In this modern day and age tourism is no longer a complete word without being followed by experience. Food and travel combined have been a great combo for the creation of unforgettable experiences. Now, food is being added to most of the plans. Having been named as a strong trend followed by the so-called foodies, it’s understandable that people are being drawn to the idea of food as a complementary activity during their trip.
This trend was inevitable to come. Many spoke about it for a while, considering multiple angles to approach the subject, but never taking it from the paper into reality. The serious race for the world of experiences, that woke up the entire industry, started after the appearance of Airbnb Experiences. This new service was a great response to how tourists were searching for more immersion and a deeper understanding of certain places, and more importantly, through the local's point of view.
With that in mind, travel companies have a great opportunity in hand. Aligning their strategy with what is on the interest of the customers and collaborating with those who understand how to talk the digital/modern trend language, can help players speak more efficiently to their audience.
The time now requires fast but well-though actions. Given the high demand for the food and travel topic, companies have the option to invest in destination content solutions that are able to provide relevant information for the traveler, boosting their experience and developing their trust.
What does the food and travel experience mean for OTA's (also offline travel agencies) and destinations?
Destinations typically have many things to attract and offer their visitors. OTA's and travel agencies have been facing the need for personalisation, one that grows none stop. Because of this, these experts in travel itineraries have been seeking and implementing solutions - which most of the time involve a lot of data - to stay on track. However, since the industry is a full-time trend machine inventor, keeping up with what is high on traveler's demand list is also a very important task.
Luckily, finding creative methods to combine food and travel should be a great way to add a little something extra that most people will enjoy. After all, everyone must eat, and preferably good food at that. Therefore, taking it a step further and turning it into an experience incorporated into the travel itinerary, is a great strategy to make the most of the situation. This means that travellers don’t have to be troubled with where to go for dinner, because it’s already included in the program, leaving them busy for the day and satisfied with the quality of the itinerary provided.
This new trend topic has brought a lot of benefits to the destination itself, as showcasing the food experience for travellers enables the tourism boards to empower local business in a trendy way. Doing so allows travellers to actively engage in the culture, making sure to preserve what is important to the citizens at the same time as bringing joy to visitors.
Moreover, at this “instafriendly” era we live on, providing moments that can generate fine content is always an upside. For example, after making a beautiful and traditional dish, a restaurant is deemed to end up on social media at some point, bringing more positive exposure to the business and the destination.
The Time Out Case
One of the best examples of how the food experience can be adopted by destinations is the Time Out Market. The market was developed by the Time Out Group, an online and print magazine company that covers events, entertainment, and culture in individual cities. Kicked off in 2014, this great venue features a style that is similar to a food hall by bringing in the finest food and drink in the city into one single place. This model was founded under the idea that it could be a great way to use food to attract travellers, and by the 3.6 million that visited the market in 2017, we can say that it is accomplishing exactly what it was developed for.
But the Time Out Market continues to repeat the fact that it does much more than just serve food. The market has also invented innovative food experiences by incorporating concerts, conferences, fairs, and even cooking classes. Although food is the primary feature, there is also an element of ceremony and other activities, and the goal is to make all of this represent and reflect the city to the greatest degree possible. Each city gets a localised cultural flair, and that is a big part of the reason why it has proven to be so successful. And, although currently, the Time Out Market is currently present in Lisbon, New York, Miami and Boston, very soon there will be other Time Out Markets in cities such as Chicago, Montreal, London and Prague Chicago, and Boston.