At one time, hotels were the very centers of their local communities. They were bustling with activity, both local and transient. Somewhere along the way the hospitality industry chose to largely focus on accommodating travelers from out of town and less on the local populace. Some hotels have made attempts more recently at bringing the local community onto their property. This has come mostly in the form of locally sourced products provided to guests. Due to the highly competitive nature of the industry and the added expenditures hoteliers face in OTA fees and other expenses, particularly upscale and luxury hotels are beginning to re-discover the ready made market in their own backyard.
There is no denying the beneficial impact of hotels on their surrounding communities; examples include jobs, which can lead to careers for motivated individuals, tourism bringing in cash-flow to other local businesses, and the tax revenue generated for government coffers in the area. For these reasons and more, hotels are a welcome addition to the communities in which they operate. However, there is considerably more opportunity for hoteliers to serve their community and in doing so, benefit the hotel as well.
A growing number of hotels are offering membership programs allowing local residents access to hotel facilities and amenities on-property for a fee. Hotels need to be conscious of not interfering with overnight hotel guests stays. These programs bring greater exposure to hotel properties locally. Hotel amenities such as spas, fitness centers, and golf courses are often enthusiastically used by local residents when they are given access to them without a room number. In turn, the hotel increases ancillary revenues and drives up brand loyalty among the local patrons.
An added benefit is the rise in revenue gained from the greater exposure for other hotel amenities such as food and beverage. Some hotel properties are even promoting cooking classes featuring their talented chefs, selling artwork created by local artists displayed in their rooms and common spaces, and offering local products alongside hotel items in gift shops. Additionally, hotels offering meeting facilities could garner more bookings for their conference rooms from the greater exposure gained.
By marketing locally, hotels can become centers of ongoing revenue streams, lacking the extreme peaks and valleys of tourism seasons. All while endearing themselves to their local community.