Chain Brand Comfort or Local “Off Road” Ride?

We are living in sort of “Globalized Village” where boarders are slowly disappearing,one can argue with benefits and down side of that statement but fact is a fact. Now days we are all connected somehow, via air,road,railway,and in the last decades or so via internet/online social network.

When you see one hotel that is a part of the famous hotel chains you’ve seen them all.” we often hear that. Maybe tourism/traveling industry is a spear head of globalization because we have in this moment alone millions of people “in transfer” somewhere,whether the main reason of travel is business or pleasure.

Anthony Bourdain,Kitchen Confidential -
Do we really want to travel in hermetically sealed popemobiles through the rural provinces of France, Mexico and the Far East, eating only in Hard Rock Cafes and McDonald’s? Or do we want to eat without fear, tearing into the local stew, the humble taqueria’s mystery meat, the sincerely offered gift of a lightly grilled fish head? I know what I want. I want it all. I want to try everything once.

When you hear this words from a man who has world wide popularity trough his books and TV shows you know that something is going on from some quite time.New (or not so now) demand on market that wants to suck up every little atom from a local way of living,eating,sleeping….they want to stay far away from typical and comfortable rooms in cloned hotel’s,they want something different,more exotic and strange to them,stranger than their own living room and that familiar street with well known faces and stores.

Chain-Brand Hotel Corporations…

Big corporations should acknowledge the adventurer type of desire trough various “new” concepts of connecting/blending popular all inclusive tourism on one side and local level on the other via social media-networks,blogs,hotel brochures and info touch screen boards,specialized hot spots inside of hotels with examples of local history and culture, cuisine, appropriate interior and exterior architectural arrangements that collides with the local type, hotel stuff with all needed information’s on how to go, what to see and to do, not only main sight seeing but also things that are part of special unique local routine and at last something not in close related to hotels/travel agencies-tourists relationship, ecological and humanitarian support to the community in every way possible.

Word of advice for adventurer ones.

- Move Thoroughly: Take your time, locals do not hang around hot spots and land marks with crowded and endless lines of tourists, soak the atmosphere by just siting in front of that picturesque cafe, take a break or as they say in Paris L’Apéritif: The French Happy Hour, walk and wander as you discover pulse of the city …. you might see only point A and point B on your tourist map but life bustles right between those check points in voids (streets) between the sights.
Some smart head once said, “City is not bricks and roof tops, city is people…”

- Rent an Apartment: Nothing feels local more then walking towards that building , playing with your set of keys , occasional hello to that neighbor who you probably never seen again, making coffee, tea or dinner by yourself….
*CoachSurfing- is a hospitality exchange and social networking website. The website provides a platform for members to “surf” on couches by staying as a guest at a host’s home, host travelers, or join an event.
Concept- The Couchsurfing project was conceived by Casey Fenton in 1999, according to Fenton’s account. The idea arose after finding an inexpensive flight from Boston to Iceland. Fenton randomly e-mailed 1,500 students from the University of Iceland asking if he could stay. He ultimately received more than 50 offers of accommodation. On the return flight to Boston, he began to develop the ideas that would underpin the Couchsurfing project. He registered couchsurfing.com the same year.

- The Food Market: If you want to experience mentality, habits, rituals and many, many more strictly local things than forget primary visit to that over hyped landmark , food market is place to go. One can say that food market is practically source of all elements of local society (and old school gossip hub).
*Eat like a local: Don’t be afraid to experiment and if you are afraid of local cuisine read Anthony Bourdain quote from above, read it twice, memorize it and get your hands on that Chinese delight, fried scorpion.

- Public Transportation: Main nerve of every functioning city-trams, trolley, buses, metro and metro stations all wrapped around the local vibe with the locals as main actors in that vibe.
* Uber- Uber Technologies Inc. is an American multinational online transportation network company headquartered in San Francisco, California. It develops, markets and operates the Uber mobile app, which allows consumers with smartphones to submit a trip request which is then routed to local Uber drivers who use their own cars.

We can talk about Uber in light of recent massive protests that were held in some cities but fact is that Uber is getting popular day by day and just swallows local competition, is this fair play or not? Probably not but that is modern business environment of 21st century in a nutshell.

-Volunteer Work: Is there more righteous feel than when you support and bring something to local community.
What can you gain from local volunteering ? Nothing much, just one strong word, Respect!

Ansan — sharing meals starts early, and in many cultures, such as Korea, it says so much. There are few better ways to make friends than trading items mom packed for your lunch.

