Your hotel restaurant rivals the one down the street — and those miles away — but do your guests know that? While room bookings will always be the main focus of your marketing efforts, hotel F&B doesn’t have to be the underdog. In fact, it can be one of your most powerful revenue sources.
Where does the rest go? Sixty-nine percent of hotel guest spending goes toward non-hotel-room costs, including food and beverage.
But guests aren’t spending as much on-site as they could be. The same study found that U.S. hotel guests spend $367.5 billion annually off-site, compared to $323.7 billion on-site. That’s a difference of $43.8 billion!
This means hotel operators have a golden opportunity to promote on-site food and beverage offerings alongside room bookings. Getting more guests to stay on-site for dining and entertainment will generate more revenue and elevate your property’s overall appeal.
7 Smart Ways to Boost Hotel F&B Spend for Overnight Guests
Keeping guests on-site starts with education. Some guests may not even know you have a hotel restaurant, let alone multiple dining options, from poolside cafes to high-end venues. Others might think reservations are optional, only to face long wait times or a fully booked venue during their stay.
While both scenarios can lead to a negative guest experience, there’s an easy remedy. Whether you have one on-site restaurant or three, use the marketing ideas below to promote hotel F&B reservations before and during guest stays.
1. Take Advantage of Private Reservation Links
Once a guest books a hotel stay, they are likely to research the local area for restaurant recommendations. Make it easy for them — and profitable for you — by including a private restaurant reservation link in room booking confirmation emails.
Opening reservation availability beyond what the public can access (e.g., 120 days versus 30) will ensure guests can secure reservations — even at the busiest venues.
Find out if your restaurant reservation software allows for customization so you can offer this perk to hotel guests. For example, the SevenRooms’ reservation widget can be configured to prompt overnight guests to check their emails for a private reservation link with custom availability.
Providing exclusive reservation access will make every guest feel like a VIP. It’ll also help avoid guests being turned away at the door or booking meals at local competitors.
If you send pre-arrival emails and reminders to room guests, designate a significant portion to hotel F&B. Showcase menus, photos, pricing, restaurant accolades (national or local awards and star ratings) and venue highlights (locally sourced ingredients, regional dishes and celebrity chefs).
Most importantly, include a direct booking link with a note that overnight guests get priority access.
Making guests feel valued can increase revenue and loyalty to your hotel and encourage them to stay on-site for meals. Plus, allowing guests to make early bookings upfront will help mitigate frustration later on if restaurants get sold out.
Upsells are another great addition to pre-arrival emails that will help elevate the guest dining experience and increase F&B sales. Think champagne and charcuterie packages or the ability to add a favorite bottle of wine to a restaurant reservation. These small touches can add up to a significant increase in incremental revenue.
FYI: SevenRooms’ tag feature allows you to add unlimited custom and auto tags to deliver superior customer service. For example: Add a custom “hotel guest” tag so hotel staff can provide priority dining and surprise freebies — like a comped app or cocktail — no matter which on-site venue they’re at.
3. Tailor F&B Marketing Messaging to Guests’ Needs
When it comes to marketing messaging, one size doesn’t fit all. Tailor your messaging to appeal to specific hotel guests for more effective results.
First, consider your guests’ interests, wants and needs. Then, customize F&B marketing messaging in every outreach effort, from emails to social media posts.
Family-friendly: Let parents know there’s a family-friendly restaurant on-site that offers tableside activities, an outdoor play area and a curated kids’ menu.
Exciting nightlife: From craft cocktails in the hotel bar to a popular local band in the hotel restaurant, show guests they don’t have to leave to have a good time.
Romance: Let couples know your hotel has a fine dining restaurant with a beautiful view, an extensive wine list and decadent desserts.
Adventure seekers: On-site spas, golfing, pools, hot tubs, walking paths, outdoor games…it all pairs perfectly with food and drink from your on-site venues.
4. Display Reservation QR Codes Throughout the Hotel
Turn your hotel into a reservation-generating machine with QR code technology. For the hospitality industry, this could be a menu, waitlist or online reservations page.
The great thing about QR codes is they allow guests to make a reservation anytime, anywhere — no hotel staff needed. Whether relaxing in their hotel room, at the pool or on the golf course, guests simply scan the QR code with their smartphone to access the link.
Place QR codes strategically throughout your hotel to remind guests of your on-site food and beverage offerings to help increase walk-ins, reservations and takeout orders.
QR codes are also an easy way to cross-promote property restaurants. For example, place a QR code in your breakfast restaurant so guests know where to go for lunch and dinner, and vice-versa.
5. Provide a VIP Link to Front Desk and Concierge Services
According to a Bloomberg survey, 69% of high-end travelers are willing to pay up to $500 per night for a hotel room, with 24% going as high as $1,000 for luxury experiences.
If your hotel attracts big spenders, you can’t afford to disappoint them with a sold-out restaurant.
To avoid this scenario, set aside reservation inventory for VIPs and special guests. Provide your front-of-house staff with a VIP link they can use to make reservations for the guests before or when they arrive.
This simple solution will ensure VIPs aren’t turned away and will keep guest satisfaction high. If the inventory isn’t booked, you can open it up to walk-ins or last-minute reservations.
6. Promote In-Room Dining
Don’t underestimate room service’s role in maximizing hotel revenue. Encourage in-room dining, from leisurely brunches to family dinners, to keep spending on-site.
Here are a few ways to ramp up your in-room F&B strategy:
Maintain quality: Room service shouldn’t mean a reduction in food quality or selection. Craft a diverse menu and ensure swift, contactless delivery to guest rooms, enhancing convenience and safety.
Highlight accommodations: Cater to various dietary preferences and allergies, from vegan to gluten-free, to accommodate all guests.
Design themed in-room dining packages: Think candlelit dinners, unlimited mimosa brunches and family-friendly pizza nights with special in-room decorations.
Wine and beer pairings: Collaborate with local wineries or breweries to curate exclusive wine and beer pairings with special prix-fixe menus.
Offer contactless payment options: Invest in a high-quality reservation and online ordering system to heighten convenience for guests.
7. Get Creative With F&B Deals, Packages and Upsells
Your hotel is much more than a place to sleep. Tempt guests into staying on-site for meals and entertainment by promoting creative F&B packages and upsells.
The following ideas will expand your offerings — and your revenue:
Spa packages: Let guests upgrade spa services with a bottle of wine and lunch from your on-site lounge.
Takeaway beverages: Offer “to-go” drinks so guests can stroll the hotel grounds while sipping on local wine or craft mocktails.
Daily happy hour: Offer daily discounts on hotel food and beverage to keep guests from going off-site for happy hour.
Hotel-wide F&B service: Place menus or QR codes by popular gathering spots, like firepits and couches, so guests know they can easily order food and beverage service anywhere in the hotel.
F&B credits: Offer an F&B credit with a hotel stay. For example, $50 in F&B for three nights or $100 for four.
Seasonal beverage program: Update your menu according to the season, like watermelon margaritas in the summer and mulled wine in the winter.
Offer entertainment: Bring in local performers to entertain guests in outdoor areas with F&B service and restaurants and lounges.
Culinary experiences: Turn unused event spaces or fine dining restaurants into ticketed F&B experiences like wine tastings, tasting menus, seasonal events and celebrity chef dinners.
Your hotel has everything guests need for a five-star stay: outstanding accommodations, dining and entertainment — all under one roof. By shining a spotlight on your food and beverage offerings, you’ll attract more hotel guests and boost F&B revenue, turning your hotel into the ultimate destination.