An increasing number of travelers today prefer local gems to standard touristy experiences. Millennials are leading the charge in this movement, but more and more Baby Boomers are also beginning to seek local experiences. The days of American travelers choosing McDonald’s over the local cuisine are numbered.
Hoteliers can and should use this demand to their advantage. Here are a few ways you can localize the guest experience in your hotel.
1. Source Local Products
Many guests who seek a local experience will appreciate an effort to support the local community. Just to give a few examples, you could choose to source locally when it comes to your hotel’s amenities, dining options, and decor. Choose ingredients from local farms and fisheries for your restaurants when possible. Stock your rooms with bath products made by the mom and pop shop down the street. Use wall hangings created by a nearby painter or photographer. Take the time to call these items out to your guest on your menus, art displays, in-room paper materials, and wherever else appropriate.
2. Partner with Local Restaurants
Guests will appreciate your efforts if you steer them toward local dining choices and away from resident chain restaurants. They’ll love it even more if you can offer a unique opportunity, like an exclusive prix fixe menu. Contact some of your favorite local restaurants and see whether they’re willing to offer your guests a special deal in exchange for your patronage.
Of course, chain restaurants have their good sides. For example, if you’re a hotel in California, your guests might be excited to try the local In n Out Burger. Or, a property in Hawaii could recommend McDonald’s for the taro pie, or another menu item that can’t be purchased elsewhere. For this new breed of traveler, it’s all about showing your guests something special about your location that they can’t get anywhere else.
3. Keep a Local Events Calendar
Be aware of events in your area. If your city has an art and wine festival, a concert, or a marathon happening this weekend, let your guests know. Blogs or events pages in the online versions of local newspapers can help you stay in-the-know. For example, the San Francisco Bay Area has the SF Weekly events calendar and FunCheapSF, a guide to free or low-cost local events. Hoteliers in San Francisco could recommend a Cyberpunk Cinema event or an urban hiking yoga adventure for guests looking for an alternative to the local tourist trap.