Make it memorable

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Why unique experiences should be at the forefront of a hotelier’s strategy

The hospitality industry continues to evolve, remains fiercely competitive, and includes almost endless choices for travelers. Amid this dynamic landscape, hoteliers continue to seek ways to innovate their offerings and to provide guests not only with accommodations, but also unforgettable experiences that will stay with them beyond checkout. Travelers are seeking to explore destinations for leisure, wellness and relaxation, and culinary experiences. They’re also venturing into lesser-known, secondary destinations they may not have considered before along with the whole family.

One of the top travel trends today is the traveler’s desire to experience hotels in a new way, connect with the destination, and create memorable experiences like they’ve never had before.

starFIND THE “WHY”
While it’s true some travelers seek hotels based on location, member rewards, or certain amenities, it’s important for hoteliers to cater to the new wave of experiential travelers seeking more than a place to rest. These travelers are planning trips around activities that cater to their interests, whether as solo travelers, couples, or a family.

Recent trend reports even show there’s demand among consumers not only for new destinations but for unique bucket-list experiences. It’s a growing trend amplified by the power of social media, and a new generation of savvy travelers including millennials and Generation Z.

Hoteliers should think about travel as an art form; for consumers, it makes sense for the hotels to curate these unique experiences as the experts in the industry and the destination.

CURATION IS KEY
When developing experiences, hotels should think about making them distinct, personalized, memorable, and tied specifically to their destination. In addition to creating new experiences, hotels also should consider unique ways to elevate current offerings to take them to the next level.

These experiences can range from local culinary adventures, immersive cultural activities, vibrant art exhibits, and outdoor adventures – providing guests with memorable and authentic moments.

At the heart of crafting unique experiences is an in-depth understanding of the guests. Hoteliers should comprehend the diverse preferences and desires of travelers, which involves recognizing every guest is unique. In addition to personalized experiences, hotels should focus on immersing guests in the local culture. Hotels can serve as a portal for guests to explore and engage with the essence of the destination. Whether it’s through curated local excursions, partnerships with local artists or businesses, or even showcasing local art within the hotel premises, every touchpoint should be designed to bring the destination closer to the guest in an organic and seamless way.

Creating unique experiences not only ensures guest satisfaction but also results in positive reviews, increased customer loyalty, and word-of-mouth recommendations, which are invaluable in the highly competitive hospitality landscape.

LEVERAGING ONLINE
Another essential aspect of crafting distinctive experiences involves ensuring their effective promotion and presentation to prospective guests. Historically, guests have relied on hotel concierges to gather information about activities and events during their stay. However, it’s crucial to proactively highlight your unique offerings well in advance of their arrival, recognizing travelers seek inspiration and information when planning their trips. Doing so can also solidify their choice of a particular hotel, since many want to ensure a straightforward and hassle-free booking process of experiences and activities.

It’s important to create a website and social presence that’s user-friendly and visually appealing. For example, these platforms should provide guests with ways to search for different experiences by location or interest. A dynamic platform can allow visitors to explore and draw inspiration for their next vacation.

The art of curating unique experiences for guests requires a fusion of personalization, cultural immersion, exclusive offerings, exceptional service, and a dedication to leaving an indelible mark on each guest.


jennifer barnwell

Jennifer Barnwell is president of Curator Hotel & Resort Collection. Launched in November 2020, Curator provides lifestyle hotels the power to compete together while allowing its members the freedom to retain what makes their hotels unique. She currently serves on the Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association (BLLA) Board of Directors.


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