August FOCUS

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.

Library Archives


Last month's feature articles...

Edward Barrett

In the world of online food ordering, consumer behavior has shifted rapidly to migrate phone orders to orders via website or mobile app. As guests return, hotel operators should take the need for online ordering throughout their premises seriously and make plans now to evaluate the best venues and use-cases where digital food ordering can enhance and improve guest satisfaction. The change will be slow at first, but then accelerate as guests and business travelers return in larger quantities. Digital ordering itself is just the start of the food ordering experience that will change, and brands should begin testing these technologies now so they are prepared when guests return en-masse. READ MORE

Steven Haas

The hospitality industry has dramatically been impacted by current events and although designers have always been challenged, today's challenges are extreme and unknown. The entire industry is moving into a more germ-conscious design structure with less touching than before and exploring all types of touch-less technology. Who we were and who we will become is the true challenge, and the only option the restaurant and hotel industry have is to adapt and move forward by leveraging technology. As consumers become more mindful about their products and services, there is an increasingly bigger demand for foods that are more sustainable, healthier, organic, and even ethical causing a wellness-focused design to strongly emerge. READ MORE

Mia A. Mackman

As the hospitality industry continues to encounter pervasive uncertainty and global challenges, making constructive use of this critical period is essential. Despite a natural yearning to pursue confident planning, reopening and immediate recovery; many of these plans are heavily contingent upon new and evolving urgencies. In this article, Mia A. Mackman, principal and founder of Mackman|ES, Spa and Wellness Consulting and HVS Managing Director, provides a thought-provoking silver-lining analysis of what is currently happening and what is yet to evolve in today's health & wellness industry. This article also shares perspectives on new demand cycles, recovery expectations and emerging possibilities through 2024. READ MORE

Camille Hoheb

When in a crisis, where can hotel spas look for practical business strategies to survive and thrive? It's the same place mankind has looked for inspiration – Mother Nature. A relatively new field called biomimicry has emerged that looks towards nature's engineering to solve modern-day problems. The genius in biomimicry extends to learning how to adapt during a crisis. Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have approached work in terms of areas of specialization, independence, and siloed thinking rather than organically working together as a system. Biomimicry can give insights into a variety of topics relevant to hotel spas from cultivating resilience, creating cooperation with peers to pivoting quickly in changing markets. READ MORE

Herve Blondel

Hospitality expert and Rancho La Puerta's General Manager Herve Blondel shares his key takeaways in re-opening a destination spa in the wake of COVID-19. Most notably, he discusses the incredibly large focus on wellness (now more than ever) and the importance of providing guests with the ability to reset through customizable options and offerings. Additionally, Mr. Blondel speaks to the importance of integrating enhanced COVID-19 protocols and procedures into the guest experience - maintaining that it is imperative for guests to see the actionable steps in place to keep them safe and confident in their traveling experience, without disrupting their mindset of peace and relaxation. READ MORE

Jessica Kaiser

While our nation's lockdown is loosening, we still won't see a 100% return to business as usual for some time. So your content marketing strategy shouldn't act like it has. According to Jessica Kaiser, CEO of leading hotel marketing agency Hawthorn Creative, if you're a hotel or resort that has recently re-opened or is in preparation to do so in the near future, here are the ways to best use your content (blog posts, email campaigns, and social media) to not just encourage bookings but to ease your guests' concerns and get them excited about future travel to your destination. READ MORE

Lisa Starr

As we recover from the current pandemic and guests begin venturing out again, their personal wellness will be a focus as never before. Whether for social-distancing requirements, or just the sense of space that guests crave, spas and hotels with outdoor spaces, or the incorporation of natural elements in the indoor spaces, will be more popular than ever. Utilizing the healing elements of nature creates a win-win in the spa and wellness facility environment, and fosters strong connections between the property and the guest in the future. READ MORE

