With social distancing being top of mind for most people, room service popularity has been on the rise. What used to be considered a premium service is now hailed for its convenience and safety. Research by PWC showed that 86% of guests are ready to pay more for great customer experience with up to 18% for luxury and indulgence services. We think the percentage is likely to be even higher, since what once considered a luxury service is now a necessity for maintaining social distancing.
In this blog we identify 5 ways, or rather, trends that are on the rise, for hotels and resorts to increase revenue by re-thinking the room service.
1. Ease and simplicity rule.
Who doesn’t like having everything they need right at their fingertips?
What we’ve found is that by making services as readily accessible and plainly obvious as possible, guests tend to spend more thanks to a frictionless experience. At SLS Lux Brickell hotel in downtown Miami, every guest is greeted by a welcome note upon entering the room. It has a readily accessible QR code that guests can scan to open an ordering site in their phone browser to order. They can have see menus and food pictures of all on-premise bars and restaurants on that site. From there they can either pre-order for scheduled pickup or delivery, or order instantly, and pay directly on their phone.
This service made it much easier for guests to order on-premise food and beverage without having to make phone calls, and offer all the information guests need to place an order right in front of them. As the hotel manager at SLS Lux Brickell said: “[This mobile ordering service] is the last puzzle piece in our operations.”
2. Adopt dynamic pricing.
Dynamic pricing can be used to offer different prices based on demand type and period. As with rooms, price fences can be used to differentiate between services/products and segment customers into appropriate rate categories based on their willingness to pay.
The good news is, you can easily adjust prices and other information such as name, description, availability etc. on the fly within the Manager Portal. And once guests scan the QR code to open the ordering page, they will see the latest updates reflected on their phone.
The use of promotions during low periods should ensure variable costs are covered. Cost control is vital to increase contribution margin, especially during a low period. Your aim should be to minimize expenses by adapting the food offer, reducing staff and restricting hours.
3. Contactless delivery and real-time guest support.
When guests check out for room service, they have the choice to have the order delivered to a room, table, cabana, pool…or any designated location on premise. That means you don’t even need to limit such premium services to room service only. Depending on your property’s layout and services, our customer success manager can help you configure the platform that fits your operations.
We also have a complimentary Delivery App that servers can download to get assigned delivery orders, mark orders as done after delivery, chat with guests for support and receive tips in app. All products within the system automatically communicates with each other so the kitchen, guest and servers are all on the same page regarding order details, customer information and order progress. This drastically cuts down labor cost and time needed for coordination.
4. Offer unique menu options.
While you want to offer high-end meals fit for a VIP experience, a wide variety of options help you cater to all kinds of palates. The Daily Meal surveyed hotel publicists to find out the most popular room service items. While crab cakes and lobster rolls made the top 13, most items were comfort food like pancakes, pizza and burgers.
If you use a digital ordering platform like FanFood, that can be easily achieved by setting up different stores or menu tabs for different types of cuisines. For example, you can create separate stores for fine dining food options, breakfast items, or items specifically for room service etc. Use our flexible and customizable platform to tailor the configuration for your operations. Our customers success team has worked hands-on with all our partners to suggest tips that help them increase revenue and provide a better guest experience in app.
5. Improve service efficiencies.
In Room Service-The Need for Speed and Beyond, the Executive Vice President of Product and Innovation for the Four Seasons brand mentioned a new program that Four Seasons created a few years ago focusing on achieving fast room service delivery (within 15-20 minutes) mostly for business travelers. Today, this program amounts to about 20% of the brand’s room service business, going beyond the business traveler to include transient guests and children.Standard room service, needed by business travelers, is challenged by delivery time.
Given the lower traffic these days, while kitchens are unlikely overwhelmed by order volumes, it’s important to train your hotel kitchen staff on better systems that improve service speed before travel returns to normal.
If your guest places a digital order by scanning a QR code, the order will arrive straight at the kitchen, thus already shortening the time needed for a server to communicate order details in a written or verbal format. From there, the staff will b using our corresponding Manager Portal to track and fulfill orders. The order preparation status is automatically communicated to the guest via in the app, so the staff don’t have to worry about impatient guests wondering when they’ll get the order.
Even at a high volume, high traffic and high stress setting like a crowded sports event, this system works fantastically to reduce wait time by up to 75%. Below is a short video demo of what that process looks like at a crowded stadium to illustrate the idea:
We’re more than happy to help you take a look at your current operations and suggest ways for improvement. Please fill out the form on fanfood.app/demo to:
1. See a customized demo for your venue
2. Discuss whether you need a mobile ordering solution
3. Learn about different pricing plans
4. Ask any questions!