Few industries were hit as hard by the recession as the hotel foodservice market, which saw revenues bottom out in 2009 as consumers and businesses cut back on travel and travel-related expenditures such as foodservice and entertainment. However, the hotel foodservice industry continues to reinvent itself post-recession to offer guests new culinary experiences, according to "Hotel Foodservice Trends in the U.S.," by market research publisher Packaged Facts, such that the moderate market growth experienced in 2010 is expected to continue through 2012.
As part of this reinvention, the hotel industry is experimenting en masse with new menu, design and technology concepts that are reshaping how hotel guests experience hotel food and beverage offerings. According to the report, many of the food and beverage trends shaping hotel foodservice post-recession are driven by "changing consumer expectations and needs."
"These trends shape not only how consumers rank the importance of various hotel food and beverage services, but also how the services build on and borrow from each other to integrate into a unique hotel experience that clients will remember and want to come back for," says David Sprinkle, publisher of Packaged Facts.
The new menu concepts capitalize on guest desire for on-trend gourmet fare and better-for-you options (including fresh, natural, and local ingredients as well as vegetarian and allergen-free selections) that are in keeping with their food enthusiasms and wellness lifestyles. It's important to offer guests enough quality breakfast options that they enjoy this often "captive audience" meal enough to seek out on-premise culinary options during the lunch and dinner dayparts rather than leaving the hotel grounds. Design–including open seating and good lighting–has also become essential as hotels compete with other restaurants in the area to become in-demand dining destinations on their own right. The availability of technology is connected to this design concept. Guests appreciate the ability to plug in their laptop, tap into a free wireless network, and sit in the lobby enjoying a cup of coffee or a bistro-style salad and sandwich amid the hubbub of fellow guests and hotel activities. Technology also provides convenience, such as the option to order room service online from laptops or through smartphone apps.
Hotel foodservice revenue reached $22 billion in 2010, a 3% increase from 2009. The hotel industry derives approximately two-thirds of its foodservice revenue from non-alcoholic drinks, meals and snacks consumed on the premises, with the remaining revenue split between alcoholic drinks and catering. Packaged Facts projects that sales will rise 5% in 2011 and 3% in 2012, driven primarily by higher hotel occupancy rates and related travel expenditures.[Source: "Hotel Foodservice Trends in the U.S." Packaged Facts. 20 July 2011. Web. 4 Aug. 2011.]