For many travelers, great food and dining experiences are highlights of a trip. People tend to splurge on meals while on vacation, opting to eat at restaurants at least once a day. While there’s a practicality element to it - hotel rooms often don’t have kitchens - most tourists eat out because they see food as a way to explore their destination, a window into the culture and history of a place.
If your business offers recommendations and other kinds of travel content on its website, you should be sure not to neglect the gastronomical side of tourism. Whether the destination is known for its food or not, there are always offerings that will be of interest to travelers. After all, people’s food preferences vary greatly, but everyone needs to eat every day.
It’s important to offer a range of restaurant options on your website to cater to different tastes and price ranges, and so people who are staying several days in a place can try a variety of foods (without having to turn to another site for more recommendations). In this post, we’ll go over seven kinds of restaurants you should always include in your guides if you want to help travelers have the best gastronomic experiences.
Vegetarian and vegan restaurants
The number of people who refrain from eating meat and other animal products has been growing steadily in the last decade. Now, more than ever, including vegan and vegetarian restaurants in your travel guides is a must if you don’t want to exclude a sizable portion of your audience.
The good news is, as the number of vegans and vegetarians has increased, so has the number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants. If you don’t know of any in the destination, do some more research and you may find that a new one has recently opened up. If there are many options available, make sure that your recommendations are varied (for example, include vegan fast food, a healthy vegan place, and then something gourmet).
If there are no exclusively vegan or vegetarian restaurants—this could be the case in some small towns—recommend restaurants that offer high-quality vegetarian and vegan options instead. Many Asian restaurants, for example, feature a wide range of delicious meat-free dishes.
For many couples, going on a getaway is the perfect way to spend quality time together and reignite the spark, or to celebrate a special date such as an anniversary. Single people might also look for an elegant place to bring a date while on vacation. No matter the case, you’ll definitely want to include some romantic restaurant options in your travel guides.
Romance is subjective, of course, and not many restaurants explicitly define themselves as “romantic restaurants.” When putting together your list, include places that are elegant, with plenty of attention to detail when it comes to lighting, music, and other aspects of ambiance. It’s a good sign if the menu features multiple courses, since this indicates a slower pace that’s perfect for a date.
Typical local restaurants
Whether it's chocolate in Belgium, onion soup in France… every destination has those typical foods that every traveler wants to try at least once during the course of their trip. So it’s very important to include restaurants that serve local fare in your list of restaurant recommendations.
We suggest first creating a broad “typical food” category, then further categorizing restaurants based on price range, vegan friendliness, etc.
Ok, this category might not apply to land-locked places. But if the destination is close enough to the ocean to actually have fresh fish and great seafood restaurants, then this kind of cuisine definitely deserves a spot on your recommendation list. Some tourists don’t feel like they’ve even been to the coast until they’ve gotten their hands on fresh seafood.
Traveling can be a struggle for people with Celiac disease. Many restaurants don’t offer gluten-free options or, if they do, might not be able to guarantee that there is no cross contamination. When putting together your guide, try to find restaurants that are completely gluten free. If there are none, do some research to see which restaurants offer the best range of options and a safety protocol.
Breakfast and lunch restaurants
As we mentioned previously, many travelers eat out for practically every meal while on a trip. So if your restaurant recommendations only serve dinner, you’re leaving out breakfast and lunch. If possible, recommend at least one of every kind of restaurant mentioned above—vegan, seafood, etc.—that opens at or before noon.
Your business’ own restaurant
There’s no shame in self-promotion! If your business has its very own restaurant, you might as well use your travel content page to spread the word about it. When you do so, keep in mind the categories included in this list and highlight the kinds of options that your restaurant offers, whether it be an extensive vegan menu or great lunch specials.
Branding & personalized guides
After reading this list, we hope you’re excited about putting together your own list of top restaurants. There are just a couple more things to keep in mind before you dive in.
First of all, be sure that all the restaurants you recommend are in line with the values and branding of your company. For example, it would seem contradictory for a vegan hotel to recommend BBQ restaurants in its travel guide. But if your business puts an emphasis on sustainability, recommending bio and organic restaurants could be relevant for your audience and help you build a coherent brand voice.
Your company may also consider putting together personalized guides with gastro recommendations that all revolve around a common theme. For example, you might create a list featuring food trucks that sell local cuisine in the city center. Or maybe you could create the ultimate guide to plant-based food in the destination, perfect for vegans who are staying a while and afraid of getting bored of eating at the same restaurants.
The key to creating great restaurant guides is remembering that travelers have a wide range of preferences and dietary requirements, they often do a research when they’re not sure about what options restaurants may offer, and taking into account that many tourists prefer food that allows them to experience local flavors.