The emerging hotel trend is to go local.
From farm to table to handcrafted cocktails, the consumer demand for localization is having a lasting and desirable effect on today’s society – especially the millennials. They are prioritizing sustainability, social responsibility, and localized experiences as purchasing motivators. These trends have forced the hospitality industry to evolve accordingly.
To break from global, corporate brand standards and play into guest desires for localization, Starwood Hotels launched Sheraton 2020 as a means for promoting destination-specific design, experiences, and amenities. This growing demand for an artisanal and locally sourced guest experience is evolving how hotel operators design their properties as well as the restaurants, bars, and amenities that come with it.
In fact, Hotel F&B conducted its first State of the Industry Study to get a better understanding of the hospitality industry. When asked to rate the priorities of their properties, the majority of respondents rated the ability to procure local and regional brands as highly important. Meanwhile, three-quarters of respondents’ companies have renovation plans in the next two years.
A localized hotel experience can grow your customer base
By leveraging the benefits of local food and design, your hotel can expand its target audience to the staycation crowd as well. The Ritz Carlton’s Philadelphia hotel, for example, developed an open-kitchen Latin grill to give locals encouragement to enjoy local fare at a nearby restaurant. This inclusion of local fare changed the perception of the Ritz in making it feel like part of the community, rather than a standalone hotel from an outside, global brand.
And for the tourist consumer looking to explore a new city or town, the opportunity to stay at a hotel that lends to that experience makes the stay even more appealing.
Going local helps hotels compete in the sharing economy
Some analysts attribute the success of Airbnb in driving the demand for localization and the new generation of micro hotel. And in a way, they’re right. Airbnb’s success set the tone for the desired sharing economy – one of the communal spaces, collaboration, and community.
Coworking and living spaces are shifting the hospitality industry’s focus from evolving the guest room toward reinvigorating public common spaces in an effort to position their brands as hot spots for collaboration, entertainment, and networking events.
Evolving communal spaces such as the lobby and business center to enhance coworking is bringing purpose and functionality to the traditional lobby, while also evolving the overall image and reputation of the hotel.
A localized hotel experience is an authentic guest experience
Original artwork, the design that matches local cultures, and homegrown dishes and beverages all lend themselves to a unique guest experience that reflects the local community in which guests have traveled to as a means of exploration.
Boutique and independent hotels have been able to pivot their offerings to capitalize on these trends at a fast pace, while global brands find it more difficult to change their brand standards to meet today’s trends. Instead, hotel conglomerates are incorporating these needs into their newer concepts or birthing new boutique brands that can test out these concepts quicker, all while still maintaining the integrity of their brand position.
Delivering a local and unique guest experience starts and ends with the hotel design
For guests to have that unique, local experience, they have to feel like they’re staying in that town or city – rather than a standard hotel room. This is forcing hoteliers to rethink how they approach the design of their next hotel project.
The Boutique and Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA) surveyed 1,000 hoteliers to gain insight into how they’re framing future design and the overall guest experience. Many expressed the importance of offering unique experiences: “Guests are looking to have enhanced experiences that are unique and not cookie-cutter. They want those Instagrammable moments.”
Survey respondents also discussed the importance of incorporating the local environment into the design, citing the history of the building or neighborhood as well as natural undertones such as stone and wood.
For hoteliers looking for help or consultation in incorporating local, natural elements into their hotel design while also maintaining consistent brand standards, look no further than Beachwood Custom. Our passion is providing customized service to three to five-star hotel customers, serving clients with a combined 100+ years of international experience. To learn how we can help you with your next hotel project, contact us today.