What is it that helps you to decide on a hotel? Their website, the location, the look of the rooms, the additional services they provide, the restaurant. It could be any of these factors, but which one can also draw in people who aren’t staying with you? Your restaurant. It is the element that you have that can attract multiple guests, for differing reasons. If it is good enough.
The hotel market is saturated and so every hotel needs a unique selling point that can help them stand out and create a motive for customers to book. Your restaurant can become that USP and provide customers with a reason to visit, and then possibly consider booking into the hotel at another time. To do this there must be local relevance and connection, allowing locals to feel comfortable there and for guests to feel a part of the location they are visiting.
Too often hotels are devoid of location or place, so re-igniting the hotel with the local spark that has encouraged people to stay is integral to their USP. The F&B offer, and hospitality, is a way of doing this for guests but also for temporary visitors. This link to local culture was the essence of our work with Center Hotels and proved pivotal in the design work for both the hotel and the F&B offers. Using this positioning on the website has resulted in a 77% uplift in direct bookings.
A localised positioning contributed to 77% uplifit in direct bookings.
Center Hotels, 2023
A hotel restaurant that has the power and impact to act as a stand alone offer will inevitably draw in customers and a revenue stream from those that are simply coming for a drink or a meal. These “temporary guests” are creating a draw for the hotel guests to use your restaurant, the buzz and atmosphere is always better when a space is bustling.
The Happy Hours at Center Hotels are a massive attraction for locals and therefore entices guests to join. Locals create an atmosphere on key nights of the week and so giving them what they want is as important as meeting the needs of guests. So much so, that the key piece of advice that Sara Kristofersdottir, Chief Commercial Officer of Center Hotels would pass on is to “ask your neighbours” – engaging with locals to find out what will resonate with them and becoming a destination for them in their neighbourhood.
The “25 Hour Bikini” hotel in Berlin provides a variety of spaces for guests and locals to hang out in, it is such a popular space that there are often queues to get in, locals flock there but guests are not made to feel unwelcome, in fact they have a direct access lift to the roof terrace making them feel valued and part of the hotels community. The restaurant or bar is providing the most immersive window display to your hotel, showcasing what the hotel has to offer and creating a reason to return.
If the restaurant is drawing customers in, then it becomes the obvious choice for those that are staying with you. Guests don’t want to have to leave to eat, the comfort of being able to eat on site and not have to worry about getting somewhere or getting back is reassuring for many. But the quality of the restaurant has to be good enough and be strong enough against the competitors to warrant guests staying.
The Nobu Hotels are excelling at this, creating hotels with their signature high quality restaurants on site, why would people leave if they have a compelling enough food offer right underneath their room. However, comfort is also vitally important, the restaurant needs to offer the “expected” menu options such as the well known and loved, club sandwich, alongside the more adventurous options that might entice the more exploratory guests and the locals.
Your chefs may feel like their professional integrity has been humiliated but these options are essential for success and they can experiment and innovate on the a la carte menu. This broad menu approach is necessary if you want to provide a restaurant offer that can succeed.
Having a wide menu offer can ensure that guests have reliable options they know and love as well as more adventurous choices.
Customer expectations are increasing when it comes to a seamless, connected and personalised experience.
Deloitte; “2023 Deloitte Hospitality Industry Outlook” 2023
It is not only the food and beverage offer that can encourage people into this space, but it is the additional elements that make people want to dwell here. Is there the ability to work in the restaurant, does it cater for all day parts and multiple types of users? Hotels are excellently positioned to have unrivalled F&B offers for consumers, not just for those staying within their hotels but to the locals and temporary visitors that are drawn in by the offer. Our work with Center Hotels created stand out restaurants that could accommodate both locals and tourists who were guests or temporary visitors. A through day offer that allows users to feel welcome at any time of day and to use the space whatever their needs, we successfully created a “place” within the space.
Watergate Bay Hotel attracts dine in customers to their “living space” on a daily basis, for a cuppa or a cocktail, a snack for 2 or a family friendly dinner for all. You never enter the space and feel out of place, it is welcoming all day long, for all people and it is this inclusivity and consistent high quality that is an endless attraction for their customers. They can make you feel like you are one of the local surfers or that you are on the most magical and wonderful escape from the big city – a local or a visitor, but it doesn’t matter, they always, without fail make you feel part of it.
It is their F&B offer that starts your relationship with them and ultimately can create a life long love for the place. It is hotels like these, with high quality food offers and large areas to create stand out experiences, that can set themselves apart.
In terms of revenue, an onsite restaurant that is busy and popular, can easily increase the revenue of the hotel. As mentioned before, it not only draws people from the restaurant into the hotel but it also encourages non-guests on to the site to eat at the restaurant. One of the most important elements for success, whether operating your own restaurant or partnering / outsourcing your F&B offer is collaboration. Collaboration between the hotel and the restaurant and between the restaurant operators and the chefs. This collaboration will lead to a harmonious partnership that can give locals and guests what they need and want. It can ensure that guaranteed bookings such as breakfast provide a strong revenue stream and that the restaurant is an enticing offer to guests and benefits the hotel by being so. If the restaurant can be stand out, and enhance the holistic experience of the hotel then it can increase the possible charge rate of the rooms, increasing potential revenue.
In fact, the restaurant can lead to an increase in the room rate by up to 30%.
Center Hotels, 2016
The key takeaways to bear in mind are that hotels don’t need to offer something extraordinary within their F&B offer but they need to offer something competitive and consistent. A full day part offer, that makes locals and guests feel welcome and comfortable. Quality is integral to the success, but as always that quality can be delivered simply. This is not about fuss and pomp, it is about inspiring spaces that people want to be part of.