Eating out has never been more popular. It’s no longer a special treat, but an everyday delight. People of all ages are embracing the dining experience, close to home and on vacation. Hotels can capitalize on this right now – but only if they have the right technology and strategy.
Dining out is a vital part of the travel experience
Over the last five years, eating out locally has become part of our daily lives. Not only that, but dining is now a much faster and more informal affair, leading to a boom in both casual and fast-casual restaurants.
Unsurprisingly, this willingness to try local restaurants, experience ‘craft’ foods, make spur-of-the-moment choices, and eat in a more relaxed atmosphere, has altered the way we eat on vacation too.
Millennials say eating out is increasingly an important part of their travel experience. In fact, according to a survey by Topdeck Travel, 98 per cent of young people ranked ‘eating local cuisine’ as very important.
Chinese travelers, who are becoming ever-more important for the hospitality industry, also say that food is important when traveling. In a survey by Hotels.com, Chinese travelers weighted cuisine as the third most important factor when picking a destination behind only safety and historical sites – and ahead of shopping.
Of course, we’re also all eating out closer to home as well. For example, in the US and Canada consumer spending on restaurants is rising. In fact, last year spending on eating out in the US surpassed spending on groceries for the first time in history. As fears about the outlook for tourism play out across the industry, hotel restaurants provide hoteliers with an attractive way to increase revenues from people living locally.
Competition is fierce, and hotel restaurants should look to invest in tech to compete more effectively
Hotels have worked hard to increase revenues from their bedrooms business, and entice these guests to stay with them by upgrading their facilities. They’ve launched loyalty schemes, and introduced cutting-edge bedroom tech, like in-room voice activated assistants. But still, hotels would like to get more of these guests to use their restaurants.
Local restaurants and increasingly online delivery services are still in the lead. They’re winning the battle for these customers and their business.
Some hotels have fought back, introducing new fast-casual restaurant experiences – or are exploring partnerships with chains to introduce the concept. But while accepting and reacting to this growing trend may well pay dividends long term, it doesn’t tackle the immediate core problem.
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