I read this hospitality article last week with great interest: https://eat-drink-sleep.com/2019/10/01/out-of-touch-hotel-restaurants-lack-relevance-today-as-only-5-of-room-bookings-are-influenced-by-on-site-restaurants/
In the sixties, there were generally only hotel dining rooms to eat in. Even Chinese restaurants were still very few and far between.
Nowadays the choice is very much greater, even in the smaller towns and villages.
London and other major cities obviously have very different markets.
In the bigger cities, hotels are increasingly asking celebrity chefs to run their entire F&B facilities, or sometimes just the food offering in the hotel’s main restaurant. Celebrity chefs have to work with a full team, and so there are high costs involved. A higher food bill might influence a customer against a celebrity chef offering. That is, the perception is that it will be expensive though it isn’t always relatively so expensive.
Let us make no mistake here. Running any F&B operation is hard work, very expensive to run, and can often be a thankless task for no or little profit return.
This is due in the main to the long hours needed to cover all services, and the increasing labour costs imposed.
There is a lot of choice of the high street, and that is why the existence of a restaurant in an hotel where you are staying is now no longer so important.
Customers actually WANT a bit of variety, and a change of scenery.
The research referred to in the article implies that this in-hotel restaurant provision is only relevant to 5% of the hotel-venue decision-makers.
It is, of course, a very different matter in more rural locations … where in-hotel dining facilities are almost essential to get the accommodation booking.
My own opinion, from personal experience, is that it is the level of hospitality/customer service/welcome that ultimately sways the ‘’where to eat’’ decision. The ability to stay in the hotel building, and maybe then be able to freely enjoy a glass of wine with Dinner – that matters too.
The increasing difficulty of finding a parking space if you drive to an alternate dining venue would also be relevant … as would losing the space you may have struggled to get at the hotel itself.
It is no longer all about being “posh” either. The modern version of the Budget Hotel can teach us a lot about what works and what doesn’t … as they have the weight of much more data, statistics, and feedback to be able to analyse their service offerings. I have recently experienced some phenomenal – even awesome – Customer Service in a budget hotel environment. So good, that I would be looking for an excuse to go back to that Budget Hotel. Well done to Whitechapel Ibis Budget Hotel … what a way to do it … they deserve much praise.