In an industry as competitive as hospitality, finding a way to stand out from the crowd is imperative. Whether it’s luxurious rooms, breathtaking views, or a perfect location, every successful lodging operation offers something special—winning the loyalty of guests looking for a place to stay while enjoying the destination. But what if you went a step further? Instead of just accommodating travelers while they explore your locality, make your property a destination in and of itself. Not only will you stand out from the competition, but you’ll have excellent social media fodder and more opportunities to upsell. Here are three ways you can turn your property into a destination in its own right:
Garnering a reputation for hosting events is a great way to get the attention of the experiential traveler looking to get the most out of their accommodation. They’ll be more inclined to book a stay and more likely to post about it on social media. So what events should you be planning? That’s really up to you. It’s about finding things that fit your culture, your infrastructure, and your clientele. That being said, try to find inspiration from within your community. Travelers of today are interested in immersing themselves in activities and experiences that are authentic to the location. Things like live music, cooking classes, and cultural performances will give your guests the local flavor they’re looking for. The St. Anthony Hotel in San Antonio was inspired by their local history to host an annual King’s Ball. The Stanley Hotel in Colorado used their property’s 100+ year history as inspiration for ghost tours as well as an annual horror film festival. So don’t be afraid to get creative. Guests will love the originality.
Create communal spaces
We’ve mentioned before that hotels today are placing a larger emphasis on shared spaces. As millennials have become an influential cohort in the consumer landscape, their desire for connection has begun to influence hotel design and operations. Consider creating your own co-living and co-working spaces to attract these community-centered guests to your property. In need of inspiration? Look no further than The Asbury in New Jersey. With a living-room-style lobby, well-stocked rec room, rooftop lawn and seasonal beer-garden, this popular hotel is at the forefront of the communal-space trend.
Cater to the transformational traveler
Another millennial travel trend your property should consider capitalizing on: transformational travel. Guests who fall into this category are looking for experiences that help them discover a new part of themselves in addition to a new place and culture. The idea is that guests return home transformed. That might sound like an overwhelming expectation, but don’t let it scare you. Catering to the transformational traveler just means providing opportunities for guests to connect with themselves and others. This is often in the form of wellness retreats, workshops, or volunteer experiences. Fairmont Chateau Whistler hosts an “All About Me” Women’s Weekend, with an itinerary full of activities for “realigning the mind, body, and soul.” And the Emirates One & Only Resort in Wolgan Valley provides guests the opportunity to plant trees, conduct plant and animal surveys, and perform water testing in order to protect the local environment.
Travelers today are looking to be more than just tourists checking out the sights. They want experiences. And that means hotels need to offer more than just a place to sleep. They need to provide the experiences their guests are seeking. Consider hosting events, creating communal living spaces, and offering transformational travel experiences to make your property a must-stay destination.