What do you look for when you travel? For many travelers today, the answer is: “live like a local.” Successful platforms like Couchsurfing, Airbnb and Spotted by Locals promise to deliver insider experiences, taking users off the beaten path. Meanwhile, travelers increasingly gravitate towards these “authentic” experiences — and away from those that seem “touristic.” So how do hotels fit into the picture?
The following 3 examples show how hotels can connect travelers to local communities — and create the ultimate guest experience.
Hotels Partner with Local Communities
Fogo Island Inn is far from your typical luxury hotel. Located on a remote Atlantic island in Newfoundland, Canada, the Inn combines striking modern architecture with a wild, wind-swept landscape. What’s more, the Inn is revitalizing a traditional fishing community by attracting travelers and linking visitors to locals.
Founded by entrepreneur Zita Cobb, herself a native of the island, Fogo Island Inn also supports an Arts Residency Program and a Business Assistance Fund. These programs encourage aspiring artists and entrepreneurs to pursue their passions, while the Inn provides opportunities for guests to learn more about local traditions and culture.
“The Fogo Island Inn is like a platform to me, the kind you find in a train station. I see it as a place where travelers cross paths with Fogo Islanders, sharing their relationship with the sea and to the land, their optimism, and their uncanny ability to reinvent themselves.”
Zita Cobb, Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Fogo Island Inn
Bringing Local Experiences into the Hotel
Many guests may expect a hint of local atmosphere while staying at a hotel, but some innovative establishments go a step further. By partnering with local entrepreneurs, hotels can help guests to discover local experiences — right on the hotel premises.
The Embassy Row Hotel in Washington, DC, has joined forces with Union Kitchen Food Incubator, a local startup that works with around 200 nearby food businesses. This way, guests at Embassy Row are introduced to unique local flavors, such as DC-roasted coffee.
Building Customized Local Guides
How often do you check TripAdvisor or Yelp before planning a trip? Many travelers have come to rely on crowdsourced guides for insider advice. But where does that leave hotels — and their traditional role of providing information to guests?
Savvy hotels are offering guests the local tips they crave by curating these reviews and recommendations. For example, Andaz Hotels by Hyatt has teamed up with Jauntful, a local discovery service, to provide customized maps and itineraries for travelers. And Embassy Row Hotel prints out Instagram photos taken by local photographers of their favorite attractions, so guests can get some visual inspiration.
This 5-part series explores the key trends that are shaping the hospitality industry and creating opportunities for entrepreneurs. For a fuller analysis of these trends, see Les Roches and Skift’s joint report: “The Future of Hospitality Entrepreneurship.”