As discussed in Mintel’s Hotels–U.S., November 2012, revenues for U.S. accommodations are up overall and Americans–having more confidence in the travel industry and more money in their pockets to spend on personal travel–are inclined to book overnight stays. Yet, despite these positive developments, the industry is not without its challenges. Hoteliers are continually challenged to identify new ways to balance the need to meet consumer demands for innovation–namely through advanced technology–and the inevitable resulting need to fund them. To date, room rate increases and an influx of service and amenity fees have been the answer. However, tolerant as American travelers have been, there is likely a limit to exactly how many fees they are willing to accept–and how many additional dollars they are willing to pay.

In the same Hotels–U.S., November 2012 report, Mintel suggests that owners and operators may be able to pull back on fee-based pricing if they expand the reach of their hotels’ services, events, and activities to the general public. Local residents may not be interested in an overnight stay, but they may be looking for new places to eat or to attend a show or special event that doesn’t require venturing too far from home. “Start Spreadin’ the News”–a culinary event that will take place at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas (specifically, on its “Brooklyn Bridge”)–is an example of the kind of publicly-accessible activity that fits the bill.

On Dec. 9, 2012, hotel guests, local residents, and other visitors can “spread the news” by sampling dishes from a host of participating restaurants (e.g. the Venetian Hotel’s B&B Ristorante and the Paris Hotel’s Gordon Ramsay Steak), as well as the wine, craft beer and cocktails offered by the event’s primary host–Southern Wine & Spirits of Nevada. Participating in the festivities will come at a premium–$100 per ticket–but attendees can take comfort in the fact that the proceeds are going to a good cause. All of them will be donated to the American Red Cross’s Disaster Relief fund, specifically to benefit those affected by October 2012’s Superstorm Sandy.

The event isn’t really the brainchild of owners and operators at New York-New York, and it wouldn’t be possible without the work and donations of its host and array of participating restauranteurs. Yet, just as the fundraiser may encourage attendees who enjoy the food to visit the respective restaurants, “Start Spreadin’ the News” will also bring more public attention–and, later, dollars–to the hotel. Sponsoring a fundraiser like this on its premises now may be the answer to staying at the forefront of travelers’–and locals’–minds in the future. This is especially the case if such offerings give adventure-seeking Americans the opportunity to experience something new.

How do hotel-sponsored public events lend to life experience?

Mintel Inspire discusses the extent to which consumers have come to define their lives through experience in its trend, Immaterial World. Rather than focus on what they have, many are instead thinking about what they’ve done to make themselves stand out. In most cases, memories have proven themselves to be more valuable than any number of possessions, and to this end, consumers look to travel and leisure activities as a way of bringing more meaning to their lives.

However, even post-recession in the U.S., Americans’ desire to experience something new doesn’t necessarily trump their need to rein in spending and choose more budget-friendly activities. As such, while they may not be as inclined to make overnight stays at hotels–or pay as many fees when they do–many Americans will likely be motivated by opportunities to nonetheless participate in unique hotel-sponsored events that are a little more cost-conscious overall. What’s more, they are likely to remember the hotels that afford them such opportunities, and be more inclined to use their rooms and other services in the future.

Events like “Start Spreading the News” can make a lasting impact because they give participants a chance to experience a comparatively inexpensive activity out, and know they are contributing to the greater good in the process. By helping to spread the news, New York-New York and other hotels may in fact spread their wealth into the long-term.

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