For Return Travelers, The Hotel Industry Should Embrace Culinary Tourism

Traveling Spoon, a website in Beta, offers a unique culinary experience for travelers who want to dig into regional cuisine.

Culture and tourism go hand in hand when it comes to marketing.


A region’s history, community, people and attractions all give the travel and tourism industries reason to celebrate their specific locale.


But, everyone eats! Especially tourists.


It’s one of the top three reasons why travelers pick a specific destination. Not to mention, a great meal makes any vacation that much more memorable, just like a great place to stay does. It also means your travelers will keep coming back!


Check out this recent post on Forbes Life called The Next Generation Of Culinary Tourism: Traveling Spoon.


Traveling Spoon connects travelers with local cooking hosts who offer classes and in-home meals. While you might think that all travelers want to experience the restaurants of a particular area, there’s more to it than that.


“Everyone is talking about connections, authenticity and experiences these days,” writes Ann Abel for Forbes. “We want to get real. Even if we have no intention of replicating any recipes, it’s far more memorable to be welcomed into a home than led into a gleaming professional-instruction kitchen in Singapore or a demonstration kitchen at a five-star resort in Chiang Mai. Many Traveling Spoon clients say their lunch or dinner is the highlight of their trip.”


Consumers want authenticity. They want to know the story behind the food, and they want to dig into an area’s culture. Why? Because it makes the trip that much more memorable. It adds value to the money being spent on a particular vacation. And, while not everyone wants to sleep in a hammock next to a dinghy overlooking the sea or dig their own clams, they do want to make memories.


The Charlotte Observer hits the nail on the head in this recent post about culinary tourism in Clarksdale, Mississippi.


Simply put, “It takes a little culture to jump start tourism.”


Clarksdale is all about barbecue, the blues and a city full of southern history. Not to mention, it’s not overrun with tourists (yet!) like New Orleans and Nashville. The town is capitalizing on its small town charm and unique arts, cultural and culinary offerings. Just ask Morgan Freeman. He owns the blues club Ground Zero in Clarksdale.


What a great insight for the hotel industry.


Culinary tourism isn’t just the latest marketing trend. It’s the meat and potatoes of a great stay, and most importantly, it will guarantee return travelers.


Check out this video from the Southern Foodways Alliance on the history of the Hot Tamale Trail. You can read more about that here.


What is your business doing to stay on top of the latest consumer trends? We’d love to hear about your ideas in the comments.


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