Room service at your hotel can be one of the trickiest parts of the business to get right.
NB: This is an article from SiteMinder
It’s something guests expect to have on offer, and they can get easily disappointed if the experience doesn’t meet their expectations. Room service is also not always easy to convert into a profitable exercise for your property, as there can be high operating costs and expenses involved.
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Audit what you are selling on your room service menus
The first step to maximising your room service revenue is to remove or reduce items that don’t sell, optimise items that do sell well, and think about what you can add to further increase sales.
Of course, this needs to be based on key data, rather than gut feelings or casual observations.
- Look at your records for the past year or two and identify best and worst sellers for both food and beverage in that time period
- Next look at seasonality to see if there are any significant differences between when certain items are ordered
- Then look at external data from the industry and hotels that profile similar to yours, to see what items are proving popular
- Lastly, reconfigure your menu based on your research to ensure high demand items are on offer, and update this when required at different times of the year
An example of data you might look at was done by SuitePad, which indicated burgers were the most popular room service food amongst all hotels, while pasta dishes were the least popular. It also found that while orange juice was easily the most popular beverage for leisure hotels and resorts, it finished a long last for city hotels. This could be due to the fact that leisure or regional hotels offer fresh, local, produce.
So, as you can see there’s no blanket approach that will prove fruitful. As with most aspects of a hotel business, your room service strategy needs to be specific to your property, location, and also your guests. City guests are going to want great coffee early in the morning, while boutique guests may prefer freshly squeezed fruit juice at brunch.
Another way to audit your room service is to encourage guest feedback via reviews, comment cards, or suggestion boxes to see what guests enjoy and what they’d like to see next time.
Improve the way you sell and deliver
If your room service menu isn’t performing as you’d expect, perhaps it’s a case of improving the overall experience and offering something a little special to pique the interest of your guests.
For instance, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic many hotels had to change the way they approached room service and guest experience in general.
Forbes looked at some examples which included Carneros Resort in Napa adding plum wine dispensers to rooms and The Houstonian Hotel, Club and Spa turning its ballroom into a theatre for 26 couples at appropriately spaced two-seat tables. In another case Ocean House in Rhode Island brought happy hour to the guests, with a cocktail cart rolling around between 5 and 7pm.
Sometimes you only need to offer one unique item and guests will be more interested in your entire menu, and will be inclined to spend more for a special experience.