Robert Hood

From each and every negative comes the potential for a greater and more positive outcome, and we have to find it. Our world has changed as a result of COVID-19 and that should be no surprise to anyone. In an industry which has been decimated in a way that I never thought possible, we must look at ways of rescuing it from disaster. Reinvention has to be the solution, this can sometimes be a painful and bumpy journey, with chances to be taken, and while anything new holds its own element of risk, in the most uncertain of environments we have a unique opportunity to be able recreate ourselves. READ MORE

Anne McCall Wilson

While spas may not be a current hotel priority, a concern for customer well-being certainly must be. As reopening starts, will brands and properties have the capacity, talent or capability to adapt their spas? What changing expectations will guests have? What about addressing the fears and expectations of spa employees and therapists? And with all of the downsizing who will lead these spa changes? Will brands even have time to re-imagine spas and take advantage of a potential opportunity to meet the needs of an increasingly sophisticated and growing wellness customer? This article discusses seven important considerations for future spa success. READ MORE

Laszlo Puczko

How much standardization is too much? It appears that such treatments, guest journeys, rituals and programs have been really memorable in a hotel spa context that could incorporate the locality to their value propositions. However trivial this may sound this can be a difficult task to accomplish. Given the strict brand standards of operators and management companies spa manager and therapists may granted with limited flexibility. Still, spas can gain real competitive value from all of the signatures. But can they really achieve that? Does this mean the end of standardized designs and treatment menus? How much flexibility brands can permit? READ MORE

Daniel Poulin

Forecasting is a skill our industry excels at in the best of times. From trends to revenue models, the quest to predict as accurately as possible what factors will have the greatest impact on our successes has proven to be a challenge since the COVID-19 health, social and economic crisis hit our industry in the spring of 2020. However, the 4.5 trillion dollars wellness industry may just be one of the crystal balls able to provide directions on how we adapt our wellness facilities and rethink our programming to welcome what we anticipate to be a health and well-being wave of unprecedented proportion that our industry for the most part may not be ready to handle. READ MORE

Laura Krohn

At this moment where there is heightened awareness and a global focus on health risks and disease prevention due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the need to strategize and re-imagine business operations in hotel and resort outlets has presented a unique opportunity for those offering spa and wellness programming. Hotel and resort spas have typically catered to the popular massage, facial, scrubs, wraps, fitness, and more recently, mindfulness offerings. What has been mostly absent from this sector is an integration of community partnering with science-based public health organizations, institutions, and experts. READ MORE

Cecilia Hercik

The Hawaii Spa Association is a non - profit entity, formed by Spa Directors from upscale hospitality brands located throughout all the Hawaiian Islands. We have spent extensive time and collaboration in the past few months working on creating re-opening guidelines for spa and beauty facilities that will help protect our guests and staff and create safe places for wellness. We have focused to keep the wellness community connected while most colleagues are in furlough without access to their jobs. Through weekly video chats and interviews with experts in different fields, we share advice and best practices keeping in mind how to maintain the aloha spirit we are famous for in this new normal. READ MORE

Robert Baldassari

The idea of getting back to nature has been a rising trend in hospitality during the past few years. No-one better than Mother Nature deserves the spotlight after her supportive way of just being there for us during this global pandemic. Record-breaking numbers of people have looked to nature during the last 3 months for hiking, biking, walking and SANITY. But, mother nature offers so much more. This is the perfect time to learn how mother nature heals…and also to make a commitment to help heal mother nature. READ MORE

Michael Koethner

We have arrived. We are here, at the doorsteps of the next dimensions of life. This is a clear and precise message for soul-filled humans. Our lives depend on each individual and the whole. The quote contains the purpose of each us on this planet and as a universal citizen. A strong message was delivered many years ago, that is right now taking place within each of us. Even the denial of that process is no longer valid. The old, very much outdated and incompatible systems no longer work and are literally disintegrating right in front of our eyes. READ MORE

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Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.