Whether it’s an inviting F&B offering, children’s programming, or a spotlight on health and fitness, how hotels respond to changing guest needs will determine its profitability.
At TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Barcelona held at the AC Hotel Barcelona Forum on June 27, esteemed panelists agreed that planning ahead in this regard produces a good return on investment, highlighting how amenities should be considered before building the hotel.
Some amenities seem more important than others, but ultimately the investor will need to select those that they believe will appeal to their target clientele.
“I wish we had been called sooner,” says Kate Dicker, senior consultant at Worldwide Kids, which – among other things – provides childcare services to the hospitality industry.
She says investors often ask her to provide their services at already operating kids’ clubs. “It can be very expensive because spaces are not properly designed for children and often have to be redesigned,” Dicker said.
She shared that a kids’ club can increase hotel occupancy by up to 15%, providing a good return on investment from just one amenity in the hotel. “If parents know their children are being properly cared for, there will also be increased spending on spa, catering and other facilities,” Dicker said, “So ultimately the overall return on investment is higher than expected.”
Matt Aspiotis Morley, founder of nature-inspired gyms Biofit Health & Fitness, says he’s lucky to work in a niche market where he’s often called upon early in the hotel design process. “More often than not, we manage to design the gymnasium in a way that brings together the different proposals from owners, investors and operators,” Morley said.
However, it’s not easy to get investors to view commodities as an experience, as sometimes commodities are devalued and labeled as “unimportant”, he said.
Although in general there is more recognition of the importance of the role of F&B in hospitality, Heleri Rande, panel moderator and F&B strategist, said an important factor to consider is that F&B is a market agile and changing.
“It’s true that catering accounts for 40% of a hotel’s revenue, but there is still a lot to do,” recognizes Jose Antonio Castro, director of catering at Hotel Investment Partners.
“Everything must be coherent; each hotel must have a coherent and unifying F&B strategy,” he said, emphasizing that the concept must be inspired by the history of a place and also by the amenities.
Sonal Uberoi, Founder and Director of Wellness at Spa Balance Consulting, shared that a lot has changed in the wellness and spa industry over the past decade. On the one hand, hotel developers are finally thinking about spas at the right stages of hotel development.
“Spas are expensive to build and if they are poorly executed, there is no return on investment. That’s why now we are called early,” says Uberoi.
“Once the equipment is properly installed and the right staff are in place, spas are very well received by customers. The challenge is that the concept has to be well thought out,” she added.