Today’s traveler seeks to connect with the places they visit on a significantly deeper level than tourists in the past. They are looking for local authenticity in their travels and desire meaningful experiences, even in their accommodations. For hoteliers exploring ways to leverage the local area and culture surrounding a hotel, there are many possibilities available to bring in the local experience for their guests.
Food and Beverage
The rising trend towards healthy eating, along with a growing fascination among the public with the gourmet cooking books and TV shows of celebrity chefs, is resulting in many travelers seeking food destinations. Offering hotel guests fresh, locally sourced food and beverage options would make a fine starting point to immerse them in local culture and provide a “farm to table” experience. Cooking classes held on-property by local culinary artists, for example, would bring the experience further to another level.
Hotel Services and Amenities
Bringing the local flavor into a hotel need not necessarily be limited to food and beverages. Quality products, which a hotel may already be offering, can possibly be supplied from local sources. This can include items such as bath soaps and beauty amenity products, for example. Shops within the hotel can offer guests locally produced products for sale as well. Hotel staff training for guest-facing employees in local customs, culture, and even history may be advantageous for hoteliers making the effort to bring a local feeling onto the hotel property. Not all employees may be sufficiently knowledgeable about their local area, and likewise some of the hotel staff may have relocated from elsewhere.
Local Business Partnerships
Providing hotel guests with locally sourced products will help foster partnerships and cooperation between the local community and its businesses together with the hotel. Hoteliers should additionally work closely in concert with local tour operators, historical and cultural sites, as well as entertainment unique to the area. Hoteliers can even invite guest speakers and artists into the hotel for specially held events for the hotel guests. These events may even become revenue drivers for the hotel, bringing in guests that might not otherwise stay with the hotel.
Travelers are now seeking immersive local experiences, and hoteliers hoping to gain their business need to provide it for them. If not, the competing sharing economy accommodations are more than willing to offer travelers the “live like a local” experiences they desire.