Hotel happy hours used to bring in the hordes to drink and eat as much as they could at cheap prices. Now it seems that the pendulum is swinging the other way as more bar managers are developing premium priced signature drinks to lure in guests as well as local customers.
A December report by the consulting firm Technomic showed hotel operators forecast 4.4 percent growth in their food and beverage sales in 2014. "Of the segments we track, hotel operators are among the most optimistic," said Donna Hood Crecca, the senior director for the adult beverage resource group at Technomic.
"A number of hotel and lodging operations such as Fairmont, Marriott and Kimpton now offer unique drink menus including signature cocktails along with extensive spirits, wine and beer selections. It's clear some hotels are prioritizing adult beverages as a way to differentiate their properties and drive traffic and sales," added Hood Crecca.
"Hotel operators see opportunity in adult beverages," observes her colleague David Henkes, Vice President at Technomic and leader of its Adult Beverage Practice. "A creative and operationally-sound drink program executed across the various outlets of a hotel property can add both value and enhanced experience elements for guests, as well as high-profit sales, all of which are particularly important in this challenging environment."
Return to a by-gone era?
Before Prohibition, the hot spots for cocktail innovation were at the big-city hotels, such as the original Waldorf, The Plaza, the Hoffman House and the Knickerbocker. After Prohibition, the alcohol industry was run by the gangsters and all those bartender craft skills were lost.