The hotel industry is more competitive today than ever before. You’re increasingly competing for the attention of the same guests as every other hotel in the area. Finding ways to grab that attention and then keep it can be pretty challenging.
One option is to offer a hotel service that’s not available with your competitors. What can you do? Of course, that is an open-ended question. One of the better options is to create local guides that offer your guests insight, information, and a helping hand.
With that being said, creating local guides can be more than a little challenging. You need to do more than just slap together a printed list of things to do. Those can be found just about everywhere. Instead, you need to take things up a notch or two. Here’s what you need to do.
Define Your Guest Persona
The first thing you need to do when creating local guides is to define your guest personas. You have guests visiting your hotel for all types of reasons. Some are people on vacation. Others are families traveling together. You’ve got singles and couples, people on workcations, and digital nomads enjoying the flexibility that remote work offers.
Here’s the thing. All of these people have different wants, needs, and expectations. You cannot create a single local guide and have it apply equally to everyone. Some people will want family-friendly destinations. Others will want adult-only fun. Yet others will have different expectations.
The answer is to segment your audience so that you can break it down by demographics. Once you have different segments defined, you can start deciding how to create a local guide for each segment.
Choose the Activities/Destinations Based on the Persona
The next step in creating local guides is to take the personas you just defined and use them to determine what activities, destinations, and attractions to include in each guide. There’s no hard and fast rule here, but there are some general considerations to make:
- Families traveling together will more than likely appreciate destinations where everyone, including young children, can have fun. They will also be appreciative of affordable, family-style eateries, and all-ages events.
- Couples traveling together will have very different wants and needs. Some might want to check out the local club scene, while others might enjoy visiting a local brewery or winery. Yet others might appreciate gambling if it’s available in your area.
- Business travelers, a group that includes both people in workcations and those digital nomads we mentioned earlier, may prefer other attractions – those that can be fit into a workday, for instance.
The point is this: break down the attractions, venues, and activities in the surrounding area and decide who might be interested in what. Then use that to start sorting everything. You will probably have some overlap, particularly when it comes to restaurants, but that’s acceptable. The point is to try to make each local guide as specific as possible to the persona in question.
Work with Local Business Owners and Operators
As a quick note, make sure to partner with local business owners and operators. This can allow you to offer your guests unique discounts, and to create packages that aren’t available outside your property. Talk about a way to differentiate yourself!
Create Your Guides
Once you’ve gotten your personas down and defined which attractions, venues, activities, and sites are best suited for each, it’s time to put everything together. Your local guides should look professional, with color images and properly formatted and organized interiors.
Consider creating a master layout for your guides so that you can easily slot activities and venues into each category for the different personas. For instance, you might have an introductory section, followed by specific segments for dining and drinks, nightlife, events, and all the rest. If a category doesn’t apply to a particular guest persona, you can simply remove it.
Once you’ve got everything roughed out, it’s time to bring them to life. You can do this in two ways, and it’s recommended that you use both. First, just save the final versions as digital documents like a PDF. Second, print them out. It might be worth splurging and having the printing and binding done professionally (chances are the “binding” will just be stapled through the center to form a spine).
With your local guides created, it’s time to put them to use as part of your hotel services! How do you do that? It’s simple. You have three options.
You can use your digital guides in a couple of ways. First, they can be excellent for opt-in lead generation needs. They can also be attached to reservation confirmation emails as a “thank you” or a value-add that will make your property stand out. Second, you can use them in your email marketing efforts as you get to know more about each guest to encourage them to stay with you but also highlight everything there is to see and do in the area.
You can (and should) also use your local guides at the front desk. Having a few of each type out and ready for guests to peruse as they check-in or for your staff to hand out during the check-in process can be invaluable. Of course, with many guests preferring remote check-in now, you’ll only want to keep a few on hand at the front desk.
In the Room
Finally, you should put your local guides in your rooms. If you’ve done your due diligence, you can make an educated guess about which guide will work for each guest, or you can play it safe and just include a copy of all the guides along with other important information.
Design Your Packages and Upsell
The last step is to bring everything full circle as part of your hotel services. We already mentioned working with local business owners and operators, and here’s where that comes in. Design packages that appeal to each guest segment and then upsell them. It’s a great way to add value, stand out in your guests’ minds, and build better profitability, while also benefiting the local economy.
Innovative Hotel Service Options Abound
With local guides, you offer something of value, as well as the option to purchase unique packages to make guest stays as memorable as possible. Don’t stop there, though. Creating guest guide options is just one innovative hotel service. You can do many other things to make your property stand out from others and build stronger relationships with your guests.
Hotelogix Editorial Desk
Hotelogix‘s team of researchers and writers are constantly innovating to share the latest trends from the travel and hospitality space. Got suggestions? Write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org.