Food-and-beverage experts from hotels around the U.S. are creating unique dining spaces and food-and-drink offerings at bars and restaurants near the pool to boost F&B spend from guests.
REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Summertime pop-ups, refreshing alcoholic beverages served in fruit and unique happy hour specials are great ways to encourage guests lounging poolside to spend money on food and drinks to enhance their experience, sources said.
At the Kimpton Epic Hotel in Florida, the property recently debuted a Mediterranean-style pop-up restaurant on the pool deck.
The 45-seat poolside restaurant is reservation only, and will run through the end of September, said Amy Currens, senior F&B manager at Kimpton Epic.
“The Mediterranean pop-up will be a really nice option for those who want to reserve a seat in the restaurant experience that’s very open air (and) overlooking the Biscayne Bay,” she said. “The Mediterranean pop-up is a little more tapas-oriented. This is encouraging a little bit more sharing with some mix-and-match offerings with small plates, and then moving into larger offerings off the grill primarily.”
- Click here to read more on how F&B experts at other hotels have found success with shareable food options.
The hotel also offers a cabana bar out by the pool, which attracts crowds to enjoy drinks and light menu offerings on pool lounges and patio couches, Currens said.
Kimpton Epic also hosts a “Beat the clock” happy hour every night, she said, which the hotel sees a big boost in F&B dollars from. Drinks start at $6 at 6 p.m. when the bar opens and go up a dollar an hour until 11 p.m.
“That’s a fun way of getting people out to the pool deck on Fridays … It’s Friday night, of course, which is always a big night to go out, but it definitely gets people to hang out a little while longer and invite their friends to come join them,” Currens said.
At The Beach at the Dream Downtown in New York City, approximately half of the restaurant’s business comes from guests lounging poolside, GM Andre Providence said.
“A lot of our hotel guests will get up early in the morning and form a line right at the door (to the pool),” he said. “As soon as they can get access, they want to claim their chair and hangout there for the entire day.”
One way The Beach draws business from Dream guests spending time at the pool is by offering watermelon and pineapple kegs, which are alcoholic drinks served in carved-out fruit, Providence said.
“Usually our guests who see them coming out on the pool deck, as soon as someone sees it, everybody wants one,” he said. “It’s become one of our most popular items.”
Hyatt Centric South Beach Miami
At the Hyatt Centric South Beach Miami’s Deck Sixteen, “a good 40%” of business at the restaurant comes from guests at the pool, said Eyal Goldberger, GM at Hyatt Centric.
Deck Sixteen offers an all-day happy hour throughout the week during the summer plus 50% off food options on the menu, he said. On top of that, the hotel is trying out a promotion that offers a $40 bottle of wine served by the pool.
The Woodlands Resort
The poolside Cool Water Café at The Woodlands Resort in Texas has food-and-drink options for adults and kids spending time by the pool.
“During the summer, most families have breakfast in the Woodlands Dining Room and lunch at Cool Water Café to indulge in poolside fare…” Wendi Gelfound, area director of marketing at The Howard Hughes Corporation, which manages the property, said via email.
The Woodlands added the Sweet Spot, a dining option that serves ice cream and other treats, which “was an additional dining outlet added to (a) poll in 2018 to further boost F&B sales,” she said.
A late-night social hour was also recently implemented at the hotel’s Robard’s Steakhouse, Gelfound said. It runs Monday through Thursday* starting at 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday starting at 9 p.m. "Half-off snacks and bar burgers plus special cocktails" are offered.
*Correction, 24 July 2018: A previous version of the story had incorrect dates for the late-night social hour.