It seems no matter where you travel these days that hotels have heard the cry for decent coffee. In-room service has moved away from those suspect pots, which may or may not have been properly cleaned, to single shot service. Feels a little safer, cleaner, better. After all a package with an upscale signature such as Wolfgang Puck, can motivate you to at least try it. Maybe you’ll use two packets, but either way there’s a sense of security and control!
When you stay at a mid-tier property, and you hear the restaurant server explain that the coffee is “a little better, a little stronger, more like Starbucks,” you know what to expect. Actually, it’s a matter of what the hotel company has heard: Stop pouring the weak stuff. I can water it down if it’s too strong, but it can’t work the other way. Whether changes were made due to consumer response or survey responses or just plain common sense, the reason remains less important than the reality. Starting the day, or in my case at any point of the day, with a decent cup of coffee makes a difference.
Maybe this is all part of the renewed and improved market for business travelers. Now that they are back on the road, it seems each of the hotel brands is ready to do some upscaling to grab that important market segment. With smart work from a hotel’s sales staff, leisure travel, likewise, has all the appearances of getting a bounce. If there are few other signs of economic improvement, these are noteworthy.
Not just the coffee service but the whole breakfast scene is being revitalized. The days of a sweet roll and a cup of coffee are moving further into the annals of hotel hopping. Hyatt just announced they are reworking their Summerfield Suites and rebranding them as Hyatt House, a brand that will offer a variety of comforting selections including made-to-order breakfasts. That feature is a big drawing card for almost any guest. From a hotel perspective, it’s a newly vital component of the brand message. Look at how well the Bistro concept works for the Courtyard franchise.
If you are paying over $500 a night for a room, your concerns include a good quality restaurant with a menu that addresses a wide-range of tastes and allows for substitutions. Yet if your stay is more moderate as in the under $200 a night category, a made-to-order breakfast becomes a positive plus in overall decision-making. The word “complimentary” has a smart marketing ring to it!
A decent cup of coffee and a hot breakfast are two important trends making their way through the moderate, mid-priced hotel industry. All segments of the traveling public seem responsive to this type of positive change. Now just stop charging for wi-fi and you’ve got a friend!