We have always seen the value in not only attending conferences, but also in actively participating in them. Having recently declared our support as a sponsor for the inaugural Global Restaurant Investment Forum, taking place in March 2014 in Dubai, we see our investment as an opportunity to connect with brilliant hospitality professionals from all over the world who share the same passion we do for hotel F&B spaces.
What do we hope to gain from participating in conferences? We hope to walk away having felt inspired or having inspired someone, with the bonus being a discussion about the opportunities for hoteliers in bolstering F&B spaces.
Having just returned from a few conferences over the past several months, I’m reminded of a missing link — the hotel F&B conversation and focus. While each conference is unique in its purpose and intended target audience, the point of these conferences generally is the business of hotels (RevPAR, rates and occupancy). Seldom is food and beverage a part of the discussion, even though in many hotels these days, income from F&B can be as substantial or greater than that from rooms. These conferences bring together a group of influencers to challenge the current hospitality model and to create solutions for current obstacles. What I have noticed is the opportunity to place greater emphasis and attention upon the F&B spaces and the value they bring to hotels. F&B spaces have the potential to be a major revenue source, and it’s up to us to give the conversation a stronger presence in the hospitality industry.
A prime example of missed F&B opportunities lies in the airport hospitality space. This November, I will be giving the keynote address to attendees of the Airports Council International-North America. While developing my speech, I’ve read countless articles that appear to tell the same story: airports must increase their focus on non-aviation revenues. Additionally, increasing local brands in airport F&B can increase sales. The F&B space is a significant profit center.
In another area, our Marketing + PR Director Jacob Cross will be speaking on a panel at the North America Hotel Investment Conference this month that will center upon the trend in the hotel space of removing room service in the hopes of benefitting the bottom line. We have a great opportunity here to address the importance of the F&B space and to work with industry leaders to develop rewarding solutions — solutions that are not punitive to guests, but those that provide a level of convenience and service to enhance the feelings toward the hotel.
I’d love to hear your thoughts.