Increasing Hotel Beverage Revenues Through Charitable Events
By Armando Cabral General Manager, Ty Lounge, The Biltmore Santa Barbara | August 2018
Cocktails – a staple of social gatherings for decades, recognized as an indulgence for self-gratification and celebration. Perhaps taken for granted at times, beverage artistry and craftsmanship has reemerged, making these libations even more of a sought-out experience for those who partake. Magazines and television shows (not to mention social media accounts) have glorified the people and places who create these concoctions, cocktail bars are seriously en vogue and bartenders and brewmasters are the new rock stars.
Customers unapologetically make reservations, and even wait in line for hand-crafted cocktails and specialty beers now (something previously unheard of for higher-priced beverages.) Recently though, an interesting new twist has taken foot, where partygoers have become philanthropists (whether knowingly or not), and worthy causes are now becoming beneficiaries of Negroni, Mint Juleps and craft beer sales.
Across America, various hotels, bars, restaurants, distilleries and breweries have chosen organizations to align with, creating surprising growth of this charitable trend. Whether for awareness, action and/or financial gain, the growth of this movement are indisputable. More than ever, the general public is likely to see and participate in "passive philanthropy", sought out or stumbled up on, adding up to important progress for a plethora of social, medical and even political organizations.
Even more powerful is the potential moving forward, with alcohol accounting for 16.5% of all beverage volume in the United States, besting milk and ranking just under coffee – and the markup is substantial. Alcohol's annual sales top $223 billion (slightly more than the operating revenue of all U.S. airlines combined.) Shake, stir and sip on that number for a minute, while considering what even a tiny fraction of that could add up to, not to mention the attention and exposure drawn to these causes.
The psychology of why this is good business and makes sense is quite simple. Guests go out (or stay in) and drink wine, beer and liquor as a means of celebrating and/or complementing a social occasion (be it a plate of fish and chips on a Tuesday, a dinner party at home, a ball game or a New Year's Eve party for the ages.) Regardless of the reason, they're doing something special – and entirely for themselves. By choosing to patronize an establishment where their celebration can benefit a cause other than their own, is an easy way to "give" and can offset the guilt of an indulgent outing.
Establishments and brands fulfill philanthropic efforts in creating these programs to benefit select causes, and potentially attract a new base of customers interested in like causes. The philanthropic organizations benefit from the exposure and monies raised. Combined, this is a true win-win-win for all parties.