Eat, Drink and Boost Your Revenues

By Scott Acton CEO & Founder, Forte Specialty Contractors | December 04, 2016

Co-authored by Kimberly Trueba, senior leadership team at Forté Specialty Contractors

In recent years, the hotel industry has seen a shift in revenue streams that it is eating up. While gaming revenue was once king in Las Vegas, it has now been overtaken by the food and beverage (F&B) segment. According to Moody’s Financial Services, in Las Vegas specifically, non-gaming revenue has now easily surpassed gambling revenue, making up between 55 percent to 65 percent of total revenues with hotel, with F&B spending representing the largest non-gaming income streams. Thanks to millennials, along with growing numbers of more discerning consumers, a shift in consumer desires has affected the way those in the hotel industry think, build and design. Consumers now demand and expect a fully immersive and experiential outing when they eat, drink and “make merry.”

Due to this shift, the strategies the hotel and hospitality industry are using to attract said consumers are getting increasingly creative. From an all-senses-engaging dinner in a luxe restaurant, to an interactive evening involving tableside meal prep and cooking, the hotel industry is taking advantage of the F&B revenues to be had. By offering meaningful and engaging F&B options, hotels are cashing in on repeat guests and attracting more new visitors than ever. In Las Vegas, there is a sense of competition between individual F&B venues within the same hotel, providing customers with various experiences that add perceived value to their stay and address diverse guest and visitor expectations.

The best way for hotels to differentiate these F&B venues is through creating immersive, experiential concepts which leave guests coming back for more. All of this appeal starts with the façade and design of the venue itself. As a result, hotels are directing more attention toward the aesthetics, design, materials and scale of the venues, so consumers not only want to be there, but keep coming back. The growing number of unique and well-constructed F&B venues offering tactile, multi-sensory experiences through design is attracting greater numbers of guests and the general public, which translates directly into improved hotel earnings.

The Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas is a good example of a larger-scale property that has been highly successful in demonstrating this approach. Aria contains approximately 4,004 hotel rooms; however, through the careful selection of design materials and thoughtful placement of various dining and entertainment options throughout the resort, Aria still manages to feel intimate and personalized. Also, the wide and diverse selection of F&B choices add perceived value to guests’ stay, since one could avail themselves of anything from a coffee shop lounge, to a global fusion buffet, on up to a luxurious, tableside service dinner. Because F&B is such a competitive field with different expectations for every target audience, hotels are creating a variety of these options, each with their own custom concepts. Regardless of the F&B options presented – fast food, coffee shops, family-style sit-down restaurants, fine dining, lounges, pubs/bars and nightclubs – the key is to implement a concept that can be perceived by all of guests’ senses throughout.

Take Bardot Brasserie for example. Bardot is a French fine-dining establishment with a modern twist, located in Aria. Built by Forté Specialty Contractors, Bardot is an excellent example of an all-senses-engaging, foodie experience. With lighting inspired by early film noir, Bardot’s mix of low lighting and dramatic shadows sets the mood for guests. Whether you are simply walking by, or walking into the restaurant, there is no doubt Bardot’s striking bar with polished brass shelving and up-lighting is attention-grabbing. With a wall that opens to the hotel’s main second floor walkway, the bar creates a sense of social engagement among the guests and visitors walking through Aria, helping to draw additional guests in. Throughout Bardot, the use of textures, tactile materials, visual aesthetics and ambient lighting draws guests and casual visitors alike. All of these sensory tactics, paired with the restaurant’s exceptional menu and specialty cocktails, makes Bardot a one-of-a-kind experience.

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Excellent customer service is vitally important in all businesses but it is especially important for hotels where customer service is the lifeblood of the business. Outstanding customer service is essential in creating new customers, retaining existing customers, and cultivating referrals for future customers. Employees who meet and exceed guest expectations are critical to a hotel's success, and it begins with the hiring process. It is imperative for HR personnel to screen for and hire people who inherently possess customer-friendly traits - empathy, warmth and conscientiousness - which allow them to serve guests naturally and authentically. Trait-based hiring means considering more than just a candidate's technical skills and background; it means looking for and selecting employees who naturally desire to take care of people, who derive satisfaction and pleasure from fulfilling guests' needs, and who don't consider customer service to be a chore. Without the presence of these specific traits and attributes, it is difficult for an employee to provide genuine hospitality. Once that kind of employee has been hired, it is necessary to empower them. Some forward-thinking hotels empower their employees to proactively fix customer problems without having to wait for management approval. This employee empowerment—the permission to be creative, and even having the authority to spend money on a customer's behalf - is a resourceful way to resolve guest problems quickly and efficiently. When management places their faith in an employee's good judgment, it inspires a sense of trust and provides a sense of higher purpose beyond a simple paycheck. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.