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10 tips to enrich the cultural experience of your guests by including staff members

Luxury travel is nowadays more and more about local experiences and authenticity than just about being pampered. Touristic trips and excursions organized by impersonal companies can increase your knowledge on the local culture to some extend, but how much nicer is it to have an authentic experience by meeting real people and getting to know real customs of the region you’re visiting?
Having your local staff members organize excursions, workshops and events will enhance your guests’ cultural experience. Also, guests will bond with your staff members, have a better overall experience in your hotel and will more likely want to come back next year!

Here are 10 tips for events that will enrich the cultural vacation experience of your guests by including your local staff members.

Cooking class1) Cooking class
Enjoying local food is an important cultural experience when travelling. Gaining knowledge about local products and dishes will surely enrich your guests’ vacation experience.
Organize a simple cooking class with one of your staff members. Anyone from your staff that enjoys cooking can give the class. Most important for your guests is the experience, not creating michelin-starred qualified food. Have your ‘cook’ explain about the local products and make a simple, local dish. Enjoy the meal with a good glass of your local beverage.

2) Tour to the local market
Visiting a local market will give guests good insight in the culture of the country or region.
Let one of your staff members organize a tour to the local market. Let him or her explain about the local products, fruits and vegetables and explain how it is used in daily life.

3) Evening of local myths storytelling
Every country or region has its own myths and legends.
Organize an evening where you let your staff members tell some of the local myths. Bring your guests together around a campfire while they enjoy a local beverage and let them listen to some of the most beautiful stories about the region.

4) Walk through a local villageWalk through a local village
A walk through a local village will be an interesting experience for most tourists. Have one (or more) of your staff members guide your guests through the village they live in. This way they can meet the real people, visit the real villages and watch the real daily life.

5) Quiz on facts about the country or region, with mixed teams
Most travellers love to know some interesting facts on the country or region they are visiting. Organize an ‘I love Thailand / India / Costa Rica / your destination quiz’. Make mixed teams, each team consisting of both locals and tourists. Think of cool, funny, interesting questions that concern the specific country, region or culture.
And of course, think of a nice “local” prize for the winning team!

6) Sports competitions in the local sport, with mixed teams
Sport can be fun, healthy and bonding. Organize a sport competition in one of the local sports, for example football, badminton or (beach)volleyball. Make mixed teams, each team consisting of both locals and tourists. Be ready for a day of fun, play and good competition!

7) Workshop about local, natural cosmetic products
In a world where cosmetic goods are more and more expensive, chemical and damaging for the environment, people are looking for natural alternatives. In many regions locals use products directly from nature to moisture, nourish and smooth their skin and hair. Have a staff member explain about the local, natural plants and products they use as cosmetics.

8) Workshop on making a local handicraft product
Bringing home local handicraft products is always a good memory of a vacation, but it’s even nicer to make something yourself! Create a workshop where your staff members help your guests making their own local handicrafted product. Think of a bowl made of a coconut, a woven basket or a traditional painting.

9) Attend a local religious ceremonylocal religious ceremony
Visiting a temple, church or other religious building can give some insight in the local culture. But by attending a ceremony with one of your staff members, your guests will surely gain a lot more knowledge.
Have your staff members invite guests to attend a local religious ceremony. Let the staff member explain about the ceremony and make sure that your guests are guided through every step of the event.

10) Workshop on local dance and/or music
Dance and music are at the basis of most cultures. Watching local people dance or make music is an important part of cultural understanding, but dancing and making music yourself is even more fun! Organize a workshop where one of your staff members teaches your guests a local dance or music piece.