How Slow Travel and Authentic Experiences Are Changing the Hospitality Industry
January 23, 2022
In recent years, slowing down and taking a breath has become a more attractive way of living than your typical “fast paced, dynamic, go-getter” hustler life. Instead of rushing through life ticking off everything in a to-do list, people have started to learn to live in the moment.
The same approach is applied to “slow travel” and the growing trend of sustainable tourism in the global community.
What is Slow Travel?
Hospitalityinsights.ehl.edu describes slow travel as “an approach to travel that emphasizes connection to local people, cultures, food and music. It relies on the idea that a trip is meant to educate and have an emotional impact, while remaining sustainable for local communities and the environment.”
In contrast to traditional tourism that puts emphasis on squeezing in as many activities and must-see locations in a short period of time, slow travel opts for a “less is more” direction. Slow travel encourages people to immerse themselves fully in a new place before jumping onto the next attraction.
How Slow Travel Affects the Hotel Industry
Because people want to slow down and soak in their new experiences, they’ve been more eager to schedule longer vacations, hence longer stays at their accommodations. Weekend trips are exchanged for week-long escapes or even month-long sabbaticals. Rather than just visiting a place, they want to “live” in it and experience it the same way the locals do.
Hotels, in effect, benefit from their immersions with room occupation lasting longer and increasing their revenue. Instead of just relying on the weekend crowd, hotels can expect more guests during the rest of the week and even on non-peak seasons.
How Hotels Can Attract Slow Travelers
A big aspect of slow travel is sustainable tourism. Sustainable tourism is traveling in a way that is respectful to the local community and the environment. It is being mindful of what is actually beneficial to the place and what is harmful to their way of life. Slow travelers often take this into consideration when choosing activities and accommodations for their trips.
Hotels can opt for greener operations, partnerships with local businesses, and promoting local culture. Rather than focusing on providing an experience to accommodate every guests’ preference, they can instead highlight their roots, history, and customs.
For example, instead of international buffets, hotel restaurants offer local delicacies and seasonal produce. They promote tours that feature the surrounding neighborhoods and not just the tourist hot spots.
There is also the opportunity to provide a more authentic experience that allows people to immerse themselves in the local culture and create a meaningful connection to the community and place.
You can provide this by working with local businesses or recreational centers that gives tourists the chance to get to know the history of the place or even help out with projects or charities. It’s a great way to give them a one-of-a-kind memory as well as contribute to the community’s growth.
Slow Travel Isn’t Going Anywhere
Slow travel will become the norm in the future. With more people opting for longer stays and authentic experiences, it’s going to be a challenge for the hospitality industry to create better experiences for them.
Interested in more ways to adapt to the new age of travel? Work with ZEN Hospitality Solutions! Our team of experts can help you find ways to maximize your revenue, increase occupancy, and provide a better experience for your customers. Talk to an expert today.
Article by Ayna Gonzales