21st century Room Service is more demanding than ever. Learn how you can upgrade the room service in your hotel and boost your sales, by following four special tips10 mins read
Room Service has been a key part of the traveller’s luxury hotel experience since its first appearance in 1931 at the then-New York luxury hotel Waldorf Astoria. Over time, however, and more specifically in the early 2000s, room service has become one of the most common services in accommodation, and has ceased to exclusively symbolize luxury.
The increase in the popularity of app-based delivery in the last decade has highlighted the high prices of the room service menu, but also the limited options it offers, with the result that visitors lose interest in this service and look for alternatives – even delivery from third-party delivery applications such as Uber Eats.
The hotel market is closing in on the changing trends, either by upgrading the room service or by integrating third-party channels; just like the example of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, which have partnered with DoorDash for free delivery on over 3,700 properties. Or, by leaving the race, like New York Hilton Midtown Hotel did, which decided to stop offering room service since 2013, due to the low revenue it offers.
At Hotelier Academy, we believe that room service is an integral part of the hotel experience, so we have decided to give you smart tips through this article, on how to boost your room service, increasing your customer’s satisfaction, and improving your hotel’s upselling revenue.
Fully equip your hotel rooms with the necessary spaces and equipment for a complete in-room dining experience, that can even compete with a restaurant
In order to create a complete in-room dining experience, all necessary “elements” must be included within the hotel’s room, a fact that could shape a complete and unique experience. But which are the fundamentals for the optimum in-room dining?
First and foremost, it is important to include a dining table (ideally for up to four people) and designate the area where the customers can enjoy their meal. It is therefore suggested to ask your interior designers to specify their renovation designs in such a way that there is enough space for the in-room dining area, in order to better promote the service. When it comes to a private dining experience, customers expect to be offered a high-end facility that will also follow all health and safety protocols. Therefore, it is very important to provide your customers with special treatment over this. The Room Service staff should set the table at the customer’s presence, and make sure it resembles a dinner table at a nice restaurant. Tablecloths, towels, a fine set of plates and glasses, and even a small table decoration like a vase with fresh flowers, can surely increase the satisfaction and the overall experience.
Set up a special menu with lighter meals that the customer can consume throughout the day
Room Service should promote the philosophy “I can eat whatever I want, wherever I want, and at any time I want“, and this must be reflected in the offered menu. It must have the flexibility to offer dishes that can be consumed throughout the day and in some cases even at night. It is, therefore, important, that the menu includes light meals such as salads, finger food options, and even fast food, and not only ‘restaurant-like’ dishes. In addition, there should be dishes that are consumed quickly for the most ‘hurried’ customers. In other words, it is always advisable to offer an exclusive Room Service menu, and not ‘borrow’ the same menu that you use in your Restaurants or Bars.
A recent SuitePad survey showed that the most preferred and most frequently ordered types of food within hotel rooms are Burgers, which rank first in preference, followed by club sandwiches, french fries, salads, and pasta. You can see the results of the survey in total, or even by hotel type, at this link.
Integrate Technology into Room Service
Did you know that 65% of your hotel guests connect to Wi-Fi within the first seven minutes of entering the room? Technology is an integral part of the hotel experience, and employing it to the benefit of the hotel, is a major issue. In terms of Technology and Room Service, it can greatly facilitate the ordering process for the customer, but also reduce the operational costs.
The paper catalogues in the rooms and the need of customers to call the reception for their order is obsolete. The era of app-based delivery has been here for long and it shows no signs of slowing down. It does not only make it extremely easy for visitors to choose the food they want, but it is also more eco-friendly as a solution. There are already several Delivery applications on the market that offer their services in the hotel industry.
However, this doesn’t mean that third-party apps are the only (or the right) way-to-go. Incorporating concierge tablets in your Rooms (like the ones offered by SuitePad) can help digitalize your menus and facilitate the guests’ communication with the Room Service through click-to-order buttons. In the same context, the TV monitors in your hotel rooms can also feature your menus and promote the guest’s interaction with the hotel, enhancing your room sales even more.
Create Special Promotion Packages that highlight the Room Service experience like Netflix & Chill Evenings
Travellers are always looking for new travel experiences, but this does not mean that they should necessarily be related to the destination. Different experiences can take place within the hotel itself, or even inside their rooms. Of course, it is important to convey this information to your guests, since it could boost your hotel’s revenue streams. And this is exactly what the ‘Room Service Packages’ are for.
For some, Room Service does not seem to offer much experience. But, if we create for instance a package called “Netflix & Chill Evenings“, which would include access to the Netflix service combined with a “finger food dinner” that could be eaten in bed, such as burgers or pizza, and supply the room with soft drinks, popcorn, and more, that could be an interesting promotional act. By applying such practices, we immediately create an experience that many travellers would like to enjoy!
Even the best Room Service needs promotion!
These were four easy ways that can help you upgrade your hotel Room Service. Of course, keep in mind that no matter how good the room service is, it will not work without proper advertising and promotion. Be sure to publish articles that highlight your service in third party media, or even on your hotel blog (if you have one – which you should!). Another way to promote – which is free, is your answers to the reviews, where you can highlight the benefits of your Room Service, and include various in-room experiences tips as well. Finally, it would also be a good idea to have control over what works in your hotel and what doesn’t, and make changes to the menu whenever needed, so that you always keep your customers completely satisfied.
Paris Sklavos is an Authorized Content Developer at Hotelier Academy, and one of the emerging professionals in the field of tourism, specializing in writing travel guides, hotel promoting articles, and educational content for hoteliers. His interaction with the industry over the last six years, having worked with more than 200 hotels and written 100+ travel guides, has given him a complete picture of the industry, and the ability to see through the eyes of the consumer and the hotelier.