Room service is changing – and that’s a good thing

I recently attended a meeting with fellow resort industry executives and one of the topics of discussion was the evolution of room service. Room service is a necessary evil, as many guests expect and continue to take advantage of the offering, but from an operations perspective, the cost of service is quite high.  

Room service has always competed with Domino’s Pizza, as evidenced by the Domino’s delivery person frequently seen carrying boxes through hotel lobbies. But now, hotels have multiple competitors, such as UberEets and DoorDash, that will deliver meals from a variety of restaurants right to guest room doors.

Room service is changing and frankly, it needs to. The average consumer does not want to pay a premium price for a standard hotel meal, just to have the privilege of dining in the privacy of their room.

In an effort to elevate and simplify the in-room dining experience, hotels have started offering room service menus from their celebrity-chef restaurants while others are moving towards grab-and-go concepts or mini-markets that will deliver food to guest rooms. Even remote resorts that don’t have competition are starting to look at grab-and-go concepts with a delivery option, as fewer guests are ordering traditional room service and more and more want the ease and instant gratification of a simpler option. 

The Wall Street Journal recently published an article titled “The Room-Service Revolution,” which I thought was very interesting, as it described how room service is adapting to new technology and customer habits. 

The article highlights the changing guest expectations that are transforming room service as we know it. It appears that an industry-wide room service overhaul will happen fairly quickly, as hotels are motivated to retain the in-room dining revenue stream and guests have a variety of other dining options at their fingertips.

What do you think the future of room service will look like?