Complimentary breakfast and in-room coffee service sway consumers’ hotel selection

When choosing a hotel, it’s not just the amenities they pay for, but the freebies they don’t, that influence consumers’ selection of one hotel over another. A new study from Technomic finds that when choosing a hotel, consumers say complimentary offerings such as breakfast and in-room coffee are more important to them than other amenities.

Overall, 40 percent of business and leisure guests say that foodservice offerings are very important to their choice of hotel. They prefer hotels with a casual-dining restaurant, a bar or lounge, and an extensive room service menu. For many midscale, economy and extended-stay hotels, foodservice is largely defined by the complimentary breakfast.

“Complimentary breakfast is often viewed as a drain on revenues,” says Technomic EVP Darren Tristano. “However, it’s an offering consumers are seeking out when they look over hotel options. It drives traffic and enhances the guest experience.”

The 2011 Hotel Food and Beverage Consumer Trend Report was developed by Technomic to help hotel and foodservice executives understand consumer preferences and needstates associated with hotel foodservice.

Findings include:

  • Business travelers order room service more often than those traveling for leisure. A quarter of business guests (24 percent) compared to just 12 percent of leisure guests purchased room service during their most recent overnight hotel stay.
  • A substantial percentage of consumers are traveling more often today than a couple of years ago for business (34 percent) and leisure (25 percent). Both increases are strongly driven by younger consumers, indicating that operators may want to target younger guests by offering amenities and foodservice options that appeal to these consumers.
  • Bar lounges and lobbies are expanding their menus and offering more tapas-style foods to promote the lobby as a casual, social-gathering place. Hotel catering programs are differentiating themselves through themed carts and onsite food preparation.

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