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There’s A Big Old World Out There

If I hear the new buzzwords “experiential travel” one more time I might scream. I know it’s hard to find new ways of bringing attention to the same old subject.

But we have always travelled to have experiences: to meet other people, to try other languages and other foods, to discover what it’s like to walk in other people’s shoes.

While hotels are, of course, a key part of travel, providing us with a base in which we feel safe and happy, for most travellers, they’re not the reason that we’re going somewhere.

We are going because we want to explore. To try new things. To adventure out into geographical environments different from our own.

When you’re writing press releases about hotels, it might be worth remembering that. While room sizes and amenities and chefs are useful to know about – if we are going to spend a small fortune staying a hotel, we want to know what we’re getting in exchange – what many real travellers want to know is what we can do from that hotel.

What parts of the world can we explore from there? What trails are nearby? Has the hotel compiled a map of great places to go? Sites to visit? People to meet? Restaurants to test?

A new hotel to me is never a story. It’s a hook. A newsworthy peg that allows me to go to a destination. It’s when I venture out from there that the real story begins.

So when you are trying to tempt me to go to a new hotel, tell me all the things I can do from there. Show me what I can experience outside its walls and I’ll be far more tempted to go. Like most people I travel to experience the world. Not to eat and sleep.

Lisa Grainger has worked for The Times – from the arts and news desks to The Times Magazine and LUXX – since 1995. When she isn’t working as deputy editor of Luxx, Lisa freelances for publications from Departures and Travel + Leisure to The Times, pens a monthly interview with a leading British craftsman for Walpole, and is sustainability editor at Country & Town House. She has won awards for her travel writing on Africa, and is a regular contributor to panels on conservation and luxury travel. Her compilation of African myths and legends, Stories Gogo Told Me, funds schooling for orphaned girls through the CAMFED charity.

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