Hotels are promoting and engaging their local communities and partnering with a growing array of local independent businesses in an effort to create more options for travelers seeking “authentic” experiences.
The demand for the proverbial “local authentic travel experience” pervades every sector in hospitality and tourism. That demand is now driving large hotel companies to develop new brands and more sophisticated partnerships, new marketing and branding initiatives, and new business models to differentiate themselves and deliver experiences that immerse guests in local communities.
Within the last year and a half, almost all the major legacy hotel chains have brought new hotel flags to market under the “lifestyle” segment, which connotes a broader, more experiential kind of hospitality than the “boutique/design hotel” positioning that was popular from the mid-1980s through the 2000s.
In what is now considered a seminal exploration of the topic before it exploded into the mainstream, the Skift trend report—The Rise of Local in Hospitality—launched in October 2013. Back then, the idea that a hotel could serve as a portal into the local community, and be marketed as such, was ignored by the big box hotels. The concept was primarily the domain of a select group of trendsetting hotel groups, which has since proved to be the catalyst for the shift in hospitality strategy around the business value of localism.
This report looks at work by non-traditional hospitality brands like Airbnb and Generator Hostels, as well as big brands like Hyatt and luxury groups like Jumeirah. It includes interviews with industry experts and executives, including an exclusive interview with Kimpton Hotels’ CEO Mike DeFrino.
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About These Reports
This is the 40th in a series of twice-monthly trends reports that brief readers on a specific trend, providing insight into the current state of the market, the context around the trend, and where the industry is heading in the near future.
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Photo credit: The Embassy Row Hotel in Washington, D.C. Embassy Row Hotel