Hotels are luring travelers with local flavors
Wednesday, August 17, 2016
Today, 85 percent of travelers consider "eating local cuisine" as an important or very important activity in a trip, according to a recent report about travel trends. With that in mind, should hotels use more local ingredients or add more local flavors to their restaurant menu? Probably.
As a matter of fact, some early adopters of the lodging industry are adding "local flavor" to more than just food. Here are three examples:
Case 1: Rooms decorated by local artists
In 2012, The Park Hotel Tokyo called for artists to decorate the hotel rooms on the 31st floor under the theme of "Japanese beauty." More than 100 painters responded, of whom 31 were selected.
Many of them came from the local communities, and they were allowed to decorate the rooms however they liked, as long as they adhered to the theme. Some took a few weeks to complete the work; others took longer.
Four years later and with the wild imaginations of the artists, those typical hotel rooms on the 31st floor have all been transformed into some unique and extraordinary suites. Time Out Magazine took a private tour of the artsiest hotel rooms. The results were impressive, and the wait turned out to be well worthy.
Case 2: Hiring locals as "running concierge"
In fact, many hotels have responded to the healthy trend demanded by travelers, but few involved with local residents. Under the Run Westin program, a running concierge will serve as the ambassador of the local community for hotel guests — they know where to get a quick bite and where are the cool places for nightlife.
Also, when a running concierge leads a group people jogging in a neighborhood, it helps the hotel increase people's awareness of the brand and business. After running, the group will meet usually in the hotel lobby, which could potentially draw more guests to the lobby bar for happy hours. Additional traffic and revenue can therefore be generated.
Case 3: Creating a volunteer network among locals
Hostelling International USA, for example, runs various educational programs to engage students, local communities and a large volunteer network in the country.
As reported in my previous interview with a volunteer in HI USA, the hostel actively engaged travelers with free breakfast and free dinner, in addition to local events. Unlike a regular hotel or restaurant where meals are usually prepared by staff members, the hostel involves hotel staff, guests and volunteers in food preparations and cooking, which creates a family-style environment for conversations and human interactions.
From the above examples, it is not difficult to tell adding "local flavor" can help a lodging business increase local traffic and brand awareness. The human interactions with local residents can also appeal to a large number of travelers.
Do you see other similar examples where local flavors were added to a business? What are the results? Please share with us.
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