Some of the largest hotel brands in the U.S. are taking a fresh look at how foodservice is being offered at their properties. In the past, foodservice was primarily seen as an afterthought at many hotels, but now it is becoming a selling feature that is presented to guests as soon as they enter the lobby for check-in. This encourages guests to stay and linger in hotel lobbies, bars and restaurants rather than opting for offsite restaurants or remaining in their rooms for a meal, snack or cocktail.
Courtyard by Marriott, Hilton Garden Inn and Westin Hotels & Resorts have all implemented changes to their hotel designs that will highlight their food and beverage offerings:
- Hilton Garden Inn unveiled a refreshed decor package for its lobbies in an effort to create a comfortable gathering space for guests. A newly designed communal breakfast bar offers a social gathering space for guests, while new decor evokes a garden-party feel with calming colors such as pastel yellow, blue and green; cabana draperies; pendant lighting and lanterns; and live plants. The package is expected to roll out across all locations by the end of 2013. (Hotel Magazine)
- Westin Hotels & Resorts plans to update lobbies of its properties worldwide through 2013 to apply a new nature-inspired lobby concept. The design concept includes a Vertical Garden intended to improve indoor air quality and create a calming environment. A Grab & Go Cafe and Westin Retail Store will be repositioned adjacent to new seating zones for convenience. The stores will offer food and cafe beverages, as well as the brand’s Heavenly bedding and bath products. (Company Release)
- While many hotels currently offer a breakfast buffet, the Courtyard by Marriott is transitioning to a new state-of-the-art lobby design and food and beverage concept. The multifunctional space enables guests to work, relax, eat, drink, and socialize at their own pace, taking advantage of enhanced technology and The Bistro’s breakfast and dinner offerings. The new, sophisticated lobby design is intended to keep Courtyard well positioned against its competition by providing better value through superior facilities, technology, and service to generate stronger connections with our guests. (2011 Marriott International, Inc. Annual Report)
In order to create an experience that resonates with guests, some upscale hotel brands are focusing on specific types of lifestyles, such as hobbies, health and wellness and family when thinking about how to promote their food and beverage offerings. Sheraton Hotels & Resorts announced earlier this year that it will be launching a program called Sheraton Social Hour that features a specially selected menu of about 90 premium wines that are rated by Wine Spectator magazine, as well as weekly tasting events.
Sheraton Hotels & Resorts also unveiled Color Your Plate by Sheraton Fitness that uses a menu code to encourage healthy eating on the road. Guests choose color-coded menu items to create balanced meals that are less than 500 calories.
For the more family-oriented guests, Hyatt recently launched a fully organic kids’ menu that offers fruit and vegetables as a default side and lowfat milk with free refills.
To facilitate another brand touch-point for guests, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. has developed a restaurant and loyalty microsite called Restaurant & Bars. The site allows them to browse restaurants at the company’s hotels, link to each restaurant’s webpage, make reservations, explore culinary trends, view chef demos, as well as providing a listing of Starwood Preferred Guest promotions.