Features

Extending your food and beverage offering

Once seen as a convenient option, rather than a desired experience, hotel restaurants and bars have evolved to become destinations in their own right – attracting both staying guests and locals. Click. explores

According to research from Technomic, consumer spending in the hotel Food and Beverage (F&B) space increased 4.9% in 2017, totalling US$48.7bn – a figure the report predicts will continue to rise. Innovative offerings are driving the uplift as hoteliers turn to non-traditional F&B programmes to set themselves apart in an increasingly competitive landscape. Social media also plays a key role in determining offerings, with travellers now searching for ‘Instagrammable’ and experiential opportunities in every aspect of their holiday.

Creating a destination

Hoteliers are increasingly focusing on locals, with non-guests boosting revenue during low occupancy and helping create an authentic atmosphere. “Our boutique hotels are not only for staying guests, we also want the locals to use our lobby bars and have even created a concept called ‘Hey Neighbour’, where we give all our neighbours exclusive offers and experiences at our bars and restaurants,” says Christian Lond, Director of Procurement at Brøchner Hotels. “We have experienced that a great synergy occurs when both locals and hotel guests are using our bars and come to our events. Hotel guests get a local experience and locals get an international atmosphere that is often requested and is exactly what our boutique hotels can provide.”

Eco-friendly food is now one of the hottest trends. We are becoming increasingly conscious of our impact on the environment

Although a property’s dining area is the star attraction for those passing by, it’s imperative to strike the right balance between catering for both residents and non-guests. “F&B is the part of the hotel which is most accessible for both hotel guests, but also locals,” says Joost van der Minne, Director of Operations at Pulitzer Amsterdam. “It gives locals a sneak peek into the whole building and the F&B experience should reflect the core and style of the property. For hotel guests it should also be a memorable experience, adding to their overall stay.”

Memorable experiences are key

As experiential travel continues to drive consumer choices, properties are investing in culinary experiences that highlight their destination’s authentic culture. Four Seasons Resort The Nam Hai, Hoi An, Vietnam, offers guests a cooking academy experience that immerses them in local life. “Many of our guests have travelled the world, and what they really crave is an authentic connection to the destination,” says Chef Hien, Head Chef of The Nam Hai Cooking Academy. “We place Vietnamese cuisines at the forefront – creating a week-long epicurean immersion that represents food from the entire country. Central Vietnam is the cultural heartland and, by providing localised culinary excursions, it enriches our guests’ travel journey.”

Brøchner Hotels focused on its beverage offerings to curate a memorable stay, creating and serving its own alcoholic products. “When it comes to F&B, if you have a story to tell, it will always taste good,” says Lond. “It will also create a memorable experience for guests. Every time we have a tasting event at one of our hotels, it’s always possible for the guest to buy the products they’ve tasted. That’s important because then guests can bring a memory home from the hotel, and when they pour a glass it will remind them of their stay.”

Crafting such experiences can also spark guest loyalty, according to Mutlu Kucuk, General Manager of Nobu Hotel Miami Beach, who noticed an increase in recurring guests after the introduction of its beverage butler. “We believe F&B is where guest experiences are created and enhanced,” says Kucuk. “It’s an investment in the guest’s emotions, it’s about how we make them feel when they stay here with us. We see it in the guest loyalty and re-booking rates. We have also seen the positive reviews spread out across all travel review sites. Food and beverage is what the guests will remember when reminiscing about their trip. They will look back fondly on the experiences that were unique and customised just for them.”

Changing consumer preferences

Shifting lifestyle trends also play a role in determining menu changes, with hoteliers increasingly providing options that cater to various preferences. “Serving organic food is very important for us. It’s also crucial to cater to vegetarians and vegans because these menu options are increasingly important to travellers now. Another trend I’m noticing is what we call ‘no/low’ – which means beers, wine and other beverages with no, or a low amount of alcohol. We even have an entire no/low bar menu at all of our boutique hotels”

The same rings true for Four Season’s Hein: “Eco-friendly food is now one of the hottest trends. We are becoming increasingly conscious of our impact on the environment, and our roles and responsibilities for a better future for all. We know that eating ‘healthy’ is important to our guests, and we are offering more nutrient-dense foods that are sourced from either local or sustainable purveyors and suppliers.”

When it comes to navigating the evolving industry, Hein says having a clear and strong concept is crucial. “You may have the best team with the best intentions and adjust the business model to please every patron, but without a solid concept and a driving vision, it’s quite easy to get lost in the shuffle of the hospitality industry.”

Added something new to your menu? Change your property’s dining options on the Extranet

Hero image: credit to Eaters Collective, Unsplash


You might also want to read:


 

Takeaway
  • Consumer spending in the hotel food and beverage space increased 4.9% in 2017, totalling US$48.7bn
  • As food and beverage culture evolves, hoteliers are turning to innovative solutions to set themselves apart
  • Hoteliers are increasingly focusing on locals, with non-guests boosting revenue during low occupancy and helping create an authentic atmosphere
  • As experimental travel continues to drive consumer choices, properties are investing in culinary experiences that highlight their destination’s authentic culture

Subscribe to the weekly Click. Magazine newsletter

Stay informed with the latest travel insights, analysis and expertise