The rise of vacation rental platforms like Airbnb has revealed a desire among travelers to live like a local and have personalized travel experiences. Certainly technology and lower price points have played a large role in the rise of the share economy, as well as a push back against the homogenization of the hotel industry. As the hotel industry became more and more corporate, hotels became more and more alike; the appeal of the independent boutique property has grown. The proliferation of social media and the millennial’s never ending search for the most Instagram-able picture, has also contributed to the rise of a unique and culturally-driven experiential vacation.
Below are four ways large and small hotels can leverage the benefits of being local to boost their bottom lines and satisfy their guests need for unique travel options.
In part, the large hotel brand’s response to this “living local” phenomenon has been the continued proliferation of the soft brand. Soft brands are opportunities for independent hotels to keep their local feel while infusing their organization with brand standards and stronger marketing and distribution; an independent ethos with multinational outreach. Some argue that these soft brands offer the best of both worlds, while others consider them a compromise. You decide.
Give Me Space
Another way traditional hotels are responding to the demands of the sharing economy is by giving travelers more of what they want, by taking advantage of something they already possess: hotel suites. Often travelers choose vacation rentals so they can enjoy bigger spaces for less and travel with their friends and family. Hotels that want to accommodate larger groups that may otherwise turn to vacation rentals can work to bring their pricing for suites to levels that can compete better with vacation rentals. For more information on implementing this strategy in your hotel, click here.
It is All About Them
The quintessential element of being “boutique” is the promise of a personalized, attentive hotel stay. If you are a small hotel, harness the knowledge gained by being local and use that knowledge to enhance your guests’ stay. Build partnerships with other local businesses that will add authentic destination experiences to your product without increasing your costs. Collaboration between local small businesses, farms, tourist attractions, and even local non-profits that are looking for volunteers will add that local flavor that is much more valued and sought after than clicking “current location” next to your most recent Yelp search.
The power of social media channels to extend a brand’s reach to all geographic and virtual locations has changed the game. “Influencers” or bloggers with extensive social media followings have spawned entire successful careers by generating FOMO (fear of missing out) in the hearts of their followers. The fear of missing out of a bucket list travel experience is at the heart of travel influencer marketing. Invite vetted travel and lifestyle influencers that zero-in on your ideal audience to a familiarization trip and give them lots of local experiences to write and vlog about.