It’s been widely accepted that necessity is the mother of invention, but it’s never rung as true as for the hospitality industry this year. When hotels quickly lost their main source of revenue (Italy had 96% lower occupancy rate in March 2020 than the previous year), they had to find a new way of subsidizing their lost cash flow. The answer? Food delivery.
There’s no denying that Covid has left some big coffers to fill with the American Hotel & Lodging Association reporting that hotels have lost $46 billion in room revenue. As a remedy, many hotels started to offer food delivery as a side venture. Not a bad idea, considering that even before Covid, the online food delivery business was projected to be worth $200 billion by 2025. Now, hotels around the world are throwing their hat in the ring to get a piece of that (contactless) pie.
Hotels of all sizes are delivering their F&B services, even major hotel chains. ITC Hotels, Hilton, Marriott, and Hyatt have all embraced home delivery as a method of keeping operations running. “We are re-engineering our guest experiences with zero/low associate engagement (including digital ordering and e-payment solutions),” stated Anil Chadha, COO of ITC Hotels.
However, despite the benefits of embracing food delivery, it’s not easy to pivot your hotel’s operations overnight. Here are some of the tips on how to ensure that your property can make your side venture the most profitable.
Close the Food Ordering Gap with an App
Before you invest in creating a delivery app specific to your property, consider some data. Research has shown that the average person uses 9 apps a day. After accounting for social media apps (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc), there’s not much room left for your personalized app.
Instead, join forces with a commercial food delivery service (think similar to Grubhub, DoorDash or Uber Eats). Learn how to take your property online with a service and enjoy the benefits as they take care of the logistics.
Optimize Your Menu
Look at your online menu with a critical eye to make it the most dynamic (and lucrative). Not every item your property offers may make the cut onto the digital menu. To give your property the best chance of turning a profit, determine what’s been a proven best-seller.
Access some of your property’s F&B analytics to view which are your most popular items. Make sure these items are prominently displayed, since they already have a tried and true record behind them.
Promote Good Reviews
The power of positive reviews isn’t a foreign concept to those in hospitality. But when making the transition to online delivery, it’s good to have a solid reputation behind you. There’s even the data to prove it with 84% trusting online reviews as much as a personal recommendation.
Open your digital record of hotel reviews and feedback to find the most flattering ones to promote. If your kitchen has been repeatedly praised for their amazing burgers, make sure you tell your customers.
Keep Staff Informed, Organised, and Connected
It’s difficult to change your property’s focus, even temporarily. Re-prioritizing F&B operations more towards delivery can involve a lot of challenges. The best way of addressing them is through strong staff coordination. Staff need to be clear on their responsibilities, have a good understanding of the workflow, and stay in near-constant communication.
Rather than relying on a combination of texts, calls and emails, unify communication on a single hotel communication platform. Staff will no longer have to scroll through text conversations for info or interrupt their workflow to answer calls. All conversations, notifications, and information can be quickly accessed in the palm of their hands.
What have you got to lose?
There are plenty of challenges on the path towards refocusing your F&B services towards delivery. But hotels around the world are proving that they can rise to meet this unprecedented occasion. As the saying goes, ‘the comeback is always greater than the setback’, so, why not try?