One of the key trends driving the evolution of the hospitality industry is the traveller’s desire for personalised, on-demand recommendations, and availability of travel experiences directly from their accommodation provider.
Hotel chains and property platforms are all gearing up: Marriott announced an investment in PlacePass, an aggregator of 100,000+ activities that would be available on the group mobile app, while Airbnb announced that it will double the Experiences available on their dedicated platform. Convenient mobile phones are available in hotel rooms for free, with the goal of driving guests to buy activities on the phone itself, and to keep them within hotels’ own restaurants and facilities.
This expansion in the activities area is a no-brainer as it brings a whole new revenue stream for hotels and accommodation providers. However, from the traveller’s perspective it might not be all sunshine and rainbows: are they really getting access to the best experiences? Or are they just being given a false sense of variety and services that are, in reality, just another way to get a bigger cut of their overall travel spend?
It is hard to answer, the line between providing services and driving revenues is very thin here as there is an obvious tendency to prioritise sales over quality and volume over personalisation.
One of the world’s leading luxury hotel brands – InterContinental Hotels and Resorts – is trying a different approach and decided to partner with renowned destination experts LUXE City Guides.
For those who are not familiar, LUXE City Guides are the cult print and digital travel guides, popular among discerning travellers for distilling the best experiences a destination has to offer, all independently selected by local experts based on merit and quality of the service.
LUXE was engaged by IHG Group in creating a series of bespoke print and digital guides exclusively for Club InterContinental guests and InterContinental Ambassadors at 18 properties across Asia Pacific.
The digital guides are delivered together with the booking confirmation or pre-arrival email, and guest can simply use them on their own smartphone through the LUXE Concierge app. Each digital guide combines LUXE independent recommendations with useful features like bespoke itineraries, offline maps with directions and geo-notifications highlighting attractions close by, easily accessible at any time and in any location. What’s more, content is frequently updated by LUXE’s savvy, in-destination curators, meaning guests have the most up-to-date intel at their fingertips.
With this partnership, InterContinental Hotels and Resorts demonstrate once again how important it is to have a long term guest-centric approach, rather than a revenue driven strategy only.