Food tourism is a popular topic these days. The trend reflects the desire of modern travelers to connect with local customs and experiences, whether it’s an ice cream trail in Maryland or something more exotic like food tours of Lima, Perú. Even President Obama is getting in on it, having recently enjoyed a local meal in Hanoi with Anthony Bourdain.
For hoteliers who have a restaurant, it’s an ideal time to evaluate how food can meet the desire of the modern traveler for something more experiential and locally immersive. In a competitive market, it’s also necessary for a hotel to consider not just the quality of their rooms and ratings on review sites, but also how to position their value based on their property amenities. Hoteliers need to consider how they can create unique guest experiences to differentiate their hotels from competitors with similar offerings.
Recent research shows that food and beverage (F&B) can be a significant revenue driver for independent, boutique hotels. According to CBRE, “independent boutique hotels achieved greater growth in F&B revenue, which led to loftier increases in total revenue….Net operating income…increased at a compound annual growth rate of 23.1% compared to a 12.6% NOI growth rate for all full-service properties.”
The rise of food tourism presents independent hotels with an opportunity to connect guests to local culinary experiences and increase their total revenue and income. Even hotels without restaurants can capitalize on food tourism by partnering with local farmer’s markets. By providing unique local guest experiences, hotels can differentiate their properties in today’s competitive hospitality market. A winning combination, and one which hoteliers should highlight for prospective guests as well as gather feedback on during and following their stays.