Gone are the days when one would walk into a hotel and be welcomed with a royal spread of multiple Food and Beverage options. The guests had a lot to choose from …ranging from authentic Indian to exotic cuisines like Italian, Chinese, continental etc. Instead, what one finds at majority of hotels today is just limited to two-three options like an All Day dining, a Bar, one Specialty restaurant and of course, an optional in-room dining.
Guest preferences and financial factors are primarily the reasons to be blamed for the big change. A guest today might find it more comforting to work sitting in a coffee shop while having an internet access.
Recession has also tightened the budgets of corporate and business travelers, which has ultimately led to a rise of mid-segment, economy and budget hotels. With economy or budget hotels taking the center stage, lodging projects that are under construction or planning stage are venturing into what is understood today as “Select- Service” with limited amount Food & Beverage option.
From hotels perspective, Food & Beverage departments are viewed as an intensive operation that takes a lot of time to manage but have extremely low profit margins. This doesn’t eliminate the hotel that boasts about Michelin star restaurants, new menu trends like gastro pubs and tapas style offerings. It’s limited to hotels offering world class service; standalone fine dines restaurants or high end pubs. The target clientele for these segments are the “High paying Guests”.
Another trend that is slowly and gradually catching up in the hotel industry is partnering with well-known Food & Beverage brands. For example, Marriott, partners with Starbucks for many of their coffee shops at their hotels. Johnny Rockets opened a unit inside Flamingo Las Vegas Hotel & Casino. Beyond partnership, many hotels have also created grab-and-go meals. Aloft’s Re: fuel and Hampton Inns offers On-The-Run breakfast. They are easy meal option for guests on the move. The Grand Hyatt in New York recently launched Market- a 24 hour self-service grab and go area. It’s open to public and offers hot meals, salads, pastries that are packaged for take-out.
These are few of the trends that are driving sales in the hospitality industry by meeting guest’s needs for convenience, value, flexibility along with quality.
“The Guest isn’t always right”. But, if you don’t listen to them, your product won’t either.
-Bindu A. Menon
Senior Faculty, INLEAD
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