How F&B Can Differentiate Your Hotel

By creating warm, welcoming social spaces, hotels can not only keep guests from seeking food and drinks outside the property but also attract business from locals, F&B experts said during a panel discussion at the NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference earlier this month. This has become more of a challenge, however, because savvy hotel guests know what they want and how to find it. Here are some key takeaways from the panel, which was titled “The Social Center of Hotels: How has this evolved? Bars, Restaurants, and Nightlife as Differentiators”:

“Consumers are smarter. Between celebrity chefs, the Food Network, and a restaurant on every corner… And, with the advent of social media, when you open a restaurant, you have no time to get your act together as an operator. Your delivery of the product has to be so much more on-point to attract consumers. And that’s both the traveler and the local.”
James Gersten, President and CEO, BR Guest Hospitality

“You’re not just providing a great experience for your hotel guests, you’re attracting the local community. And, when the locals are there, that’s where the hotel guests want to be. Particularly in the lifestyle space, the guests are seeking an experience; they’re not just looking for a place to sleep. They want an experience that’s relevant locally. And locally doesn’t just mean ‘New York,’ it means the neighborhood. They want something that’s a reflection of the neighborhood they’re in.”
Niki Leondakis, CEO, Commune Hotels + Resorts


“Hotel operators are smarter. They use restaurant designers, they play with what’s going on around them. They’re inviting third-party chefs into the hotel and creating destination dining, giving the customer confidence that the restaurant is a good, designed place. [Restaurants] have almost a larger role than anything else in the hotel for a customer. The ambience makes all the difference.”
Mark Weiss, SVP of Food and Beverage, Loews Hotels & Resorts

“[Hotel restaurants aren’t] just for the hotel guest, [they’re] for the community. So being able to create a vibe that attracts the neighborhood, along with the hotel guest, is going to keep the hotel guest in the hotel… That’s one of the keys to profitability: Can you hold on to your guest? You do that by creating an experience that makes them feel relevant to the community they have traveled to or have chosen to stay in.”
Adam Williamowsky, Director, Eat + Drink, Streetsense