Hotels are betting big on restaurants
Thursday, April 06, 2017
Joie de Vivre, a boutique hotel chain, was recently in the news for launching its showcase restaurant Petit Lion at The Troubadour in New Orleans. They focused on combining the French bistro with a distinct Southern charm that will offer guests a unique experience. Having a restaurant on the premises is nothing new, but what makes Petit Lion stand out is their core function for the brand.
Be prepared to see the phrase "hotel restaurant" in your future searches for travel, stay and food. More hotels are betting big on their restaurants to pull in business and fill the deficit in revenue.
While it is mostly the smaller, boutique brands that are looking at restaurants as to set them apart from the pack, the larger chains have been quick on the uptake. With increasing "locavore" demands in the hospitality industry, hotel restaurants can now offer unique and exciting fare that will highlight local produce and flavors.
Restaurants will no longer be filling a functional role for turnkey food service obligations; they will be the focal point of new business. They will be offering new and exciting cuisines and be the center of attraction with talented chefs creating magic for guests, or at least that's the plan.
The trend seems to be particularly high in New Orleans but is fast spreading to other parts of the country.
Competition in the hospitality industry is at an all-time high, and hotels must look at existing secondary income streams to survive. As a recent article by Matthew Stubbs, CEO of hotel tech company BookingTek, shows, hospitality brands are going to explore newer revenue options rather than just bookings for a stay.
This may have been an endeavor for the future in any case, but recent political events have increased the urgency. Reports show that the travel ban has hit the U.S. travel and tourism industry hard, especially regarding international travel, which is set to fall by 6.8 percent this year. Hotels now must look inward to meet their projected goals, and applying the hotel-restaurant formula to lure in a domestic footfall might just work.
Another great example of this trend is Stoke, the lobby restaurant in the renovated Marriott Hotel in Charlotte, North Carolina. Designed with local patrons in mind, the gorgeous lobby restaurant offers diners a sleek and suave atmosphere to enjoy the best of cuisine and relaxation. Innovative design makes it the kind of trendy place locals would like to be seen in, adding to its appeal.
The trend is catching on, and as New York Times Food Critic Pete Wells points out, chefs are taking notice. They are finding the hotel restaurants concept the right medium to deliver unique and authentic experiences.
Hospitality managers are thus shifting their focus to MICE (meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions) to supplement their income. Most feel these revenue sources have immense potential and have not been adequately explored. Since these are not wholly dependent on tourism, they can be a great support for hotels in these trying times of lessening international footfalls.
Local businesses are the most frequent users of these meeting rooms, while local diners are the most frequent patrons of the up-and-coming hotel restaurants. An increasing focus is, therefore, being made to promote these facilities, almost as much as the hotel rooms themselves.
Along with improving infrastructure, the marketing and promotional campaigns need to be improved as well. Intermediary websites, a major source of revenue for hotels in the digital age, solely focus on room bookings.
To boost their secondary revenue source, hotels must start providing direct booking channels for restaurants and meeting rooms, just like they do for bedrooms. Along with easier user interface and reachability of these services, it will also help reduce cover charges and booking fees, thus augmenting income.
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