Opinion.

‘Locals are the real bosses of a destination’

Dr. Isaac Mizrachi, Area Manager, Israel for Booking.com and former Director of Tourism for Tel Aviv, reveals how collaboration can be crucial to the success of accommodations

by Dr. Isaac Mizrachi, Area Manager, Israel for Booking.com,

Topic: Marketing

Click. Takeaway

  • By working together, hoteliers and Destination Marketing Organisations (DMOs) can ensure visitors have a better experience
  • Travellers are increasingly searching for a localised experience, which can be achieved when hotels work with local communities
  • New boutique hotels adopt fresh design styles that stay away from “traditional” hotel designs – direct impact of the home segment
  • Hotels’ ADRs are currently growing rapidly month on month all over Israel

Involving locals

I always say that locals are the real bosses of a destination. It’s not the city, it’s not the hoteliers – it’s the locals. It’s important to involve them in planning processes. They know the key strengths of an area better than anyone. When I was working as the Director of Tourism for Tel Aviv Municipality, we even wrote the tourism master plan together with local residents.

We are now starting to see hotels collaborating with local businesses. An example of this is Fabric Hotel, who decided to partner with the Imperial Cocktail Bar Group – an international award-winning bar in Tel Aviv. That’s a significant trend we see emerging, local businesses opening up a branch inside hotels. Travellers are increasingly wanting a localised experience, which can be achieved when hotels work with local communities.

The interesting thing about this trend is that hotels are now designing their property with the idea of wanting to work with a specific local business already in mind. It’s something they now plan ahead.

Lifeguard hut. Photo: Guy Yechiely

Lifeguard hut. Photo: Guy Yechiely

Collaboration is key

One of the main events in Tel Aviv is the Pride Festival. It happens every year in June and attracts roughly 60,000 visitors from around the world. In 2016, the NYX hotel had just opened. They approached us and asked if we could work together for the pride festival. So we thought, “How can we collaborate with local businesses and create something everyone can benefit from?” We came up with the idea to brand them as the official Pride Hotel of the city.

They were fully booked soon after and have continued with the tradition of being the official pride hotel. It’s a good example of how a Destination Marketing Organisation (DMO) and a local hotel can work together to deliver value. The city got the exposure it wanted, the hotel got exposure and bookings, and the visitors enjoyed an excellent product.

We also teamed up with a hotel chain called Brown hotels and aimed to create the most beautiful hotel room in the world. We chose a lifeguard hut on the beach and converted it into a hotel room – which gained a lot of media attention and exposure for both the hotel chain and the city. Brown Hotels is known for their designs and attention to detail, so they brought in a great designer who created this beautiful room inside the hut, with the most amazing view of the ocean just a metre away.

I strongly recommend that hoteliers and DMOs collaborate more often and find these opportunities. If a big event is happening in the city, for example, it’s best to try and think outside the box to see how you can deliver a better visitor experience. By working together, hoteliers and DMOs can ensure that visitors have a better experience, which will increase positive word of mouth in social media and elsewhere.


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Growth of tourism demand

Currently it’s hard to find a room in Tel Aviv and the ADR is growing rapidly month on month. On the one hand it’s great, hoteliers and all accommodation providers are happy and have great occupancy rates. But at the same time, we see the need to create new accommodations of all kinds. For instance, in the near future capsule hotels are coming to Tel Aviv, which only demonstrates the need for alternative accommodation types that can be constructed quickly, with perhaps a lower Average Daily Rate (ADR).

This city needs quick solutions to accommodate the rising demands, which presents a great opportunity for the home sector. The home sector in Tel Aviv is booming separately from the other accommodation types. Interestingly, we now see the impact this growth had on hotels. I see a direct link between the booming home segment to new hotel designs and offerings. Hoteliers understand that guests are looking for something different, and so new hotels now have interiors that stay away from the “traditional” hotel design and instead look and feel more like home, or a night club, or another space that is everything but a hotel as we used to know it. That’s an interesting pattern that I suspect will only grow.

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Dr. Isaac Mizrachi is the Area Manager of Israel for Booking.com

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