Five Successful Models of Incorporating Heritage into Hotel Development

By Larry K. Kimball Director of Hotel Development, C. W. Clark, Inc. | April 30, 2010

Developers fortunate enough to have an opportunity to develop hotels in or near heritage areas have a duty to incorporate history into their project. Cultural heritage activities are one of tourism's biggest market opportunities but how to capture it? This article outlines five models to profitably attract and retain those visitors and their discretionary dollars:

  1. Select site with marketable and sustainable heritage attributes
  2. Integrate the hotel into the community
  3. Design heritage into the facility
  4. Develop a consistent visitor message
  5. Create heritage daily

The resulting historic hospitality will add to the richness of both the guest experience and the community.

Marketable and Sustainable Heritage Sites

Try to be picky about your site. A glossy brochure itself does not connote heritage so select a site with a documented past. For example, why does it take an act of Congress to get a National Heritage Area? Answer-that is how these historically significant areas are designated and preserved for future generations.

Since there are currently only 49 National Heritage Areas (NHA), it's understandable why they are not household names. Not to be confused with national parks, each NHA played an important role in the history of the U.S. According to the criteria to become a NHA, "the landscape must have nationally distinctive natural, cultural, historic, and scenic resources that, when linked together, tell a unique story about our country." Created through Congressional designation, NHAs are locally-managed and focus on heritage-centered interpretation and conservation that are grounded in a community's pride. NHAs by definition offer residents and visitors a gateway for immersion into history and the local landscape. That's why hotels in or near NHAs should pay tribute to the local area and incorporate heritage into the guest experience.

While the movie remake "3:10 to Yuma" was a recent commercial success, most people probably can not find Yuma on a map. That is surprising because Yuma has helped shape U.S. history for hundreds of years. Long the traditional homeland of the Quechan Indian Tribe, the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area is along the Colorado River on the California and Arizona border. Because of geology, geographically Yuma served as the key crossing point on the lower Colorado River in the 19th century and opened the southern route for expansion of the western U.S. Today, the Yuma Crossing National Heritage Area's mission is to "conserve, enhance, and interpret the natural and cultural resources of the community through collaboration and partnerships."

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.

Close

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.