7 Ways Hotels Are Boosting F&B Revenues via Smartphone

By Paul Hancock Executive Chef, Miramonte Resort and Spa | October 28, 2018

A restaurant having a website is a must, but a mobile friendly website is what sets certain hotels' food and beverage operations apart from the rest. Most people look for somewhere to eat on the go, meaning googling places on their smartphone. If a restaurant's website should be mobile friendly.  The customer should be able to browse their online menu with ease, and it might mean ruling said restaurant out altogether, no matter how good the food may be.

With that being said, not only should the website be mobile friendly, it is vital for a food and beverage operation to display current information on their website. Websites are used to entice guests, "whet their appetite", but if the information is dated, guests are bound to be disappointed, ensuring a non-repeat customer. Hotels that keep their mobile friendly websites up to date with menus, short videos of cooking demonstrations or even mixologists shaking it up are sure to have increased customer attraction, equating to an increase in revenue.

Now, having a mobile friendly website is a good start, but no food and beverage operation is successful without a social media presence.  It is paramount. In today's technology driven world, what is the first thing most people do when they see a mouthwatering dish? Take out their phone, snap a pic and post it. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter. Anywhere people can brag about their food porn, they will, no matter how "hangry" they are.

F & B operations can capitalize on this free advertising by creating social media accounts on all platforms, allowing people to tag the operation in the post. Boom, now that person's followers are potential customers. Developing a loyal following can even spread over the continents as tech savvy traveler's use their smartphones to look at social media pictures first before written content. An overwhelmingly high percentage of all diners use their smartphones to decide on what restaurant to go to. By posting on social media daily, hotel food and beverage operations are making the most of their restaurants' customer outreach.

Photos and videos are key ways people make their dining choices.  Food and beverage leaders in hotels are making their presence be known on Facebook and Instagram especially with notable impact. They are garnering the occasional or traveling diner and also grabbing the frequent diner on a higher scale by being able to reach them through social media channels anytime of the day through smartphones.  From morning coffee breaks, lunch breaks, or simply just being bored, more and more people are glued to the smartphone for that next new food photo or quick video of their favorite mixologist shaking it up. 

The portals offer a realm of possibilities and help shape their decisions where people can share personal, and meaningful memories with colleagues, family and friends any time of day.  There is also a broader reach with smartphones and social media sites with the use of hashtags.  Anyone can look up the pertinent hashtag and see photos from all over the world and allows them to speak or voice to different communities on different platform outside of your neighborhood.  These photos and videos help curate and inspire a sense of exploration more than ever before.  This is not your old scratch and sniff.  The content must be current and compelling to tell a story with a photo.  Disneyland has their own mobile app and get every bit of social currency out of it with their content that inspires a connection to the guests that visit. 

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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. 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.