In recent years, there has been an even stronger push for the hospitality industry to deliver more authentic and integrated experiences to cater for the preferences of the social media age and the Millennials.
Today’s travelers want more than just a place to stay; they want to truly connect with the destination. With travel inherently rooted in destinations, it is vital for hotel and resort managements to provide customers with high-quality local offerings.
Hotels can satisfy this need by integrating local products and activities into their amenities and offerings to create a strong identity:
Creating a neighbourhood hotel
Hoteliers are re-imagining the hotel as a place for both guests and locals and making it a destination place where people want to hang out by bringing the outside in.
There is a growing emphasis on artisanal, handcrafted, and locally sourced products and this trend doesn’t only apply to food and retail. Increasingly this trend applies to the hotel management and hospitality industry as the demand for hoteliers to showcase local products and indigenous art (and casually placed coffee table books on native culture and heritage for guests to browse through) has taken on a new level of importance.
Empower hotel properties to take on the aesthetic and qualities of the local community, as we know generic spaces are unappealing to guests who don’t find value lingering within a hotel that looks the same as every other hotel. To address this, hotels will need to embrace alternatives while maintaining consistency for guests.
Local customers fill seats, generate buzz, provide prized ambience and spend money. Activate the hotel to become a destination place for the community by providing products and services specific to locals. Guests feel more comfortable to hang out at the hotel when spaces are authentic with signs of life from the outside community. To address this, hoteliers will need to appeal first to locals in order to appeal to guests.
Become an active participant and contributor to the local community and culture by providing the locals with a space for community engagement and events. Remember guests want to be in a real and authentic space but not necessarily interact with locals all the time. To address this, hotels need to offer authentic experiences to guests beyond becoming a portal to the local scene. In addition to local products, hotels can also arrange for activities that allow guests to experience the destination in a way that goes beyond what’s typically found in tourist guides.
Incorporate local products
As farm-to-table dining has become increasingly praised for quite some time, hotels have also been adopting sustainable, environmentally friendly practices for their food and beverage offerings. Travelers are keen to sample local cuisine, and if ingredients come from nearby farms or the hotel’s own rooftop garden, then they will be all the more impressed. And it’s not just smaller, boutique properties that are hopping on the culinary bandwagon, even chain hotels are attempting to appeal to business travelers with discerning culinary tastes.
Crafting unique offerings
When brainstorming ways to integrate local experiences into your hotel’s special offers, amenities and packages, make sure to cater to a wide range of interest areas. Local food and products are always good places to start, and they’re easy to source and offer to guests. When it comes to crafting local experiences, find ways to allow guests to experience the destination as residents would. Create social experiences in which guests can meet and interact with local residents. All destinations are unique, so take advantage of the neighbouring community and everything it has to offer.
The local touches may be relatively small but they make a big impact when guests notice something feels exclusive and handcrafted as they want unique and not cookie-cutter experiences. They want to feel the ‘place’ and not just the amenities the hotel has to offer.