PARSIPPANY, N.J.–For travelers at Hawthorn Suites by Wyndham, hunting down the closest grocery store in an unfamiliar city when craving the comforts of home may soon be a thing of the past. Wyndham Hotel Group’s extended stay brand is piloting a new grocery delivery offering that gives guests easy access to the ingredients they need for an in-room cooked meal. The hotel group is partnering with Instacart, a fast-growing delivery service, and Peapod, the country’s leading online grocer, to bring groceries straight to guests’ doors.
The program’s rollout comes at a time when interest in online grocery ordering and delivery is on the rise—U.S. consumers spent an estimated $42 billion online in groceries in 2016, up more than 160 percent over 2015. Industry experts predict the segment has the potential to grow five-fold over the next decade with American consumers spending upwards of $100 billion by 2025.
Wyndham’s new service is currently being piloted at eight Hawthorn Suites hotels in and around Chicago, Philadelphia, Raleigh, N.C., Charlotte, N.C., Hartford, Conn., and Orlando, Fla. The new initiative was developed to help long-term guests maintain their routines when away from home. It’s the latest addition to “Homemade @ Hawthorn,” the brand’s in-room, chef-driven cooking program to serve up seasonal, home-cooked recipes from award-winning chefs which can be easily prepared in a fully equipped in-suite kitchen. Participating chefs include New York-based Chef Hari Nayak and former Top Chef competitor Chef James Rigato.
Wyndham guests at the pilot hotels can use the Hawthorn website find and order all of the ingredients for a “Homemade @ Hawthorn” recipe or other grocery items, and have them delivered straight to their hotel.
“We know convenience is king for long-term travelers staying in new cities for weeks or months at a time,” said Larry Hambro, vice president, brand operations, Hawthorn Suites. “An essential part of helping our guests stick to their regular regimens when they stay with us is delivering the comforts of home, like a homemade meal or their go-to snack. Our grocery delivery pilot makes that possible by giving guests the power of selection combined with the convenience of online shopping and curated dishes. We get everything delivered these days straight from our computers and phones, from car rides to shaving kit subscriptions to groceries—so why shouldn’t we also get them when we’re traveling for extended periods?”
A 2016 Hawthorn Suites survey conducted by Wakefield Research found that 66 percent of Americans age 18 and older agree that being able to cook in a hotel room would make them feel more at home when traveling. For millennials, that consensus jumps to 84 percent. The same survey found that comforting and familiar foods topped the list of what guests would prefer, with 38 percent of respondents longing for baked goods, followed by pasta (31 percent), and salad (27 percent).