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Have you ever craved something other than what's on the mundane room service menu while pacing around your hotel suite? Ever wish you could instantly have hot pizza, sushi or tex-mex delivered right to your door? Ordering food delivery directly to your hotel room just got easier!
Several US chains, such as Whyndam and IHG, are experimenting with hotel food delivery. In the latest PhocusWire and iSeatz study, "Future of Room Service and Loyalty", they delve into this topic.
“Traditional room service remains a popular option for in-room dining, and is used by over two thirds (67%) of travelers. Although comparatively new, ordering from third-party food delivery platforms is rapidly catching up, with 62% of respondents having used such a service while traveling over the past year."
Many have raised the question: why do travelers order food delivery at hotels?
There's a perception that room service is too expensive while, on the contrary, food delivery is cheap. However, as studies reveal, it’s not just a question of money. "For travelers, food is an integral part of their overall travel experience." Trying new dishes and local cuisines make a trip more memorable for visitors. Food delivery offers travelers the opportunity to sample local restaurants and foods - directly from their hotel room.
It’s no surprise that food and food-related experiences are a top priority for tourists. This theme aligns with the results from a recent study released by Travel Appeal. We uncovered the latest trends about tourism experiences in our hometown: Florence, Italy. After analyzing more than 80,000 online reviews about museums, attractions and tours, we found that food tastings and cooking courses were the most reviewed and requested experiences over 2018.
For many, room service is synonymous with underwhelming food options, while food delivery brings to mind feelings of choice and comfort.
"It’s clear that the world of in-room dining is changing. Today’s digitally enabled customers have different expectations as to how best satisfy their hunger while traveling and traditional room service, with all its formality, is increasingly looking outdated."
In this scenario, hotels that wish to remain competitive must keep up with the preferences of travelers and be open to integrating services that they would never have considered before.
It’s essential for hoteliers to understand guest needs and not only meet, but exceed their expectations. This includes taking advantage of new trends and upselling additional services.
The first step of this process is to always “listen” to what guests are saying online and continuously monitor customer reviews. This is invaluable in understanding, in detail, what guests really think of your hotel, what the main aspects they appreciate are, the biggest challenges they face and what you could improve.
The second step is to provide guests with the ability to communicate with the hotel, in the fastest and simplest way possible. Best Western Italy, for example, has decided to invest in an innovative, tailor-made mobile chatbot designed by Travel Appeal that offers 24-hour customer support. Travelers use it both to ask for information and while purchasing additional services. In turn, Best Western Italy can deeply know their guests and improve their offer.
With the increasing desire for food delivery and hotel integration, creating a partnership with food delivery companies may just be the new way to not only exceed customer’s expectations, but also to differentiate your hotel from other accommodations in the area. This competitive advantage could allow your hotel to achieve a higher market position and uncover new profit-generating strategies.