Extended-stay F&B offerings help guests stay on track
 
Extended-stay F&B offerings help guests stay on track
20 JULY 2017 8:23 AM

Sources from extended-stay brands said their hotels provide simple food-and-beverage options that help guests stick to their normal routines while away from home. 

REPORT FROM THE U.S.—For hotel guests who have to be away from home for extended periods, a “home-cooked” meal is sometimes the thing they crave most.

That’s why extended-stay brands are exploring different ways to deliver simple and convenient meals to guests on-property.

Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham has partnered with a grocery delivery site to provide extended-stay guests with the ingredients they need to make their favorite meals right in their guestroom.

Larry Hambro, VP of brand operations at Hawthorn, said the goal of the grocery delivery service is to make guests feel comfortable.

“If you’re on the road that long, the key to comfort is maintaining your regimen, maintaining your routine,” he said. “We want to make that as easy and as flawless as possible. … Sixty-six percent of all travelers feel that if they had the ability to cook a meal in their (guestroom), they would feel more comfortable.”

He added that Hawthorn has also paired up with two celebrity chefs to provide seasonal recipes that take 30 minutes or less to make, and are available to guests on the Hawthorn website.

F&B for the cost-conscious traveler
Extended Stay America properties appeal to the value-conscious extended-stay guest, who might be watching what they spend to save for more important things, such as their child’s college tuition, said Tom Buoy, EVP of marketing and revenue management at ESA

For that reason, ESA properties limit their F&B offerings to items guests are willing to pay for.

“What we’ve done is we’ve developed what we think is an innovative approach,” he said. “We curate our vending environment, so we work with our national partners to make sure that the products that they like from a convenience standpoint, and they want easy access to, are in our vending rooms. And we continue to test different types of products, whether it be ice cream or frozen dinners, that offer different entrees that they can have access to in a pinch.”

He added that loyalty members also have access to food discounts.

“Our loyalty program is focused on instant benefits,” Buoy said. “… We actually give them access to about 150,000 partners that provide them with discounts, because they’re a part of our affinity program—immediate discounts that they can use in their stay.”

Buoy said discounts might include grocery delivery service, and ESA properties also offer all guests complimentary grab-and-go breakfast options. Since ESA properties have kitchens, the company has also partnered with a celebrity chef to come up with recipes that are available to guests online.

Terry Atkins, VP of marketing and communications at ESA, said the in-room kitchens are helpful to guests with dietary restrictions.

“People there for 30, 60, 90 days or more, many of them come for different stay reasons,” he said. “We have people there for medical treatment staying near a hospital; we have people coming from international (locations). And what we find is, (with) people with special dietary needs or preferences … having a kitchen really allows (us) to provide those types of food offerings.”

Receptions and other offerings
InterContinental Hotels Group’s extended-stay brand Staybridge Suites hosts its “The Social” manager’s reception three nights a week, in which guests can enjoy complimentary food, beer and wine, according to David Neves, head of food and beverage at IHG, the Americas.

“The Social takes place three nights a week,” he said. “This evening reception gives guests a chance to unwind and relax in a social setting. Oftentimes, hotel teams get to know their extended-stay guests while spending time with them in this casual environment.”

Neves added that Staybridge and IHG’s Candlewood Suites brand have a lot of grab-and-go options for guests in the lobby.

“The Candlewood Cupboard has a very robust offering that is a competitive advantage,” he said. “While these options are not meant to replace a full meal, there is a wide variety of snack options and quick bites for travelers heading out early in the morning or returning late at night.” 

Residence Inn also hosts manager’s receptions three nights a week, called RI Mix, where different F&B options are made available to guests.

“Residence Inn recently enhanced its wine and beer program to offer an elevated wine selection and the addition of local craft beers,” said Diane Mayer, VP and global brand leader for Residence Inn. 

She added that full bars have become more common in upscale extended-stay properties, including Residence Inn. The brand has full in-suite kitchens available to guests, and recipes are available online.

“If guests are looking for an alternative to in-suite cooking, they are welcome to prepare meals on (grills) located in the community space,” she said.

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