Hotel Room Service: Staying In Might Be Out

The luxury hotel experience is typically associated with an image of a tuxedo clad waiter pushing a cloth-covered cart laden with silver domed plates into a grand hotel room. However, what was once a novelty and luxury might be on its way to becoming a fond memory. This is due to the high cost of running a room service program along with the consumer’s demands for local eating and reasonable prices. Hotels are responding with creative solutions that satisfy cost goals while elevating the consumer experience. Check out what’s going on with hotel room service.

Some Quick Room Service Stats

  • The American Hotel and Lodging Association reports that in 2016 only 22% of US hotels offered room service down from 37% just two short years prior.1
  • Room service is an important factor for 45% of hotel customers.2
  • Hawthorn Suites studied their consumers and learned that 66% of them would love to cook in their room while traveling.3 This preference would affect room service usage by guests.
  • Consumers would like to see complimentary water in their rooms three times as much as a minibar.4

Speaking of the minibar, many hotels are projecting it too will be a distant memory within the next 3-5 years as they continue to scale back. Partnering up with delivery services like Uber Eats or area restaurants to bring a touch of local that consumers seek is another strategy. Consumers, especially business types who sometimes see a city only from the windows of their hotel room, want to feel like they’ve actually visited the city they’re in. Case in point: Manhattan’s Roger Smith Hotel closed their restaurant and joined up with the restaurants they’ve been sending guests to for years. Guests now can order directly from those restaurants and enjoy global cuisines right in their rooms from restaurants like Sipsak (Turkish) or Chazz Palminteri (Italian). Similar options exist all over the country like at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel where Shake Shack burgers can be delivered right to a guest’s door.

“Grab-and-go” is also the mantra for room service these days and many hotels feature easily accessible high-end “convenience stores” offering snacks and meals guests can pick up and take with them. The Emporium Kitchen and Wine Market in Savannah Georgia is next door to the Perry Lane Hotel and offers guests the option to call dishes to their rooms (delivered on an antique cart), pick up items for a quick lunch or even pack a whole bag of food for a day-long excursion. Whether it’s a Pimento Cheese Omelet or an Apple Fritter to go, guests will not go hungry or thirsty.

The Future of Room Service is Here

  • Alexa for Hospitality – It was only a matter of time. Amazon has created an Alexa specifically for hotels that allow guests to set the lights, an alarm, call up a favorite playlist, have their room cleaned and, of course, order room service.
  • Hyatt Centric– Hyatt beefed up its partnership with Grubhub at its Centric branch. Grubhub is now available as part of Centric’s Restaurant to Go dining program that offers 24/7 ordering and guarantees guests a hot meal in 20 minutes. Initially started at three locales in 2016, the brand expanded in mid-2017 to nine locations including Chicago, The Woodlands TX, Arlington VA, and more.
  • Aloft Hotels – Aloft came out with an ingenious breakfast solution for their guests. Called Re:FUEL breakfast pots, guests can order and choose from 13 varieties like the Ranchero which includes two salsas, tortilla chips, avocado, lime sour cream, poached egg, and cilantro.  For consumers with specific dietary needs, options like the Paleo or the Protein would work nicely.
  • The Confidante Miami Beach has installed in-room wine machines made by Plum that serve wine by the glass. The in-room dispensers at last report stock pinot noir and sauvignon blanc and guests are charged by the glass depending on the pour size. The charges go right to their room.
  • Alibaba A.I. Labs introduced a room service robot that is able to deliver food and laundry to guests. The robot moves 1 meter per second, has facial recognition for identification purposes and has an on-board navigation system. The future is now.

All of this room service talk is making us excited for our next trip. If you’d like to meet to discuss our real food ingredients, we’re happy to pay you a visit. Contact us today.