“Localization” starts with the local guest
original article published on ehotelier October 2019
We’ve forgotten the local guest.
When I read about ”localization” for hotels today, I hardly find the local guest mentioned. Its about local food, local artists, local wines, but not about humans. We need to remember guests – the ones we are here for. The big chains use big data and worldwide access to information, but mostly forget that each of their hotels operates in a local environment. Smaller hotels, independent hotels can’t afford the mistake.
Foreigners – tourists and business men alike – will appreciate and value a place that is frequented by locals. A Chinese restaurant without Chinese guests looks suspicious. A hotel bar in Berlin without Germans doesn’t? In international cities, we might accept that easier, but a hotel bar in Berlin full of locals would be appreciated by any international guests.
Spa & pool hidden in the basement
When it comes to spa & wellness, a city hotel will have to attract the local guest while a resort can – or even will have to – rely on the in-house guest. Locals is the ones who will buy a membership and use your facilities frequently. Your F&B could potentially profit from locals also, depending on how you sell it. The guest is in your house already. Give them more reasons to stay. Better integration of the spa into the hotel instead of hiding it in the basement would be a step in the right direction.
Hotels often fail to establish a long-term relationship with locals who – after being enticed by your service and products in restaurants and bars – will want to use your banquet facilities for celebrations, events, business or private occasions. They will need a personal relationship, but with ever-changing staff and management, this is often difficult.
It is great when hotels and restaurants support their local community by using local products, designs, artwork and amenities when available. Many years ago we called that common sense, as it saves money on transport, taxes and customs duties. Plus, every chef will be happy to keep their food costs in line through the use of local products. Quality can be checked better when the producer is known – even better when you have a personal relationship with them.
On the other hand, your owner or management company might ask you why you don’t buy from the big dealers like METRO to get it even cheaper? They buy bulk and will be able to offer big amounts for better prices. However big your wish to get local is – you need a cash flow.
About the author
Stephan Busch, Academic Director at the State University for the Humanities Moscow RGGU, Faculty of Tourism & Hospitality earned his Master Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, USA.
He has a diverse experience in launching operations, business development and service training- for hotel and cruise companies in Asia, Europe, Canada and Russia.