Four Points by Sheraton and Best Brews: Using F&B to Drive the Guest Experience
By Jeremy Cooper Director Global Guest Initiatives / Food & Beverage, Starwood Hotel & Resorts | August 25, 2013
In Best Brews℠, Four Points by Sheraton has developed a rarity in the select service hotel segment -- a food and beverage program that drives customer loyalty and business for the brand. The concept is straightforward: creating a beer experience around one local craft brew at each of Four Points' North American locations, providing guests with a simple pleasure that suits the professional male demographic of Starwood Hotels & Resorts' "best for business" brand.
Best Brews started as a program to introduce distinctive local beers to Four Points guests. Typically male, between 30 and 55 years old, with an average household income of $150,000, our demographic is a prime market for the craft brew experience. Four Points initially provided hotel owners and franchisees with a list of brands from which they were to choose their selection of brews. What distinguished Best Brews in those early days was the installation of a chief beer officer, a position unique to Four Points, who provided central ownership and a strong public relations story with which to launch the program. But as Starwood continued to refine Four Points' best-for-business positioning, so too we honed the Best Brews program, sharpening its focus to one local craft beer at each location, and handing over the choice of brew from Four Points corporate to our general managers.
The result is a program that's simpler and more feasible from an operational standpoint. Owners and franchisees gain the flexibility to determine their own pricing. General Managers are empowered to work with the local brewer of their choice. Greater ease of structure has brought about greater compliance at the hotel level. And that, in turn, means guests can experience Best Brews in more Four Points destinations.
An Authentic Sense of Place in Short Order
Best Brews is an experience that can be enjoyed even under the time constraints of the typical Four Points traveler, who might have 20 hours in a destination, 10 of which are reserved for meetings. Of the remaining 10 hours, eight are spent sleeping at the hotel. Best Brews enables that guest to take his or her two spare hours and sample authentic local flavor in the hotel bar, whether it's Boulevard Wheat in Kansas City, a Brooklyn Lager in New York City, or a Florida Lager in Cocoa Beach. Usually a classic American lager, the hotel's featured pour is chosen for its unique flavor, popularity and quality ingredients, and is supported by a selection of imports and North American brews, both bottled and on tap.
Seasonal specials put even more local brews in the spotlight and provide new experiences for return guests from one visit to the next. Last summer's Summer Ales program, for example, introduced Four Points Miami travelers to Monk in a Trunk from nearby Jupiter's Inlet Brewing Company, while guests in Tempe, Arizona, enjoyed Monjo Azul Craft Beer made at Sleepy Dog Brewery, and in Portland, Oregon, Drop Top Amber Ale from Widmer Brothers Brewing.
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