Want even better guest reviews? Then get 'local' with your experience

4 min read | BY NICK BONNEY

On the way to an early morning photo shoot this morning I was groovin’ along to some sultry R&B (NAO for those who care) on our local Sydney radio station, FBI Radio. But it was an advertisement for the hashtag, #SydneyLocal from Sydney City Council that got me thinking about how a hotelier could add some serious value to their guests’ experience.

The hashtag is created by locals and curated by the council. It’s a way to share places to get the best espresso martini, latest vegan ‘fishless’ pie (yes that’s a thing), find the best Insty photo opportunity and other hidden gems around our beautiful city. With so much changing in cities around the world every day, and every hour, it’s difficult for anyone to keep up with what’s hot and what’s not.

So why don’t more hotels adapt such a clever way to connect with their audience?

I’m not suggesting every hotel sets up their own hashtag and drive thousands of people to use it. That would be crazy. Not to mention it probably wouldn’t work. Instead, look for other more achievable ways to deliver your local advice.

We recently had an incredible week in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Without trying to sound like a tosser - we drank Mendoza Malbec in a tiny, hidden, speak-easy, dined with one of Argentina’s best chef’s, Dario Gualtieri, and ate Choripán at the city’s best street vendor. But, it wasn’t the hoards of reviews on TripAdvisor that made it happen. It was a pocket sized guide book that Patricia Oshea, the owner of Home Hotel where we were staying had painstakingly put together that showed us where to go and (possibly more importantly) where not to go.

Thanks to Home Hotel’s pocket guide we were able to meet famed chef  Dario Gualtieri .

Thanks to Home Hotel’s pocket guide we were able to meet famed chef Dario Gualtieri.

Home Hotel  in Buenos Aires

Home Hotel in Buenos Aires

The Home Hotel pocket guide is packed full of Patricia’s personal favourite hot spots for coffee, shopping, eating, cocktails, getting around and cultural activities to immerse yourself in.

Digital expert Josh Rowe says: “Try and uncover anything unique about your destination and your local area. People love secrets. They love to find things out. The In ‘n’ Out Burger chain’s ‘secret menu’ is a good example. The secret menu is available on their website and every regular knows what it is, so it’s not particularly secret.

“There’s something that feels good about being an insider or a local, with local knowledge. Start by simply letting your guests know where to get the best local pizza or let them know about a hidden gem, such as a little bar or shop they must know about.

Try and uncover anything unique about your destination and your local area. People love secrets. They love to find things out.

“A guest may be able to find those things out for themselves, but often it’s time consuming, not easy and they could easily miss out. Sharing your local knowledge and secret tips with them will go a long way towards helping your guests have a unique and unforgettable experience with you. 

“We live in Malavista, which is just behind Venice in LA. I can find out where the local school is for my son simply by visiting Google Maps, but there’s not really extra information, like what’s the best playground within five minutes of my house.

“There’s a layer of information that technology can’t provide and a real opportunity for accommodation businesses to add value. For example, they could include real human stories from locals on their website. Imagine an interesting local guy who is at a particular coffee shop every day, telling you about his tips and secrets.


Airbnb launched a great feature about experiences. I can go to San Francisco and go to Harvey Milk Walk and walk around with some local from the Castro who’s been there for 50 years and knew Harvey Milk – those kinds of things give me a great connection with the destination before I’ve even arrived.”

So what local experience are you going to offer your guests? If you need ideas or help bringing your ideas to life then chat to our No Vacancy Agency team. Let’s get #local together.