How Hoteliers Can Capitalize On the “Authentic Experience” Trend

8 Aug 2017 | by Les Roches


Hoteliers drive the hospitality industry, but without adaptation, they risk losing guests and revenue in the long term. To compete in such a fierce market, hoteliers need to be forward-thinking when it comes to strong trends in the industry. After all, the guest is the one who decides if your hotel lives or dies.

If hoteliers waited for cracks to appear in their hotel before fixing their foundation problems, they would have bigger problems than if they had executed an effective maintenance plan beforehand. The same goes for hotel development. If you wait for cracks to form before fixing your habits, then not only have you already lost guests, but revenue too. You may even have already doomed your hotel.

Keep up with hospitality trends to prevent cracks from forming. In particular, keep your eyes on one strong trend that has been dramatically shaping our industry: authentic and local experiences for guests.

More and more travelers demand to stay in hotels that are immersed in the local culture. They want local space, local touches and local insight. They are tired of the tourist traps and are craving more local attractions.

They want to forgo the tacky souvenirs from the corner store and bring back a slice of local culture. This industry-changing trend has created a pallet for local accommodation such as Airbnb and other short-term rentals.

With the rise of travelers calling for authentic holidays, it’s time we hoteliers incorporate their wishes into our own hotels. But instead of re-designing entire hotels around this concept, why not adapt a few habits or programs for authentic travelers? Not only will you increase bookings, but you’ll create memories that are cherished by your dear guests, as well as great for publicity on social media platforms and review websites.

Here are some easy ideas to transform your hotel into the authentic local neighborhood treasure that guests dream of!


1. Offer Activities and Excursions that Reflect Your Local Market

The two things that a modern traveler wants are activities that are unique and activities that are local. Why not incorporate this by creating or implementing activities into your hotel that reflect the local culture? For example, if your hotel is in Spain, why not offer flamenco lessons for your guests twice a month? Guests will love trying to perfect their flamenco and will bring back memories of local Spanish culture. It will also be a hit on your social media account, with photos and videos of guests learning flamenco with a local flamenco dancer!

If you don’t have the space to host local cultural lessons, you can always outsource the lessons to a local studio and advertise the lessons at your concierge. You could also partner with local authentic excursions to bring local culture to guests who want it.

2. Give Free Walking Tours

A free walking tour has a high ROI. By offering free walking tours with the price of your rack rate, you not only create a unique and exciting experience for your guests, but also gain an extra perk many hotels do not have.

Hostels commonly have free walking tours to entice guests to stay with them, so why not hotels? Most walking tours are an hour long and can be offered once or twice each week, or even every day. This will also show that the hotel is connected to the local community, which is something guests now crave.

To give another example, Hilton has implemented a free running programs for guests. This is a free perk that was designed by staff members. Before starting their work day, reception staff take a group of guests on a run around the neighborhood, giving them a tour by foot. This creates a unique, authentic and memorable experience for guests — no wonder it’s extremely popular!

You can create your own walking tour or a similar activity depending on your hotel, its staff and your location.

3. Plan Cultural Events

Events bring excitement and guest satisfaction to your hotel. If you have the facilities, you can manage and create events at your hotel that leave lasting memories for your guests. Best of all, your reviews and social media platforms will be swarming with positive videos and pictures of your live events for future guests to see.

You don’t need to break the bank to host such events. If you offer a breakfast buffet, why not turn one breakfast a week into a local themed breakfast filled with your country’s favorite treats? You can also host quick dinners spotlighting local dishes from your area. Guests will be salivating at the gorgeous local food being served by your divine chefs, while you get an extra boast in revenue. You can even open such events to the public for added revenue.

You can also implement your country’s signature dishes into your everyday menu or buffet. Many guests who come and visit your area are finding these dishes outside of your hotel, so why not give them an excuse to book a meal at your own restaurant?

4. Connect Guests to Free Local Events

There’s not a single hotel guest in the world who doesn’t love free and locally organized events during their holidays. It brings excitement to their trip and allows them to feel like part of the community, even for a day. There are plenty of events organized by city governments every year, so why not share these divine experiences with your loyal guests? Even if the events seem cheesy to you, many tourists have never experienced such events and would love to.

You can display a small sign at your reception of upcoming events or create a noticeboard in your lobby. You could even go so far as to charge local event centers and venues for advertising their events in your hotel. They get more guests at their events; your guests get an authentic experience and you get bonus revenue. It’s a win-win-win!

Whatever you do to implement this new industry standard into your hotel, be sure to make it as authentically local as possible. The last thing you want is to be perceived by guests as someone who is not engaged in the local culture. After all, it is the reason they traveled all the way from their home to your hotel!

Les Roches


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