Creating Choice and Flexibility in Hotel F&B
By Shawn McGowan Senior Director Food & Beverage Brand Initiatives & Programs, Hilton Worldwide | August 2017
As providers of hospitality, we are constantly working to up-level our guests' experiences. To succeed at this, understanding the needs and demands of consumers is critical. I've learned that delivering a solid food and beverage platform is just as important as a hassle-free check-in or clean, modern rooms when it comes to creating guest loyalty. The foundation to successfully executing a food and beverage platform is understanding your guests and their needs, as well as your hotel and its capabilities.
Over the years, there has been a systemic shift in guests' expectations of hotel food and beverage offerings. If you walk into most hotel bars and dining areas today, you may - or may not - be surprised to find hip locals, sophisticated guests and trendsetting staff mingling and socializing over artisanal drinks, selecting a sandwich from the in-hotel gourmet market or enjoying regional cuisine made with locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients. Of course there are also guests who want a quick burger and a beer delivered to their room before collapsing into bed. By understanding these diverse needs, we are able to design our properties and develop our food offerings in a way that gives guests choice and control over where they eat, when they eat and what they eat while they're at the hotel.
At Hilton, our vision is to consistently deliver exceptional experiences to every guest at every hotel. Factors like accessible fresh foods, regional fare by local chefs and bar-centric atmospheres are just as critical as a hot breakfast, a knowledgeable bartender and a lounge to sip coffee and tea. Hilton recently launched an industry-first food and beverage portfolio tool to help developers, owners and operators design and execute quality restaurant concepts that intersect with unique guest needs and property capabilities.
Here are some of the key lessons we learned:
Focus on the Bar
Consider your guests. Some are socially alone; while they are traveling independently, many want to feel like they're part of a community when they leave their room or meeting. This could mean a welcoming environment to sit with a laptop while being surrounded by the buzz of people or having the opportunity to interact with other guests at a communal table. You also have groups that want a space where they can create fun moments and memories with colleagues, friends or family. The impact of global influences like shareable Asian, Spanish, Portuguese and comfort food has led to a proliferation of family-style options like flatbreads, charcuterie boards, sliders or healthier items like Shishito Peppers that work for those in groups or dining solo. Hoteliers need to create a dining environment that is flexible enough to satisfy different types of travelers.