Antigua — During Semana Santa, people work for hours to construct intricate alfombras that decorate the streets of Antigua, Guatemala. Processions, then, parade right over the carpets.

Different Opinions

Imtiaz Muqbil, a renowned tourism analyst based in Bangkok, warned: “The independence of thousands of small and medium size enterprises, including hotels and tour operators, is at risk.’ This is because most local enterprises will hardly be able to compete with foreign companies. Moreover, Muqbil suggested that as an outcome of globalization, Asian countries may face ‘the prospects of huge growth in leakage of foreign exchange earnings.’ In conclusion, he said, ‘The radical restructuring of travel and tourism … could strike at the heart of national economies. It is already a well-established fact that in some developing countries, more than two-thirds of the revenue from international tourism never reaches the local economy because of the high foreign exchange leakages. Now, as the new free trade and investment policies are being implemented, their balance sheets may even worsen because the profits and other income repatriated by foreign companies is likely to grow larger than the inflow of capital. That means, the claims that globalization and liberalization of tourism will bring wealth, progress, social achievements and improved environmental standards to developing countries need to be seriously questioned.

Alex Cabañas, President of Benchmark Hospitality-”Don’t be a lazy underwriter — give the independent brand model an equal chance. The fact is that many lenders and investors simply prefer chains. The old adage of “nobody gets fired for hiring IBM” drives a lot of decisions. For those willing to dig in a little deeper, the value proposition is worth it — lower management fees, more flexible contract terms, more nimble operations, typically unencumbered upon sale and more flexible sale options. So for you lenders out there reading this blog post, give us a chance and give us the audience. You won’t be disappointed.After all of this, you can easily assume that this blog post is an anti-chain rant. That is not the goal. The goal is to level the underwriting playing field and dissipate the clear bias towards chains based on generic statements about “distribution” and “loyalty programs” and “standards”, rather than digging into how the industry has evolved, how consumer preferences have dramatically changed, and how independent third party operators have grown and been able to compete — proof positive competition, not dreaming. Every professional independent operator can show numerous case studies that prove our ability to perform equal to or better than the chains. And at the end of the day, performance speaks for itself in all cases — “chain” and “independent”. And equally important is for any operator or brand or chain to act in the best interest of each owner every step of the way.

Scott Carmichael-Gadling -The most important reason to pick a hotel that is part of a large chain is simple — consistency. Granted, a Hyatt in Spain may not look exactly the same as a US Hyatt, but the hotel will be held to the same standards as its US counterpart. Picking a consistent hotel is great if you want to feel a little more at home. There is something oddly comforting about driving through a weird city, then arriving at your favorite hotel brand. Outside may look, smell and sound different, but inside the hotel, its all vaguely familiar and reassuring.
Hotel brands offer more variation than just price and comfort. The hot trend in the hotel world is offering lifestyle hotels. Most chains have opened, or are working on opening at least one brand of hotels focusing on a younger, hipper guest.A great benefit of a chain with multiple brands is the ability to earn and redeem points within the chain. If you are a frequent guest at an affordable Hilton property, you can save up all those points, and redeem them for some free nights at a Conrad. Turning cheap stays into free stays at a really expensive property is a fantastic perk.

Apps,apps,apps…

You’ve made your decision to go local . One of the great allies of tourism and traveling in 2016 is for sure hi-tech revolution that is going around in front of our own eyes in recent years:smart phones,i-phones,android,you name it and on all that devices a little thing call app.
We can talk about revolution of mobile applications but we shall stay only in tourism field. So, you’ve decided to act live and travel like a local back in lets say 1993, what will you have to do? You will have to be a logistic magician and prepare your self, you’ll have to read massive amount of brochures and underground travel guides for few days straight. But on the other side, it’s 2016 and you want to experience local way…get your app, easy as that.
Let’s mention some: Uber, Airbnb, BlaBlaCar, Eatwith, Field Trip, Meetup,Party With a Local, Tinder, UrbanBuddy, Vayable, Withlocals, Like A Local,Roads and Kingdoms, CouchSurfing….
All of these apps are available on iOS,Android or Windows Phone for free and it will be of enormous help on your travel adventures.

Conclusion.

All mentioned above is off course just one significant part of wider and more in-depth so to say topic (much like hospitality industry as a whole) without one definite conclusion, and it would be boring with that one great conclusion we can all agree on that.
That’s why modern day tourism is a bit like a big machine with many small but equally important elements that must work together like a clock in order to be operational on a whole level. So, maybe it’s much better to put plane and simple three or more dots which will symbolize vastness of tourism options and capabilities ….

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