From Just a Bed to a Travel Experience
While we see beautiful hotels every day at Revinate, my colleagues and I have become obsessed with Tierra Patagonia. While it’s clearly an incredibly beautiful hotel in a picture-perfect location, the hotel has done what many struggle to do – describe the experience that you will have at the hotel on the web site. This video says it all… with no words. I can’t tell you how many people I have shared the video with and how often I have checked flight prices and pined for this vacation. It’s currently number one on my bucket list. What this hotel understands is that people today are craving experiences and the hotel can be at the heart of it.
I attended AHICE in Melbourne last week and Airbnb came up a few times during panel discussions with hoteliers. Most hotel executives were quick to dismiss Airbnb as just a slight threat to the low end market and said it wasn’t a threat to the high-end market. Their quick dismissal, while possibly a PR move, made me realize just how much opportunity there is for Airbnb to disrupt travel in the same way that Uber has disrupted the taxi industry. There are many people who can afford 5-star hotels who instead choose a beautiful apartment in a great neighborhood to experience a new place as a local.
Here’s a photo from my own Facebook feed. My friend, Paul owns a beautiful home in Los Angeles and regularly hosts travelers from across the world and stays with locals when he travels. He doesn’t do it to make money (or save money when he travels). He does it to experience local culture and meet people from across the world. He could certainly afford a nice hotel room but chooses to live like a local and help visitors experience his culture and neighborhood.
When I watch the Tierra Patagonia video I am mostly struck by the experiences that I will have with other visitors during my stay. The focus is on the experience versus the brick and mortar. Of course it doesn’t hurt that this hotel is located in a drop-dead gorgeous location, but they recognize the importance of sharing more than the building and the surrounding location.
How can full-service hotels appeal to travelers looking for more local experiences? Here are some of my ideas:
- Provide opportunities for guests to meet each other with a chef’s table and two seatings during dinner.
- Provide a local jogging or walking map with the best coffee shops and local hang outs noted.
- Host a local cooking class or a local delicacy tasting in your lobby.
- Host a local historian in your lobby to talk about the local area and provide recommendations of things to do and see.
- Prepare a list of your staff’s favorite bars, restaurants and shops. This allows your guests to learn a little bit about the staff and the city at the same time.
Other thoughts? Let us know in the comments.