Making the Right F&B Decisions
Naturally, there are many reasons why business travelers stay at particular hotels. If their companies have volume
negotiated deals, they must adhere to company policy and stay at those properties. But, when travel managers are
scoping out hotels that would be a good fit for their employees, they take food and beverage options into
consideration. And, travelers at companies that may have more flexibility to choose where they stay also want to make
sure that F&B choices fit their needs when they are on the road for work.
Here are some ways your property can utilize F&B to help attract business travelers and keep them coming back to you
time and time again:
"In the travel industry, business travel is now business-leisure travel, and most companies are looking for their
corporate travelers to enjoy their business trips," said Gabriel Lazcano, director of sales & marketing at the 70-room
Hotel El Ganzo in San Jose del Cabo, Mexico.
For example, many options in the in-room dining breakfast menu can be a great differentiator in comparison to the
traditional business hotels concept, Lazcano noted. Menu variety, along with fast service, can be the key for hotels to
attract business travelers.
"Business travelers hate waiting. They are willing to experience an in-room dining experience, but they are not willing
to wait for 45 minutes," Lazcano added.
Hotels should have a great and unique F&B program, so that business travelers don’t need to leave the hotel for a
quality drink and meal, said Andrew Rigie, executive director of the NYC Hospitality Alliance.
"I look for a restaurant I’d want to eat at even if I wasn’t staying at the hotel." Rigie said.
Andrew Simmons, director of hospitality studio, Nadel Architects, agreed. Hotels’ F&B offerings should be thought of as
experiences, including how the hotel can bring in the local character of the area to appeal to business traveler
For example, the lobby bar is now becoming a “living room” or a gathering place where more interactions are occurring,
Simmons noted. As a result, hotels are re-thinking their F&B spaces to be more adaptable, with the ability to transform
them from breakfast service to evening cocktails with a smaller sampling of cuisine in a more tapas style of offerings.
"Business travelers also are looking for some variety. Often times, due to busy travel schedules, they want various F&B
options in the hotel, so they don’t go off-property," Simmons said.
Hotels must now also think about how influential groups like millennials - who make up over one-third of the world’s
hotel guests – are perceiving the F&B experience in the hotel. Properties are now beginning to respond by bringing in
everything from pop-up restaurants and food trucks to integrating different local restaurants and bars to hosting
specialty events to attract and retain this influential group.
"After a long day of traveling or meetings, when checking in to a hotel, business travelers enjoy nothing more than
relaxing in the lobby or executive lounge sipping a complimentary glass of wine or a cold beer and munching on some
snacks - before going out to dinner with business colleagues," said Scott Samuels, chief executive officer of Horizon
Hospitality, a hospitality industry executive search and recruitment agency. "These amenities are being provided more
frequently at hotel properties as a brand standard."