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  1. Char

    I’d not heard of local travel being the current trend. You’re right, it’s just plain silly for big hotel chains to position themselves as “local”. Not only is it, as you say, nonsensical, it’s also not what their target audience are looking for anyway. When I stay in a chain hotel I’m not looking for the local experience, I’m looking for the convenience; perhaps a central location or proximity to an airport. If I’m looking to explore what it is to be a local, I rent an apartment in a neighbourhood I’m interested in. What I’m saying is people who want local search for ways to experience local, people who don’t, book into the Hilton and expect to be directed to the local tourist trap.

    1. Lara Dunston

      There’s definitely more of an interest from mainstream high-end travellers in getting the off the beaten track a little bit and getting a taste of ‘going local’ but they generally want to do it with a guide and they have their limits. For instance, guides continually tell us that the majority of people still won’t eat street food for fear of getting sick – even though there’s a greater chance they’ll pick up a bug handling the tongs at their hotel’s breakfast buffet. I think the tendency for big high-end hotel brands to run with the ‘living like locals’ angle and claiming their concierges are ‘insiders’ with local secrets to share is just lazy – unless they’re really going to get their concierges out on the streets playing guidebook writers and doing real research, which of course they’re not.

  2. Roberto

    I’ve never thought of chains as being “local”. Like Char I also stay in chains for convenience, but I prefer to search out small b&b’s or to rent an apartment or cottage to get the chance to shop and mix with the locals.

    1. Lara Dunston

      Hi Roberto, I totally agree with you, but I can’t tell you how many of the big brand hotels have been promoting themselves as a ‘home away from home’ and being ‘cosy’ (how can a 300-room property be cosy?) and promoting their staff as insiders with secrets to share.

      It’s becoming so common, it’s driving me a little crazy. I don’t understand why they’re not promoting what they are – an escape primarily. Most people’s home are not like five-star hotels.

  3. Lynnette

    I guess it depends on whether you’re travelling to explore and make connections with a new culture or more as a break to get away/relax. I think you can do the latter without ever really delving in to the local scene, and for many people that is the purpose of vacation. But I’m with you. I travel to experience new places and ideas, to share stories and connect, and if you’re not travelling local, you’re unlikely to be doing that.

    1. Lara Dunston

      Hi Lynette – good point and so very true, and we all travel for different reasons at different times. I spend most of my time ‘going local’, travelling experientially, and connecting with people, so all I want to do now is laze around with a book and catch up on movies. Thanks for dropping by!

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