As the lodging industry grapples with Airbnb, TripAdvisor and other locally oriented services, major hotel brands are increasingly taking a back seat to the surrounding neighborhoods. “Our facility is no longer the destination,” said one hotel executive. “Now we are a portal to the community around us.”
About half of travelers want to explore the local area while on a business trip, according to a 2013 survey released this week by Millward Brown. For business travelers, “discovery” now ranks higher than “escape” or “indulgence,” per the survey.
“Consumers have overcome their fears and discomfort from being in a new place, since they now have access to lots of information from Google Maps, review sites like Yelp and social media,” said Oscar Yuan, vp at the Millward Brown Optimor brand consultancy. Home-sharing services such Airbnb show how much people are open to having a local experience, he added.
As a result, instead of hotel brands positioning themselves as familiar, quiet refuges from the outside world, more chains are offering unique settings and stimulating local experiences. Examples include Red Lion Hotels, which cater to middle America and the boutique Hotel Indigo chain, owned by InterContinental Hotels Group.
READ THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE: How Airbnb, Yelp Are Changing Hotel Marketing | Adweek.