First Group‘s Managing Director Shaun Lamont chats about the unique allure of the urban city vacation experience, with some great insight for how hospitality can adjust its messaging to draw visitors that are looking for a city vibe, not a beach vibe. 

When the wanderlust bug bites its traditionally a beach, berg or bush destination for most travellers. But seeking out the thrill of the urban city vibe and enticing nightlife holds a unique allure, especially among millennial travellers.

These holidaymakers want to connect and immerse themselves in culture, cuisine and architectural magnificence by exploring the city’s gems – from shopping sprees and bargain street stalls to trendy sidewalk cafes, lively street buskers and museums that tell the story of generations before.

Promote the Inner-City Soul

The love for the Mother City continues to be spread around the world and, despite its drought challenges, remains a favourite among tourists. According to the Cape Town Tourism Annual Report for 2017/2018, Cape Town International Airport welcomed 5.3 million visitors, which is a 3% increase on the previous year. International flight arrivals reported 13% year-on-year growth.

Hospitality players need to keep adapting so that they can deliver on the expectation of local and international visitors wanting to soak up the inner-city soul. Recognising that product innovation, refurbishment and guest services need to embrace a strong local culture is an essential requirement to promote the urban city attraction.

Concierges Need to Adapt to The Digital Era

Guests want to know about your tourism sites, local cuisine and entertainment, so it’s all about promoting this vibrancy from the moment they arrive. With mobile devices having changed the way in which travellers depend on the concierge, it is important to recognise that the time has come to start doing things differently. We need to be embracing the modern digital approach when it comes to guest engagement and service differentiation.

Before Google Maps, guests almost always stopped by the concierge for directions on their way out. Today they are more informed about their options and how to get there. However, there’s still a big need for local insight.

More than 70% of guests reportedly plan their itinerary after they arrive, which means they still seek out the expertise of the concierge – particularly when it comes to distilling the abundance of easily-accessed digital information.  To best field these questions, concierges need to equip themselves with more than past knowledge.

It would be advantageous to have insight into current guest reviews and social media posts about your local restaurants, public transport and other attractions. This will help assist guests to sift through the myriad of online options and choose the one that’s best suited to their expectations.

Support the Local Community

Go a step further by researching the local attractions and current events happening in your area – big or small – and adding them to your recommendations along with your onsite activities. Whether its music concerts, shows or anything in between, this is a great opportunity to support the local community, and having this type of information at your concierges’ fingertips will offer a greater value-added guest experience.

With tourism as the backbone of the economy and the first-of-its-kind New York and Cape Town city-to-city marketing agreement, which aims to further grow tourism numbers between the two destinations, the attraction of an urban city vacation has never been this exciting.

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