Using F&B to Establish a Unique Character for Your Hotel

By Ray Chung Director of Design, The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry | November 25, 2018

A hotel's restaurants and bars offer one of the best opportunities for the hotel to express its unique character. Food and beverage (F&B) is nothing less than hospitality in motion, on display and interactive in a way that everyone can see. It only makes sense to use F&B to help differentiate hotel properties, now more than ever.

F&B is unique in that guests spend their time in these spaces mostly sitting still and enjoying themselves. Most, if not all, hotel guests will visit the on-site restaurants and bars during their stay, and what's more, they will stay for an hour or more, sometimes multiple times a day. The quality of the food, service and environment plays an enormous role in the level of satisfaction and creates lasting memories, good or bad.

Furthermore, with food tourism on the rise, a hotel's F&B venues can become destinations in themselves. Nationally and internationally recognized chefs, renowned local foods, beers and wines, or even the spaces themselves-for example, a hip, exclusive rooftop bar-can be reason enough for guests to make a trip.

Many hoteliers are reporting upwards of 40% of revenue from F&B. With proper planning, F&B can increase bottom-line returns as well. Together with the draw power and potential improved guest satisfaction, it is clear now is the time to invest in food and drink offerings.

A well-conceived, attractive F&B program can also increase both bookings and profitability of group sales. Event coordinators list F&B as one of the top three most important factors in selecting a venue. Attendees are drawn to events and group activities that are based on local foods and chef-driven experiences.

Of course, simply operating a restaurant or bar is not enough. Neighborhood competition in secondary and even tertiary markets has intensified, and hoteliers need to respond like restaurateurs. More and more travelers check with online review sites before choosing a place, and with so many choices available, a hotel restaurant or bar needs to shine. It needs to compete with the best in the local market and offer a superlative experience, in food quality, service, setting-preferably all three.

A stunning collection of early 20th-century paintings adorns the Atlas restaurant at St. Regis Atlanta
A separate entrance to the restaurant is key to creating a new experience for guests. Kimpton Tryon Park, Charlotte, NC.
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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.