There can be many reasons - both internal and external - for a fall in a hotel’s revenue, but one thing is for sure, guests will always need to eat and drink, and that means there are easy strategies available to increase revenue. As is often the case in the hospitality sector, it’s not necessarily about working harder but sometimes just working smarter. The Food and Beverage offering is an area that can be easily extended and improved, because hotels are already in the F&B business, so it’s only a matter of making incremental improvements that can boost the bottom line, at sometimes minimal outlay.
10 strategies to increase food and beverage revenue in a hotel
1. Boosting food and beverage uptake through quality service
Hospitality is all about people-to-people relationships, and hotels should train staff to be more attentive to guests, and be knowledgeable about the menu offering. Few hotels these days can boast a full-time sommelier, but understanding food and beverage pairings helps start a dialogue with guests which encourages more adventurous (and profitable) dining choices. When guests are engaged by staff in discussing what’s on the menu, and which beverages complement their choice, it leads to a more enjoyable guest experience. This may not even mean investing money - have the chef talk about the weekly menu so all the wait staff really understand what’s on offer. Engaged staff leads to engaged guests, resulting in more adventurous food and beverage choices. That in turn increases food and beverage revenue.
2. Upselling food and beverages helps the bottom line
Trained and knowledgeable staff can also upsell to guests. This shouldn’t be ‘pushy’, but done in a friendly way. If a guest at the bar asks for a major brand beer, also make them aware of craft beer or local options. In the restaurant, staff can suggest complementary, or extra side dishes to go with guest choices, or recommend premium options. It’s about guiding and educating guests, which requires staff who are interested in their subject, and can speak with authority about it. You can also think creatively about ‘package deals’ of food and drink combos that encourage guests to sample various items at a discounted ‘taste and try’ introductory price.
3. Partnering as the secret weapon to promote success
Wherever a hotel is located, there are local suppliers and producers. They want to sell their products to a wider audience, and a hotel provides the perfect place for customers to sample their wares. Collaboration with local businesses is a powerful way of bringing new products to your hotel, and introducing them to guests. Let’s say there is a local winery, or cheese producer: You provide a platform for their products, and they offer discounted goods, usually for a special promotional period. What’s more, the partnership can exploit the social media and marketing presence of both hotel and producer. Two websites and double the flyers about a special collaboration go a lot further than the hotel alone could achieve, and some of the promotional ‘heavy lifting’ is done by another company, but for mutual benefit. So partner with local breweries, wineries, farms and food producers to create exclusive experiences that attract food enthusiasts.
4. Innovating the menu for greater choice and wider uptake
Guests are increasingly interested in what were once regarded as ‘special’ diets, ranging through vegetarian, vegan, to gluten-free or lactose-intolerant. Food once seen as ‘fringe’ is now normal, and a hotel which doesn’t offer meat free options - for example - is closing its doors to a lot of guests. Creating innovative menus is a great way of extending food and beverage revenue in hotels. Promote a ‘Taste Month’ where different dietary or gastronomic offers are made: French Dining, A Taste of India, Getting to Know Vegetarian Food, Organic Weeks, and so on. Themes are only limited by your imagination (and the kitchen staff’s willingness to engage!) When you innovate and diversify your menu, you are creating a newsworthy event that you can reach out to guests with. Provide a unique dining experience, and guests will return in the future.
5. Creating local awareness with special events and promotions
Most hotels are aware of doing something different for special events such as New Year, but there can be many other opportunities based on themed nights, culinary events, or wine-tasting that are attractive to both guests and locals. Customers for your hotel aren’t just the people who stay in your guest rooms, but can - and should - be from the community you’re based in. Local people will come to food and drink-based ‘one-offs’ which celebrate different seasons and events, with wide-ranging themes. So offer special promotions - especially during off-peak times - to create and grow local demand.
6. Dialling up the ambience for a go-to food and beverage destination
An attractive hotel ambience and great food presentation goes a long way towards providing a memorable guest experience. Every hotelier should know this, but perhaps it’s been a while since the restaurant or bar were refreshed. Look at the hotel through the eyes of the guests you wish to attract, and match the ambience to the event or special occasion. Sometimes this may be achieved with just a few ‘props’ and a temporary change of lighting. For example a ‘Harvest’ themed week will have a different ambience to ‘Parisian Nights’, but both can exist in the same space through appropriate decor, lighting, and music. Attention must of course be paid to the presentation of dishes and beverages: attractive plating and drink garnishes will enhance the overall experience.
