Table of contents
Hotel community engagement is important for brand identity and word-of-mouth marketing, as you’re more likely to get recommended. It’s also a great way of contributing to the greater good of your community. By building long-lasting relationships with local businesses and people, your hotel is set to thrive.
Even if you know it’s beneficial for hotels to engage with their communities, you may wonder how to better connect your hotel to its local surroundings? Moving towards a more holistic approach opens the possibility of joining a more sustainable tourism model.
|Table of contents
What is community engagement?
Community engagement refers to the collaboration among individuals or groups who share common interests or circumstances that impact their overall well-being. Activism, volunteer work and gardening are some common examples of community engagement.
Why should hotels engage with their communities?
Just like hotels want to interact with guests through marketing channels to keep them engaged and create lasting connections, community engagement aims to encourage travelers to interact with the local groups. The better the overall experience at your hotel and within the community, the more likely guests are to become brand ambassadors.
You can turn guests into brand ambassadors by offering tangible experiences that will impact brand reputation and online reviews. Building relationships is one of the best ways to bring lasting value to the community. Plus, hotel public relations play an essential role in how your brand is perceived.
Economic and social development
It’s in the hotel’s best interests that the surrounding area develops in a sustainable manner. By working with the community, hotels can contribute to the economic and social development of the area they operate in. It’s a win-win situation for everyone: the hotel, residents and businesses.
Create opportunities for collaboration
By engaging with the community, your hotel can create opportunities to collaborate with local organizations and businesses on events, sponsorships and other initiatives. These have the potential to generate revenue and at the same time, promote business.
Understand the needs of local customers
Get involved with the community to get a better idea of their needs, then tailor your products and services to achieve greater customer satisfaction and loyalty. And while the preferences of local guests may differ, understanding them will provide a more authentic experience based on local values.
Connecting your hotel to your community: how can you do it?
Now that you know why it’s beneficial for hotels to engage with their communities, let’s explore some of the ways you can do it.
Start with a plan
Engaging with your neighborhood citizens in a meaningful way starts with a plan. First, make sure the activity is aligned to your hotel’s overall business goals. Whether it’s increasing loyalty and visibility, or attracting a new target group, the activities for engagement should relate to these specific goals.
Find out the 7 most important KPIs for the hotel industry.
Adapt your plan to your location
The engagement strategy of an eco-resort in the middle of the Amazon jungle will differ quite drastically from that of a hotel in the middle of a city. So, make sure to customize the plan to your target audience and keep in mind: location matters.
Especially with big chain hotels, it can be tempting to bring in top management from the chain’s origin country rather than hiring locally. However, locals better understand the district’s needs, serving as a bridge between your hotel and its surroundings. Plus, locals can bring added value to your guests by recommending activities, excursions and restaurants.
Another benefit of hiring locally: a better idea of the needs of the surrounding areas and groups, as well as local organizations. Locals will know what kinds of projects, events and activities could be interesting for promoting your hotel’s involvement.
Collaborate with local schools
Hotels can collaborate with local schools to create an internship program for students to train in the hospitality industry. This is a terrific way to solve staffing challenges and ensure more qualified workers in the area. Professionally trained staff also experience higher job satisfaction. Find out ways to increase employee satisfaction.
Partner with local organizations
Partnering with local organizations such as tourism boards and chambers of commerce will help your hotel be more visible, as well as generate amazing marketing opportunities. It’s a great way to increase your hotel’s exposure and attract new local customers.
Offer local experiences
Create packages and experiences that highlight local attractions, cultural experiences and gastronomy. This will differentiate your hotel from its competitors and provide guests with unique experiences.
Leverage social media
Use social media to highlight your hotel’s community involvement – it’s crucial for communicating your brand’s values. You can also feature local attractions, events and local businesses to build your online presence and increase visibility in the local community. Discover hotel social media marketing strategies.
Did our examples of community engagement in the hospitality industry inspire you to connect your hotel to its surroundings? Proactive hotels have the chance to enrich the lives of the community and guests. Nurturing a symbiotic relationship with your environment will do wonders for your brand. And if you’re looking for more ways to improve your hotel’s operations, reach out to Mews systems for a more integrated guest journey.
Eva has over a decade of international experience in marketing, communication, events and digital marketing. When she's not at work, she's probably surfing, dancing, or exploring the world.
Hospitality hot takes straight to your inbox
Sign up to our monthly newsletter for industry insights, product news, partner updates and more.
How to Message Your Hotel Guests