Navigating the Changing Landscape of In-Room Food and Beverage Service
By Adam Hoydysh, Vice President of Hotel Sales
Let's take a moment and consider these scenarios:
In the first scenario, you're in town on a business trip and having just landed from a long flight — coupled with a layover delay — you're ready to settle in for the night and finish off some work. After checking-in and collecting your things, you make your way to your room and do a quick scan of the amenities. There's a mini-fridge situated in the far corner of the room, and a room service menu left on a small coffee table. You roll your suitcase to its respective spot beside the bed, kick off your shoes and grab the menu to look through its offerings. It's been a long day, and a glass of wine sounds like a pretty tempting nightcap to pair with emails. But as you look through the menu, you consider the delivery charge, and the time it will take for that wine glass, wrapped in cling wrap, to actually end up at the door. 'Is it really worth it, for one glass of wine?' You ask yourself…
In the second scenario, you roll your suitcase to its respective spot beside the bed, kick off your shoes and grab the menu to look through its offerings. However, something else catches your eye, first. You notice that your room features an automatic wine by the glass device, serving up a chilled and preserved bottles of red and white wine by the glass, on-demand. The decision is easy, you help yourself to a glass (tracked by a cloud service) and get going on those emails, wine in hand.
We like the sound of the second scenario best, don't you?
Over the years, the landscape of the in-room food and beverage experience has changed to meet the evolving needs and expectations of guests. We've witnessed the transition from the days of room service to mini-bars (with people to staff them), online ordering and now, in-room devices to cater to an on-demand experience. This comes as no surprise, as the travel and hospitality industry have, at large, adopted a more personalized approach as we continue to transition into the 'Age of the Guest'. With prospective travelers demanding more from the hotels they frequent, the ability to provide a seamless travel experience and responsive, on-demand service are more critical than ever before. In fact, according to studies, 54% of customers have higher expectations for customer service today compared to one year ago.
Curating a seamless, service-driven food and beverage strategy becomes especially important to hoteliers when we consider the primary revenue streams hotels rely on. First, hotels generate revenue from initial bookings and, second, they generate additional revenue from each guest while on the property. This represents a wealth of opportunity for hotels to connect with the "new hotel guest" as we look to those travelers who not only expect an enriched food and beverage experience on the property, but also within the comfort of their room. So what does this have to do with wine, you might wonder? Well, a lot, actually.
Online sales of beer, liquor and wine for delivery grew 32.7% in 2017, according to reports. By far the most popular kind of adult beverage bought on the web is wine, which represented more than 65% of online alcohol sales during the 25-month period. Again, this comes as no surprise, as we observe a consumer shift in favor of self-service technology and instant gratification.
The installation of in-room appliances enable hotels to increase sales while offering unparalleled convenience and unique amenities. This keeps modern guests happy, while also helping to lessen the burden of cost associated with traditional food and beverage programs and upkeep. In today's world of instant gratification, there are new and innovative ways of delivering services and products that readily meet and exceed the expectations of guests. This is where Plum and the new wave of beverage service comes into play. Much like the rising popularity of Nespresso's in-room coffee service, Plum offers on-demand, chilled red or white wine, with cloud-based tracking of consumption to enhance in-room profit. Considering 80% of luxury hotel guests drink wine regularly, this represents an exciting opportunity to improve guest engagement, increase direct bookings and reduce labor costs.
Moreover, for anyone thinking, 'Well, if there are restaurants and room service available on-property, why would guests be interested in an in-room wine appliance?" consider this:
Hotels have been pushed to adapt their offerings based on modern consumers and their everyday habits. Once an admirable profit center, hotel revenue from traditional services such as phone calls, in-room pay per view movie rentals, and mini-bars are becoming a thing of the past. Today's guests are accustomed to sophisticated technology at home, and they expect it in their hotel room too.
So, what do you say — are you ready to exceed guest expectations by offering the Plum experience? Click here to learn more.
Director of Hospitality Marketing