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Notes from Neen: Have you heard of philoxenia? No? Keep reading…

By June 1, 2024No Comments

The true meaning of philoxenia is “friend to the stranger,” and when you research it deeper you hear descriptions like “live your life bigger,” “eagerness to show hospitality,” and “hearts expanding” — and that was exactly my reaction to Greece!

What a privilege to have a life-changing experience as I served as the keynote speaker for Virtuoso Travel at their UK, Ireland and Middle East Forum in the decadent Romanos Luxury Collection, in the exquisite area of Costa Navarino. I was obsessed with this place and you can see my Instagram Reels here.

Thank you Karen and Virtuoso for inviting me to share Luxury Leadership with the best of the best owners and managers of travel advisory services in your region. Thank you for making this happy little Aussie girl’s dream come true.

Let’s rewind.

My love of Greece started as a little girl. Aunty Carol, one of my greatest heroes still today, decided she wanted to go to Greece, she saved up for years and even taught herself Greek! If you don’t know this about me, I am from a TINY town in Australia that had one traffic light when I was growing up. She did all this before the Internet and Duolingo! She gifted me books on Greek mythology and I was obsessed, reading them for hours, tracing them with tracing paper (does anyone remember that, no? Just me?). It might have taken me into my 50’s to finally see this magnificent country but it was so worth the wait, and now I want to go back immediately!

If you have always wanted to go, move this country to the top of your list. Yes the monuments are incredible, the architecture amazing, food delicious, lifestyle so healthy, weather divine, and there are stray cats everywhere(I wanted to play with them all!), but what made it special for me was the people.

Greeks have a love for life, a smile that lights up their eyes, a sense of hospitality to feed any and all who they meet, a story to share, a deep sense of family and all that matters, a pace that allows you to breathe and be fully present, a reverence for food and the farmers who create it, and if they are anything like my dear friend Irene, a generosity so deep it is unmatched.

Philoxenia is in their DNA. It should be in yours, too.

I’m absolutely convinced that the experience was made even better because of how each person there treats a visitor, someone they’ve never met, like family from the moment they meet you, step foot in their store, line up for their food, visit their monuments, or proudly show you their city and their lifestyle. You feel special just from the benefit of their attention.

You don’t have to have a luxury product to get (or give) a luxury level of service. Your attention is NOT a luxury, it’s a necessity!

Whether I’m working one-on-one with executives to implement systems or sharing our Luxury Leadership Keynote with strategies on how leaders can communicate, activate, and elevate everything for their team and clients, it’s rooted in one specific thing: a love of people and a desire to develop systems that help leaders elevate the experiences they give their internal and external stakeholders.

I have helped many organizations unlock the secrets of the concierge level service using our luxury mindset research. Download an Executive Summary here. When they do, they gain the mindshare and loyalty of their clients and gain powerful advocates.

Tassos was my favorite team member in Greece! He surprised me everyday with a treat in my room, or a note on the counter, or a quick visit while I enjoyed my breakfast. His philoxenia was present everyday.

For two days I wandered Athens in total awe and my trip to the Acropolis was extra special with Μυρτουλα, my guide from Eclectic Greece who was also the BEST photographer! Nancy from Hills Travel helped make that happen and she always takes care of my travel! What if we all approached our clients like a Tassos, with concierge level service and a luxury mindset? Imagine what you could do to elevate everything and create advocates for life?


Like this content? Did you know that provided specific tips for incorporating philoxenia into your work and life in my newsletter? Be the first to read Notes from Neen, my bi-weekly newsletter, where I share content like that, as well as practical recommendations and more bonus content! Sign up here.

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