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Last week we launched the latest report in our Skift Trends series, Evolution of Local in Hospitality in 2015.
Below is an extract. Get the full report here to get ahead of this trend.
Local food and beverage (F&B) is one of the most fundamental ways to create a local authentic hotel experience, compounded by the fact that homegrown F&B attracts locals to hotel restaurants and bars. The farm-to-table megatrend is now mainstream, but chefs are continuing to find more innovative ways to raise the bar by adding more experiential and sophisticated offerings.
For example, the Aspen Outfitting Company is based inside The St. Regis Aspen Resort. Guests can sign up for high-alpine fly fishing and upland elk and bird hunting where they can learn about the food production chain.
“The biggest trend we’ve seen in the last few years is, we’ve seen a more savvy customer looking for more authentic local experiences,” says co-owner Jarrod Hollinger. For the bird hunting excursions, Hollinger and his team teach the basics of shotgun use and they explain their code for responsible hunting that requires all harvested pheasant, partridge and quail never go to waste. The chefs at St. Regis Aspen prepare wild game meals in the fine-dining Chefs Club restaurant, or they can freeze the birds and ship them to guests’ homes for later consumption.
Omni Amelia Island has also been developing Fish-to-Fork Culinary Immersion Events during which guests, locals and local chefs hop aboard a series of fishing boats to catch dinner for the evening. Suitable for a maximum of 72 guests at six per boat, the event is unique in Florida, and it’s a great way to experience the destination from a behind-the-scenes perspective. Dinner is then served outdoors in a food and wine festival-style atmosphere.
“It doesn’t get more real than that, and it shows how important the food production cycle is,” says Wardynski. “As one of the largest employers in Nassau County, it is very important to us at Omni Amelia Island to make sure we are the hub of the community.”
At Columbia Marriott Hotel in South Carolina, the busy Soda City Farmer’s Market takes place every weekend next door to the hotel. The hotel cleared out its gift shop to house Nest, the market’s brick-and-mortar retail space, which helps support up to 150 local vendors. In addition, Assistant GM Jeff Kaplan says they work with a local startup called Columbia Food Tours that brings visitors to half a dozen local farm-to-table restaurants in the downtown core, including Marriott. The Midlands’ Modern Southern Food Arts restaurant at the hotel is ranked as one of best restaurants in town due to the local mission and artisanal dishes often crafted from ingredients sourced at the market.
“Most people don’t sit around on a Friday night and say, ‘Hey, let’s go to the Marriott for dinner,’ but that’s what happens here,” says Kaplan. “We don’t serve typical business hotel food and that’s a pretty unique thing. It’s just a great way to capture local guests and create a captive audience that’s very interested in local food.”