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Good
Neighbours

EXPERIENCE, CULTURE & COMMUNITY

As part of our Culture Vulture Series, we explore the nuances of hospitality across cultures and the opportunity to celebrate

design, like-minds, culture and conscious creators from some of our favourite places around the world.

So we ask how can the Aussie way of life inspire a new way of thinking about hospitality?

True, Melbourne and Sydney have started to catch up with the likes of London and New York when it comes to soulful, thoughtful places to stay. But we think there’s still a big opportunity for Australian hospitality to become part of the fabric of life, weaving in hallmarks and service rituals that better reflect the sense of freedom and individuality that come naturally to us as a nation. 

 

In other sectors, brands such as Who Gives a Crap, OzHarvest and Heaps Normal have found ways to bring the Australian spirit to life throughout their products and attitude – so what’s stopping others doing the same? (For more on what we can learn from other Aussie brands, read our journal piece on who we think is raising the bar.) 

The reality of this approach need not be complicated for the hospitality industry – if anything, it’s about stripping out complexity and taking things back to a more meaningful position. It could be as simple as an easy (and intuitive) check-in process. Personalised spaces that feel enriching and welcoming – places that aren’t just for tourists, but which are open to everyone. Or even collaborations with local artists, makers and artisans that bring that sense of community, place and mateship to life in more physical ways. 

Aussie hospitality also has huge potential to draw on our natural connection between inside and out. How can we make it easier for travellers to explore our vast and wondrous country, beyond the four walls of their hotel room? What can we do to imbue a sense of adventure, even if it’s just lending people a paddleboard for an afternoon? And how can we give each and every moment of the guest experience that sunny, lucky feeling that we take for granted? 

Becoming part of the fabric, authentically, is what we help our partners do – wherever they are in the world – so we’re keen to explore how this can work more intuitively in our own country too. We believe it’s about being sympathetic to, not mimicking, culture. Understanding how you can add value to lifestyles and communities. And building experiences that feel truly grounded in place. 

Get it right, and you’ll have a brand that’s not just a neighbour, but a friend. For tourists, for locals, for everyone who wants to walk through that open door. 

Growing up in the UK, there was one version of life in Australia that dominated. A neat, suburban cul-de-sac where it was always sunny. Where the people who lived next door were like family. And where boundaries between one house and the next were blurred, with front doors always open to everyone and anyone. 

Of course, having now lived in Australia for close to five years, James has realised that not everything you see on TV is true. But there are certain elements of that easy-going, laid-back lifestyle that are accurate, and which form at least a small part of what living Down Under is all about. It’s hardly surprising that Australia is known as the Lucky Country. With an abundance of natural beauty, good weather, lots of space and a high quality of life, there’s plenty to feel lucky about. And it’s perhaps because of all these things that life here feels more relaxed than in other places – from the casual dress code to outdoor eating and a deep-rooted passion for sport, in all its forms. 

Friendship, or mateship as it’s more commonly known, is almost a national trait. People really do drop by unannounced and are always willing to help each other out. Shared tables, beach barbies and pool-side picnics are a big part of socialising. And a respectful connection with nature – central to Aboriginal culture for over 50,000 years – runs through every element of society, even for urbanites. 

But as with everything we do at Abound, we’re fascinated by the ways these almost innate ways of living translate into other parts of society – or, in this case, where they might get lost along the way. In particular, we’ve long felt that some of the things that make Aussie life so special are almost impossible to find in the world of hospitality and travel, especially outside our cities. 

Where are the laid-back Australian vibes when you arrive at a hotel and have to fill out a lengthy form at the check-in desk? What are we saying to visitors when our short-stay apartments feel cold, blank and generic? And is it right that hotels and their amenities remain inaccessible to locals? 

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