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8 Innovative Ways to boost your hotel food and beverage revenue

Thanks to promising margins and compelling new strategies, there's a significant opportunity to grow revenue with hotel food and beverage. We've quizzed our very own Kate Webb, National Key Account Manager at Lavazza, on the latest trends and innovative strategies she’s seen improve her hotel clients’ food and beverage revenue. Plus we’ve collected innovative examples from premium establishments around the globe to inspire you. 

1. Go premium

“High yielding consumers want bespoke, personalised offerings due to the exclusivity they require.” says Ralph Hollister, Travel & Tourism Associate Analyst with Global Data who recently conducted research into premiumisation in tourism and travel.

“Premiumisation across many food and beverage categories is something that has been happening for a number of years now and coffee is no stranger to this” Kate advises. “Across all beverages, customers are prepared to pay more for what they want.” 

To maximise premium opportunities in coffee, with people willing to pay that little bit more for a premium experience, try offering both standard and premium beverage options, so your guests can purchase something a little more special when they want it.

2. Increase spend per visit

It's not just about providing a premium product; it's also about providing more options for guests to increase your share of their spend. From what's stocked in the mini-bar, to a delicious room service menu. From a treat at the bar or restaurant to an aperitivo in the lobby cafe - Kate suggests always asking  "What are the little extras that make their stay special, to keep them spending more time and money in our venue?" 

We’ve done a little anecdotal research on what people are saying ‘yes’ to. Here’s what they’re willing to spend a little more on:

  • A delicious breakfast and late check out
  • A last minute room upgrade for a great view or luxurious bathtub
  • In room extras like chocolate covered strawberries and a bottle of sparkling wine on arrival
  • Special occasion packages - banquets, in-room fruit platters, drink packages at the hotel bar
  • Barista made coffee paired with delivered-to-your-door breakfast and a newspaper
  • Spa packages
  • Pool cabana hire and poolside cocktail

3. Invest in tech and digital automation

The right technology can ensure your food and beverage operation is smooth sailing, boosting profits and making your work life easier. Whether it's an event management platform that handles special meal requirements and promotes upselling opportunities or an online order platform that is an easy conduit to all of your suppliers - the tech is out there; you just need to find the right fit for your business.

Not only can technology improve efficiency, but it can also have a direct impact on customer experience - attracting and impressing guests. 

Contactless experiences made possible through technology aren’t going anywhere either. It’s not all about clear screens and distancing at the hotel restaurant, digital contactless solutions are smart solutions that enhance the guest experience (and your bottom line). 

Contactless is here to stay, but it will be experienced differently: not just as a contactless social distancing tool, it will also act as an enhancement of the hotel experience as a whole, according to  Vanessa Borkmann, a researcher at the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering in Germany at a recent hotel innovation virtual conference. 

A recent report from Skift (travel industry news provider) says, “contactless tech [will] not only reduce friction for guests and meet customers on devices and channels where they spend most of their time but also create new, unlikely ways to communicate with and serve their guests during the Covid-19 era and beyond.”

4. Accommodate dietary requirements

If you're not accommodating dietary requirements in your F&B operation yet, consider this your nudge. More Australians than ever are going vegan, vegetarian, flexitarian or gluten-free. Ever growing, this food trend is here to stay.  

"I'm gluten-free, and pretty tired at the end of a business day when I check into a hotel. If my only in-room choices are a club sandwich or Caesar salad and I’m after something fast and healthy, then I’m very unlikely to dine in at the hotel and will look for another hotel that can cater to my dietary requirements next time in the area," Kate says. "There's a big opportunity here to cater for broader tastes and secure more revenue as well as repeat business for your hotel." 

5. Think about meals differently

Planning conference events in your hotel space? Consider ditching the set menu for snack stations and serve refreshments continually instead. There are many advantages to serving snacks, Kate suggests, "you don't have to worry about table service. It provides people with more choices, amping up individualisation." Aside from added flexibility, refreshment stations also provide you with an exciting opportunity to upsell - again, be mindful of dietary requirements. Looking for some interesting catering inspo? From pretzel stations, to charcoal lemonade, to shaved ice the only limit is your imagination.

Snacks aren’t just a good idea for conferences, offering varied and exciting snacking opportunities for your guests throughout their day can boost your profits. Think about bite-size eats at aperitivo hour, afternoon tea complete with scones, jam and cream, and premium in-room snacks including local gourmet options instead of the standard chocolate and pringles regalia. 

It’s not just about snacks, think about offering a delivery service. Over the last 18 months Andy Hodgson, Operations Coordinator at RACV Leisure, has had many resort kitchens working under-capacity. He’s taken advantage of this by, “using that space and resource to develop meals and then package them and send them out for delivery”. Even better, RACV Leisure struck up partnerships with charities to use these same resources to create and deliver meals for the underprivileged.

6. Create an authentic experience your guests are looking for

 "Everyone's after locally sourced produce, such as local craft beer on tap and sometimes a local roasted solution for their front of house coffee," says Kate of her hotel F&B clientele. 

With borders closed and more domestic travel on the cards, guests are looking for ways to indulge in a local experience and support the local economy, whether that's enjoying fresh local fruit and veg in their meals or drinking a locally-roasted coffee with their breakfast at their hotel. People have never been more inclined to demonstrate the support of the local community while indulging their taste buds in authentic local tastes. 

Andy Hodgson explains that “paddock to plate” offerings have been a great success at a number of RACV resort locations.

“If you do it with a lot of passion, and get all the produce locally, people love it - they will drive literally hours to come down and have the experience.”

Enrich your guests’ experience by providing them with exactly what they’re looking for - at the Hilton group in the US this has meant “high-end, to-go cocktails, expanded grab-n-go markets and personalised plating for meetings and events”. 

"When life returns to a more normal state, these new offerings won't completely go away. They will continue to enhance our overall food and beverage programs, but as part of a much larger and enriching in-person experience," says Adam Crocini, vice president and global head, food & beverage brands, Hilton.

7. Introduce an in-room closed capsule coffee solution

"There's a massive benefit in going for a commercial-only capsule as far as reducing overheads," says Kate. 

Installing a closed capsule solution, like Lavazza BLUE, which is unavailable to domestic customers, can reduce theft and loss, improving your margins. It's estimated that guests take 50% of in-room capsules home. So say you have one capsule taken per day, per machine, per occupied room - the cost of those lost capsules adds up quickly! 

Aside from the obvious financial benefit, capsules are an easy to use solution that will impress guests with flavour and quality. As Kate says, "It's very hard to make a bad coffee with a Lavazza capsule." 

8. Train your staff for quality coffee

The simple fact is if your hotel is making lousy coffee, you're going to sell less of it. How many times have you stayed in a hotel and walked to the local cafe because the coffee you had on arrival was awful?

With transient workers, it can be challenging to provide guests with consistent quality coffee. A supplier like Lavazza can offer your staff world-class training that ensures they deliver a brilliant coffee, every time. Making a name for your lobby cafe or restaurant's coffee keeps your overnight guests spending with you, and also entices locals and passing foot traffic to stop for a coffee as well.

Interested in learning more about how Lavazza can support your premium hotel brand? View our comprehensive range of hotel coffee solutions.

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