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Experience-Driven Hospitality: 6 Steps to Prepare Your Hotel for Discerning Guests

Do local experiences outweigh enjoying hotel amenities? For many guests, the answer is yes.

In 2023, travelers seek deeper connections with the local people and culture at their destination, according to “Hilton 2023 Trends Report,” a global study commissioned by Hilton. In fact, nearly half (49%) of travelers surveyed say they want to be “immersed” in local cultures and products when they travel.

Hotels that are still focusing on amenities as a top draw for guests could see potential guests going to competitors who offer opportunities for an “experiential” vacation that lives on in their memories long after they return home.

“Since the pandemic, traveler priorities have shifted from one-off amenities to experience-driven travel,” says hospitality news source Revfine. “With this shift, hoteliers must abandon an amenity mentality and focus on different ways to deliver meaningful experiences that fit travelers’ needs and expectations.”

Not sure where to begin preparing your hotel to appeal to experience-driven guests?

Read on for six tips for preparing your hotel for guests looking to experience local culture.

1.  Personalize the stay

Collect guest’s personal information and preferences to personalize their experience, suggests Revfine. For example, find out room and in-room preferences and communication channels they use most.

“Store this information in your PMS, and use it to surprise and delight guests,” says Revfine.  “Ask about sustainability preferences and the frequency they’d like their room to be serviced. With the shift to experience-based travel, 90% of travelers are now looking for more sustainable options.

2. Partner with local service providers

One way to offer local experiences is to partner with local service providers. From tour and sightseeing operators to restaurants specializing in local, farm-to-table foods, guests should have several options for enjoying the local culture and its people.

Better yet, offer room deals that include local experiences as a package. “Not only does this reduce stress for travelers in the planning process, but it can help you to earn more revenue (while also helping out the local community),” says Revfine.

3. Sell local products

Selling food items and other products in the hotel lobby or another area immerses guests in what the local culture has to offer. Partner with local farmers for a weekly farmer’s market in your parking lot or lobby. Hang art from local artists in hotel rooms and hallways.

Make information about local vendors and businesses available so guests can choose the experiences that immerse them in local culture.

4. Provide local entertainment

Hire local musicians to sing and strum guitars inside your hotel restaurant or lobby. Book a speaker to provide guests with information about local history, quirky facts about your city and recommended activities for an immersive experience.

5. Stock rooms with local products

Support local small businesses by stocking rooms with shampoo, hand soap and body wash made by local vendors.

6. Add local culture to your restaurant menu

Many guests love and expect sustainability efforts at the hotels they choose. For example, mention that your hotel restaurant uses farm-to-table food items from local farms and baked goods from local bakeries for dessert.