Photo by Anna Tarazevich
In order to increase guest bookings, independent lodging providers need to focus on providing guests with unique local experience outside of the confines of their property.
Today’s travelers want more than just a place to stay. They want a guest experience that connects them with a destination. Guests want to feel like a local and have genuinely authentic experiences.
Independent lodging providers have a distinct advantage over chain hotels for travelers who are looking for more than just a place to sleep. When they curate and enhance the local guest experience off-site, they differentiate their offering from other providers, increase bookings, and guests are willing to pay a premium for their stay.
Curating Off-site Experiences that Match the Uniqueness and Quality of Your On-site Offering
When it comes to crafting local off-site experiences for your guests, try to find ways to allow them to experience your town or area as if they are residents. Aside from simply recommending places to go, make sure you provide guests with valuable “insider information” about them that only you know as a local resident.
Even better, partner with local businesses and have them give your guests an experience that is unique to only your guests. Curate the experience, making certain that what your local partners provide to your guests off-site matches the quality of what you deliver on-site.
This can be accomplished through paid packages, scheduling your guests, or simply asking your guests to let your local partner know they are staying with you so they can be treated to a unique experience.
Local Partner Packages for Your Guests Only
Ken Conklin, former manager of three boutique Baltimore hotels, would create packages that could only be experienced by guests at his properties.
“It should be a package that is exclusive to your property and not something they can get just by searching online. For example, creating a wine tasting tour with a special French dinner, with wines specially curated for the restaurant – that was something unique and memorable we put together for our guests only.”
In her rural hotel in the Poconos, Monique Greenwood, owner of Akwaaba Bed & Breakfast Inns, creates one-of-a-kind experiences that go beyond just recommending a restaurant or where to go horse-back riding.
“You want to make a package that is an ‘Instagram worthy’ experience. For example, I provide a ‘Green Acres for the City Girl’ package. Since a majority of my guests come from an urban area, they want an experience that is different. So, I partnered with a flower farm where guests cannot only pick flowers but create a bouquet with an expert using the flowers they picked,” said Monique.
She’s also partnered with a local farm where guests can milk a cow and participate in other farm activities, and then use the ingredients they gathered at the farm for a farm-to-table dinner made by a local chef. How many travelers have the opportunity to participate in something like this and how many people have they told about their experience?
For her New York City property, Monique offers a fashion shopping spree with a limo for the guests. Monique curates the shops herself and her guests get a 10 percent discount at those shops. They are sometimes chosen based upon a theme, such as Small Business Saturday or Black History Month, which provides a shared sense of purpose among her guests.
Guest Recommendations with Private Perks
Your guests are going to go out on their own, with or without getting recommendations from your property. If you give them recommendations, such as places to eat, they will feel delighted if the place gives them something extra simply because they are guests at your property.
This could be a free drink, special discount, or being sent to the front of a waiting line. By having your local partner treat your guests in a memorable, special way they will appreciate what you have done for them outside of your property.
Letting Guests Know About Your Unique Local Partner Offerings
Guests want to feel like VIPs. They want insider information and fantastic off-property experiences when they stay with you.
For guests to truly feel special, only they should have access to your insider recommendations and curated guest offerings. Enticing prospective guests with some local recommendations on your website may be necessary but only your true guests should have access to the valuable insider information and experiences you provide to them.
The Frictionless Guest App is a digital concierge that helps your guests live like locals and is a fantastic way to let only your guests know of your local recommendations and the curated VIP experiences you offer to them.
The App helps you connect with guests like never before, saving you time and allowing you to curate the guest experience both on and off the property.
Go to frictionlessguest.com to book a demo!