Trustly October 2023 Survey

Why Neighborly Borrowing Can Be a Brand Opportunity 

Borrowing from your neighbor can be more than just a casual exchange of items. It can also be a gateway to discovering and experiencing new brands.   

This practice not only fosters a sense of community but also presents an opportunity for individuals to explore a range of products that may not have crossed their paths otherwise. The act of borrowing from neighbors can be seen as a microcosm of a broader trend that benefits both consumers and brands. 

Hotel Indigo, part of IHG’s Luxury & Lifestyle lineup, is riding this wave in hopes of increasing foot traffic to its properties and increasing brand awareness for borrowed items. Residents in the same ZIP code can now “borrow” everyday essentials, turning their local area into a sharing hotspot.   

“When our hotels join a neighborhood, we become a part of the fabric of the community,” Carol Hoeller, vice president global brand management for Hotel Indigo, said in a statement. “We put it at the heart of everything, and we welcome the neighborhood and its people into our spaces — it’s how we create an authentically local experience for our guests. Everyone knows the adage of ‘borrowing a cup of sugar’ from your neighbor — with this program, we want to embody this idea of being a good neighbor and strengthen social connections with those inside and outside of our hotels.” 

Starting in mid-November and lasting until supplies run out, the hotel will invite everyone to borrow a variety of items highlighted in the brand’s survey as commonly borrowed. These items include everyday necessities such as sugar, olive oil, salt and pepper, as well as the comforting familiarity of coffee and tea.   

Reflecting a neighborly spirit, the Borrowed by Hotel Indigo initiative ensures that there’s no obligation to return borrowed items, emulating the ease of interactions with a true neighbor.  

Why Borrowing?

A survey conducted by Hotel Indigo indicates that interpersonal interactions among neighbors have dwindled, with 59% reporting they never ask to borrow from their neighbors. This decline in a once-common practice is attributed to factors such as shyness (29%), concerns about being an inconvenience (23%), or the absence of any meaningful relationship with neighbors (25%).  

However, research has demonstrated that even minor interactions, like the simple act of borrowing from a neighbor, can significantly contribute to the overall happiness of communities. Hotel Indigo recognizes the importance of fostering such connections, emphasizing that these seemingly small gestures play a role in creating more joyful and interconnected neighborhoods.  

What This Means for Brands

Firstly, borrowing allows people to test out products without committing to a purchase. It serves as a trial period, enabling them to assess the quality, functionality, and overall appeal of a particular item. This firsthand experience offers insights that go beyond what marketing materials or online reviews can provide. This way, consumers can make more informed decisions when considering future purchases.  

Moreover, borrowing from neighbors facilitates the organic spread of product awareness within a community. When someone borrows a unique or niche item, it has the potential to become a topic of conversation, leading to word-of-mouth marketing. This can be especially beneficial for smaller or local brands that may not have extensive advertising budgets. Exposure within a tight-knit community can create a domino effect, generating interest and curiosity among neighbors.  

For brands and retailers, encouraging a culture of borrowing can translate into increased brand visibility and customer acquisition. Brands can tap into a powerful form of grassroots marketing. Additionally, brands may choose to collaborate with local communities, or in this case, hotels, by providing exclusive access to certain products for borrowing. This can create a symbiotic relationship between brands and consumers, building loyalty and trust.  

Research has found that nearly 60% of travelers are open to being more adventurous in exploring new culinary experiences during their journeys. Bearing this in mind, Hotel Indigo aims to cater to guests seeking a flavorful memento from the area, as each hotel will provide a unique, locally sourced item, ranging from honey and hot sauce to grilling rubs and seafood seasoning. This initiative allows visitors to take a taste of the neighborhood back home.  

Will Consumers Travel?

Jacqueline White, president at i2c, shared in an interview with PYMNTS last month that there is a resurgence in travel in the aftermath of the pandemic and the worldwide reopening of economies.  

Considering this enthusiasm for travel, there is a potential for brands, particularly local ones in this case, to gain exposure as consumers venture out to experience the world.