Gourtsilidou
Maria Gourtsilidou is Senior Editor of Research and Data Analytics at the CEOWORLD magazine. She is responsible for driving thought leadership, using data analytics to showcase the company’s products and services, and fostering knowledge sharing between CEOWORLD magazine and client organizations. She studied Public Administration (Economics Of The Public Sector) in Greece and holds a Bachelor’s in Public Administration from the Panteion University of Political & Social Studies. Follow Maria Gourtsilidou on Twitter. Write at maria-gourtsilidou@ceoworld.biz.