When travelers book hotels these days, they’re looking for more than a comfortable bed, complimentary Wi-Fi and an unlimited selection of premium TV channels. Increasingly, food and beverage options are becoming a deciding factor, and hotels are competing to deliver more exciting restaurant and bar experiences. Findings from two recent hospitality studies reveal trends that restaurateurs might profit from.
“The Modern Hospitality Study,” conducted by Culinary Visions, surveyed 2,000 Americans ages 18-55 on their hotel preferences.
Local flavor: 75% of travelers want a hotel restaurant that serves dishes unique to the area, and 77% want local restaurants inside their hotel. Dishes prepared with local ingredients also rank high with 58% of respondents.
On-the-go eating: Portable foods have broad appeal, with 62% of travelers interested in purchasing grab-and-go meals from a hotel marketplace and 64% of consumers attracted to a hotel marketplace as a more convenient choice than a restaurant or cafe.
“Checking In for F&B: Report for the Hotel Industry 2019” from SevenRooms delves further into food and beverage tastes through a poll of 1,254 adults over the age of 18.
More choices and longer hours: Thirty-five percent of travelers are looking for multiple dining options when they choose a hotel, while 27% want restaurants and bars that are open late. Expanding room service hours to 24/7 is a priority for 31% of respondents.
Freebies: A complimentary breakfast would motivate 65% of Americans to choose one hotel over another, while 51% would be more apt to book a hotel that offers a complimentary drink or meal upon arrival.
Dietary preferences: Like restaurant customers, hotel guests come with a host of dietaryand allergy demands. More than one-third (34%) want hotels to offer a variety of food options to meet all requirements, while 19% want the hotel to ask for dietary preferences or allergy restrictions prior to their stay.
A curated experience: Travelers are looking for food and beverage experiences that reflect a city’s roots and culture; 26% think hotels should engage more with locals through their bars and restaurants, and 24% put a high value on unique and diverse food and beverage options and would consider repeat bookings with brands that do that.
Service counts: Seventeen percent of respondents expect hotel restaurants and bars to have a higher level of service than other eating and drinking establishments in the area.
Hotels are doubling down on big-time restaurant offerings, hoping to entice local diners as well as convention-goers with name-brand chefs and eye-catching designs. Chefs, meanwhile, appear eager to partner with hotels to shoulder some of the financial risk of opening a new operation.
We’ve already told you about Wylie Dufresne’s foray into luxe doughnuts at Brooklyn’s William Vale Hotel. And we’ve already alerted you to keep Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s soon-to-open spot at the Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills on the radar, along with Michael Mina’s Bourbon Steak that’s headed to the new JW Marriott Nashville hotel.
Fast casual may be where it’s at, but there are plenty of all-day, full-service developments at these hotel-housed concepts worth watching.
This brightly decorated Latin American restaurant, from John Kunkel’s 50 Eggs team, brought in celebrity chef Lorena Garcia to head up the food. Garcia has appeared on “Top Chef Masters” and (though it’s not noted in her official bio for the new operation) served as a consulting chef for Taco Bell. The menu features home-style dishes from Venezuela, Peru, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. The cocktail menu spotlights mezcal, rum and tequila. The restaurant, which serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, opened last weekend.
Opening a rooftop concept (complete with a wading pool for hotel guests) in notoriously chilly Chicago can be a risky bet. But it’s one this just-opened cocktail-small bites restaurant is taking. The menu focuses on Latin American small plates, like an octopus tostada with celery root puree. The restaurant serves Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams, as well as tropical drinks like mezcal margaritas, palomas and caiprinhas. There’s also a wood-burning fireplace for cold days.
Hong Kong-based hospitality company Lai Sun Dining, operator of several Michelin-starred restaurants, makes its U.S. debut with this new spot at the MGM Grand. China Tang replaces the former Pearl restaurant, which closed in 2014. The restaurant, which does not have an opening date, will serve provincial dishes from Sichuan, Shanghai and Beijing, according to Eater.
The Eat Good Food Group adds to its portfolio with this seafood-focused spot. The restaurant, scheduled to open at the end of May, plans to host clambakes, crab boils, fish fries and oyster roasts, Eater reports. The bar program will include “sparkling slushies” made with effervescent wines and fruit infusions. The spot features an open-air patio that will have fire pits and blankets in cooler months.
This restaurant (previously Zimzala) in the newly renovated Shorebreak Hotel features ocean views and decor accents from Mexico, Indonesia and Japan, as well as a large mural of the artist Frida Kahlo. The menu highlights shareable options from Southern California, with Latin and Asian influences. The breakfast menu, for example, includes Rio Bowls with acai sorbet, housemade granola, blueberries and banana.