Ten years ago, we introduced our revolutionary Be My Guest experience. Through these experiences, Trafalgar guests are invited into a local’s home, where they share a home-cooked meal and taste traditional dishes, all while swapping stories, learning about customs, and even picking up a delicious recipe, new cooking method, or food ritual. Our guests not only connect with people and culture through food but also support the communities we visit.
Today, our guests can have a Be My Guest experience in dozens of countries all over the world. We’ve had the privilege of watching thousands of people dine with locals and connect over good food and good conversation. You can dine with a family of winemakers in their Tuscan villa or learn how to find bush tucker with Aboriginal Australians. Enjoy a farm-to-table meal at O’o Farm in Maui, Hawaii or cook bread around a campfire with Native Americans in the United States. Taste traditional wine in Georgia or dine in a French château. Harvest Inca corn in Peru or learn ancient recipes on a rural farm in Ireland.
Wherever you go, you’ll find our Be My Guest experiences are more than just breaking bread with the people you meet. It’s about making a human connection and getting a real insight into someone’s life, culture, and passions – and it’s a truly special experience you’ll cherish forever.
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Supporting our Be My Guest hosts as they rebuild post-COVID
When the COVID pandemic hit over two years ago, our Be My Guest hosts were severely impacted. Lockdowns and restrictions meant they could no longer host guests and their businesses and livelihoods ground to a halt. From the financial strain to the social isolation, the pandemic was an incredibly difficult time for many people.
As borders open and travellers begin to get out there again, our Be My Guest hosts are starting to rebuild. And we’re ready to help. We reflect on why going local has never been more important and talk to Christine Upton and Dee Marrocco from The Travel Corporation about how we’re supporting our Be My Guest hosts as they rebuild.
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Christine Upton – Head of Experience Development
We have kept in touch with our Be My Guest partners over this quiet period of the pandemic. Many were very nervous. Many were dealing very well with the situation as they are mainly in the country and regional areas, and they attracted local business, which allowed them to survive this period.
We cared about keeping them going and wanted to show them we were doing our utmost to bring back our guests, so we reached out to them with our marketing teams and got them to be involved in videos and blog posts to share with our guests. We kept in regular contact, exchanged ideas on how to move forward with them, and involved them in our marketing campaigns. All of this gave our hosts faith and a real sense that business would return and be better than ever.
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Dee Marrocco – Chief Marketing Officer
Our traveller’s highlight is always our signature Be My Guest experience. The encounter not only gives our guests a unique insider view into the real way of life of locals but is also a beautiful exchange between the visitor and the visited. Both take something special from the connection.
As travel returns to pre-COVID freedoms, it has never been more important for our guests. These unique moments open our guest’s hearts and minds. These real-life contrasts, connections and learning opportunities become an even more significant reminder of the wonders and diversity of the world, following such extended periods of being contained within the daily known.
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Why going local has never been more important
While we’ve always known how special our Be My Guest experiences are, they’ve become even more important to today’s travellers. That’s because these local travel experiences are all about supporting people and communities.
When you go local, you’ll ensure your travels directly support the people who need it most. You have a direct positive impact when you stay in locally-owned accommodation, buy from markets, and tour with local guides. You help preserve heritage sites, natural wonders, cultures, and wildlife, by giving locals the opportunity to showcase their cultural traditions, stories, crafts, and cuisines. Your local travels help to stimulate economic growth which leads to jobs and small businesses. It also encourages reinvestment into local infrastructure, schools, hospitals, museums, parks, roads, community areas, and more.
We travel to see the world, learn about other cultures, and connect with people. So it’s only right that we travel in a way that positively impacts the people and places we visit. And we do that by going local and supporting communities through our Be My Guest experiences.
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What is your favourite Be My Guest experience? Let us know in the comments below…