F&B: The New Way to Acquire Guests and Keep Them Coming Back for More

Editor’s Note: This is the first article in a four-part series about how hotel operators can leverage food and beverage to attract and retain guests. You can access the full white paper from which this content was derived here.

NATIONAL REPORT—Some CEOs claim Airbnb, the home-sharing juggernaut, hasn’t affected their bottom line. Others, like boutique-hotel godfather Ian Schrager, argue it’s the biggest threat to the hotel industry yet. Either way, with nights booked on Airbnb doubling since 2016, no one can deny the company has had a major impact on guests’ lodging and travel experience.

But, there’s a huge silver lining for hotel operators. Online hospitality marketplaces lack one thing that’s increasingly crucial to travelers, and is often the focal point of their travels: food & beverage. Airbnb’s own research shows that their guests spent $6.5 billion at restaurants across 44 cities from September 2016 to September 2017.

Over the past few years, F&B spend has experienced dramatic growth. The National Restaurant Association found that overall restaurant spending per capita has jumped by 25% since 2000 in the United States. Even more telling, in 2015 consumer spending on dining eclipsed spending on groceries for the very first time.

Much of this shift is driven by millennial consumers, who value experiences over material things, and their behavior and spending habits mirror those values.

“If you do a poll of what motivates people to travel to a particular place, the food is now the number one reason,” Chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain told Skift in 2016. People, he said, “are looking to have a more, for lack of a better word, real experience.”

This is where hotels can shine and stand out. F&B presents a clear opportunity for hotels to differentiate themselves in a world where travelers have more options than ever.

Compelling F&B outlets can create the social experiences today’s consumers crave. Hospitality operators who make it a strategic priority can open new revenue streams and enable more personalized service and marketing. Here’s how leaders in this area excel:

  • Attract locals with vibrant bar and/or dining scenes, which gives you the opportunity to build affinity for your brand and encourage them to think of you when traveling.
  • Make it easy for guests to book directly with you; keep additional brands and online reservation marketplaces from marketing to your guests about your own properties or squeezing in on your guests’ F&B dollars.
  • Collect and leverage F&B data — from personal preferences and allergies, to spend and visit history — to tailor service and interactions on future visits. The beauty of F&B is that your service team’s in-person interactions already present endless opportunities to learn more about your guests, and collect valuable data to keep improving their experience at your property.
  • Integrate F&B data platforms with your property management systems to create a more seamless service experience across rooms and F&B outlets. If your restaurant knows a patron has allergies, you can thoughtfully remove potentially harmful snacks from the minibar. If a hotel guest is a high value guest, welcome him or her as such in your restaurant or bar.
  • Turn that F&B data into marketing ammunition by creating custom packages based on past purchases.

With most hotels already having an operational framework in place to execute, F&B strategies can be a cost-effective way to elevate your guest experience and stand out from the competition. And, most importantly, it can give guests a reason to choose your brand, no matter where they are — home or on the road.

To learn more about how you can leverage your restaurants, pools, rooftops, and bars to win loyal customers, download SevenRooms’ F&B playbook, Harnessing the Power of F&B.

About SevenRooms

SevenRooms empowers hospitality operators to create and cultivate the meaningful, direct relationships with guests that make exceptional experiences possible everyday. The company’s reservation, seating and guest management solutions boost revenue and enable personalized service and marketing. SevenRooms has restaurant, hotel and nightlife clients in more than 100 cities worldwide, including: Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Jumeirah Group, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Standard Hotels, LDV Hospitality, Live Nation, Zuma, TAO Group, Bagatelle, Altamarea Group, NoHo Hospitality Group, Chase Hospitality Group, Mercer Street Hospitality, Corbin and King and The h.wood Group. For more information www.sevenrooms.com or email [email protected].