7. Looking anew at the ‘staple’ of room service
In the past, room service was merely a stop gap - something to give late arriving guests when the kitchen was already closed. In-room breakfasts could also sometimes be merely what was available in the restaurant, only served lukewarm, and late.
For many guests, room service is often viewed as a luxury, and ‘out of the ordinary’. That means the hotel has to step up to those expectations. Crisp service, great food and the little ‘extras’ can make the difference. Why not add a flower to the breakfast tray, or a complementary chocolate? And think of the upsell opportunities too - when the guest makes their order, ask whether they would like anything else… a mini bottle of champagne perhaps? Delighted guests tell others about their experience, through word of mouth and on social media. And for hotels which have a Property Management System which guests can directly access, ordering room service has never been easier: Their request goes straight to the system without waiting for busy reception staff to respond.
8. Getting feedback for continuous food and beverage improvement
Encouraging guests to provide feedback about all aspects of the hotel is important, and this also applies to their dining experience. Information from guests is the gold which enables improvements in how revenue can be increased through food and beverage promotion. Feedback can come verbally - by staff engaging with guests during their meal or drink - and through simple questionnaires. Even better are the electronic means that exist to communicate with guests, both in-stay and post-stay. Any hotel with a modern PMS has a powerful communication tool which can be used to poll guest opinions, including about the F&B offering. It’s important to carefully review customer feedback to identify trends and areas for enhancement in food and beverage offerings. Find out what works, and do more of that. Find out what didn’t work, and do it differently, or move on. Dialoguing with guests has never been easier, or more important.
9. Identifying new demographics and getting to know them
There is not a ‘one size fits all’ hotel guest, and now there are new ‘tribes’ that have different needs. If your guests are going out on hiking day trips, or to historic sites where catering may not be available (Stonehenge anyone?), then offer picnic lunches. It’s an extra revenue stream that takes very little effort to set up. Fit and healthy retirees are a particular group worth cultivating here.
Another new demographic is Digital Nomads - mainly younger people locating to countries that offer good lifestyle and climate choices, allowing them to work remotely via the internet. Some 60 countries worldwide now actively offer digital nomad visas to encourage this lucrative trend. Digital Nomads tend to look like backpackers, but have high disposable income and often ‘settle’ for relatively long periods in their chosen hotel. As well as excellent internet connections, of significant importance is the need to ‘graze’ 24/7. These guests often operate across time zones, so their working day is not necessarily the same as the hotel’s. They need access to good food and drinks at any time, preferably independent of hotel staff.
Hotels that are savvy to this trend create communal areas where guests can help themselves to food and beverages, usually paying through contactless apps, or automatically adding items to their billing. It’s a completely new food and beverage revenue stream, set to grow and grow.
10. Crunching the data for tastier offerings
Modern hoteliers don’t just ask the opinions of guests about F&B offerings, they also do Data Analysis and Market Research to find out what’s going on ‘out there’ with competitors, and to understand customer preferences and purchasing patterns within their own hotel. Knowing what people want - and what the competition is offering - is vital to counter competitors, and to spot niches that can be exploited. That means having a finger on the pulse of events, festivals, and special days. It means knowing about new demographics such as Digital Nomads. Thinking creatively is helped by examining data about real trends, and then planning strategically to leverage these with enhanced food and beverage offerings to increase revenue.
We really know about hotels and hoteliers
We don’t claim to know everything about food and beverage revenue enhancement in your hotel, but we do know a lot about helping hotels, using our contemporary Property Management System, and a host of related apps. We are SabeeApp, with over ten years international experience supplying software solutions to the hospitality industry. We work with small boutique hotels through to the largest of chains, and we really know the market. That’s why we feel able to offer some thoughts on your bites, while we concentrate on our bytes. The SabeeApp solution provides smooth, seamless hotel operations, and if you explore some of our tips here, you can promote increased hotel food and beverage revenue too.
For the electronic solutions that we specialise in, please do get in touch for a free, no obligation demo - we’d love to show you how SabeeApp can help with every aspect of running a modern hotel, and boosting revenue.