As new, disruptive platforms like Airbnb launch and grow in popularity, it begins to put a strain on the hotel industry.
One of the main sources of revenue for hotels is bookings. But here in the digital age, there are more alternative lodging options available to the consumer than ever before.
Travelers may not enjoy the same amenities and benefits of staying at a hotel when they book a stay at a stranger’s home, but they get to save money and experience the local flavor at a more immediate level.
Per Hotel Management, however, Airbnb guests have spent $4.5 billion US in the past year on restaurants and dining out. Airbnb further elaborated that 64% of guests who saved money with them spent more on food and shopping.
Can hotels begin to re-monetize the Airbnb audience by appealing to them with enticing food and beverage offers?
F&B: A Missed Opportunity?
Many hotels have restaurants and food services on-site.
Per Statistic Brain, full-service hotels, on average, make $35,935 from their rooms per day. Average revenue from F&B is roughly half that amount at $16,445. But it still represents the second biggest source of revenue for most hotels. Unfortunately, limited-service hotels do not offer F&B, and do not have a significant secondary source of revenue to make up the difference.
It’s not hard to see how important F&B revenue is (and how important it’s becoming). As it stands now, it’s difficult for hotels to diversify and pursue other sources of income. Bookings and F&B account for most of their earnings, though both full-service and limited-service hotels tend to have other minor sources of income.
With Airbnb on the rise, it’s time for hotels to carefully evaluate whether F&B needs to be prioritized more heavily than in the past. It’s clear that Airbnb guests are spending more, especially on eating out, which means hotels can tap into this audience to boost their F&B earnings.
The tricky part is in delivering a standout food and beverage experience. There is plenty of competition in the restaurant and food industry, so unless hotels can compete on price, convenience, or quality, and prioritize the right strategies, it may prove an uphill battle to capture a larger segment of this audience.
But there is a silver lining. Hotel Management indicates that consumers are beginning to move away from fast-food and convenience stores and towards fast-casual, casual-dining, and fine-dining.
How Do Hotels Boost Their F&B Revenue?
Listings on OTAs, online reviews, and SEO is fast becoming par for the course for any hotel that’s looking to maintain their online visibility. So, what else can hotels do to maximize their F&B earnings?
Here are a couple of ways to attract more dining customers:
- Connect with travelers on social media. On Twitter, you can see in real time who is looking for somewhere to eat in your locality. In general, travelers are more open to suggestion than locals. By engaging them personally and helping them make their decision (in a non-intrusive way), you may be able to gain more F&B customers.
- Boost your mobile presence. Many travelers use Google and other apps on their smartphones to find places eat, and the key term “near me” is fast becoming an SEO opportunity for all brick-and-mortar businesses (as in “restaurants near me”). In addition, utilizing ads can help you boost your restaurant’s visibility, particularly if you aren’t ranking in search the way you’d like. Evaluate your current mobile presence, and improve upon it if it isn’t up to snuff.
Times are changing. But instead of cursing the darkness, forward-looking hotels should look for ways to tap into the opportunities as they present themselves. If you offer a service people want, and your customers keep coming back for it, you’ll remain relevant even in these tumultuous times.