Experiential Food & Beverage Spaces

By Katherine Kies Corporate Director Food & Drink Innovation Group, PM Hotel Group | August 26, 2018

Food & beverage operations are no longer just about the food you plate, the drinks you mix and the decor you deliver. Today's hotel guests are seeking interactive culinary experiences that make a lasting memory. At the PM Food + Drink Innovation group we're dedicated to creating authentic experiential food and beverage moments. This approach has been addressed in two ways: 1) Through built-in design features; 2) Through ongoing and creative event programming.

These custom culinary activations range from intimate sips & samples to high production rooftop cinema nights under the stars…, regardless of scope, they each deliver a touch of surprise and delight, an experiential moment to be savored and shared-- with friends both real and virtual.

Through Built In Design

The launch of so many new hotel brands over the past five years has resulted in consumer confusion while simultaneously creating opportunity for creative hoteliers. The deceleration of RevPar and the increase in foodie-focused travelers in the era of Instagram and Pinterest obsession has resulted in an environment where F&B is increasingly an important hotel differentiator. We've seen these evolving tastes and are responding by developing unique concepts and designs that holistically interpret what's local in an authentic way for the hotel guest, in a style that works for both the busy business traveler or the laid-back leisure explorer.

Our team is passionate about creating a unique activation feature that helps create a memorable experience for the guest. By thoughtfully including these activations during the design phase, it helps ensure that regardless of the back of the house operational challenges, the activation is always delivered effortlessly.

At NYC's SkyLawn Bar & Lounge at the Embassy Suites Midtown Manhattan we created a unique outdoor oasis. Newly opened in June 2018, this four thousand square foot outdoor lawn and lounge delivers a delightful departure from the bustling cityscape below. Offering views of the Empire State Building, oversized lawn games like Connect Four and corn hole, The SkyLawn provides an unexpected and unmatched Manhattan experience.

SkyLawn Bar & Lounge at the Embassy Suites Midtown Manhattan
At the Hilton Knoxville we transformed a tired smoking patio into The Firefly, a true Tennessee whiskey bar and beer garden.
At the Hampton and Suites Washington Navy Yard, the hotel's rooftop offers the ultimate unobstructed view of Nationals Park, home of the Washington Nationals
Remaining authentic to the style is important; staying true to the neighborhood is similarly a priority at the Canopy Portland I Pearl District
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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.