It is no secret that international tourism numbers are up, domestic tourists are everywhere and the accommodation sector is, in general, having a well-deserved increase in yield and occupancy. In the meantime the international catch cry for hospitality / tourism is “create experiences”.

It’s not good enough to develop a good service standard and quality of room and then spend our time trying to get every guest to spend as much of their dollar in our single environment.

Guests are looking for a whole regional experience - the right accommodation, a tucked away café that sells “the best coffee” and a tour that takes them past the touristy stuff. We all, in different ways, try to offer access to these experiences, but in many countries now we are seeing experience hubs created by like-minded businesses working together.

It’s not a case of recommending the local restaurant; it’s taking those relationships to a new level where each operation is actively involved in marketing and supporting each other.

Not only will this increase the quality of the experience for guests, but also develop goodwill for a region and potentially form financial partnerships that grow business for all involved in the hub.
It may be as simple as the local accommodation provider, restaurant and tourism operator developing an all-inclusive “combo” package, all the way through to marketing partnership strategies for an entire town or area.

This way all partners have skin in the game and are not only marketing themselves, but the wider group of local experiences. Whether this is done by formal arrangements with profit share or informal groupings, creating an experience hub helps ensure that the only impression a guest has as they walk away is a positive one.

An experience does not happen in isolation. When a guest realises you are helping them access something genuinely local and not just trying to upsell your own product range, you help create a feeling of trust and faith, as well as increased word of mouth.

So walk up and down your street, block or area and ask the question – would this operation add value to my guests’ experience? If the answer is yes, start talking.

Adam Cunningham, National President, Hospitality New Zealand