Emmantina Houses used Google's free of charge training to market to international visitors
When the recession arrived in Greece, Ntina and her family faced tough times. After her daughter and two sons-in-law lost their jobs, Ntina and her husband worked hard to support the family, but it wasn’t long before he too was made redundant. “Suddenly, it was like we were adrift in the ocean,” says Ntina. “We had to make one of the hardest decisions of our lives: to leave our family behind and start something of our own.” They moved to her husband’s hometown of Messaria, Santorini, and used the last of their money to renovate abandoned houses that his family owned into a small hotel, which they named Emmantina Houses. With the help of the local community they were able to get the business off the ground. “The people of Messaria welcomed us like a family and when we opened on that first day, I felt reborn,” Ntina adds.
One day, a neighbour introduced her to one of Google's Online Advisors, Antigoni, who was in the village showing local business owners how to leverage the web for their businesses, as part of the Grow Greek Tourism Online initiative. “She showed me how to upload photos of our hotel, so people can see what our place looks like, and how to make it easier for people to find us,” says Ntina. Since the training, Ntina has been using her newly learnt digital skills to promote the hotel internationally and attract more guests to come and stay — boosting the business while helping to support the local economy. “Now we’re welcoming people from all over the world and when they come, they eat in local restaurants and buy local products. It helps everyone,” she says. “I’m proud of what we’ve built. You do what you can to support your family.”