“Many consumers are looking for a convenient and relaxing dining experience after a day of travel or before a day of meetings,” says Technomic EVP Darren Tristano. “Providing them with a variety of quality foodservice options on premise drives traffic and enhances the guest experience.”
Do you agree?
Technomic developed and recently released The Canadian Hotel Food and Beverage Consumer Trend Report to help businesses like hotels and restaurants better understand our preferences and needs. At the risk of sounding too critical, shouldn’t their findings have been obvious? Perhaps at one time, travellers were content to supply their own picnics, or drive for hours before dining at whatever establishment happened be open. Or maybe people did that because they weren’t offered any other choice. As strange as it may sound, one of the things I loved the most about Italy was its Autogrill restaurants. Set at a certain distance along any given highways, the Autogrills offered the kind of gourmet rest stop I keep hoping to see here in Ontario. Bright, clean and brimming with fresh produce, fresh bread and a delicious array of pasta and meat dishes.
To be fair, though, the study focusses on what travellers expect to find, food-wise, at their selected hotel. Have you ever stayed at a hotel that had little or no food service available? I have — again, in Italy. Did it bother me? Not a whit. There were so many great eateries within easy walking distance that I wouldn’t have eaten in a hotel restaurant anyway. But, that was Italy. I’ve found that the experience can be completely different when travelling around North America. Sometimes, it’s really hard to find a restaurant that isn’t a fast-food or chain-style establishment, even in the larger centres. We’re a big continent. Going out to eat often means jumping into a car and driving for a bit before you get to where you want to eat. Sometimes, dining a few steps away from your room is the most relaxing thing to do.
Here’s a list of Technomic’s findings. What’s important to you? Do you find yourself there?
– Room service is ordered more often by business travellers (34 percent during most recent overnight stay) than by leisure travellers (13 percent), and strongly driven by younger male consumers.
– Over one-third of guests at catered leisure hotel events said that an open bar, top-shelf liquor, quality mixers and specialty cocktails are important to creating a pleasant experience.
– Bar lounges and lobbies are trending towards offering more Asian-inspired small plates and complimentary cocktails to promote the lobby as a casual, social-gathering place.