The changing face of hotels: Guest-facing kitchen, stand out bar offerings and more
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The hotel sector needs to set trends, says Clinton Thom, the general manager of Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront.
He said hotels need to constantly enhance guests experiences, so that they stay ahead of competitors.
“Trends are an exciting way to connect with our visitors and, while we need to keep on top of them, we shouldn’t let them shape us. Not every trend is for us and the ones that we do latch onto won’t always be successful,” he said.
Thom shared 5 ways the hotel industry can create its own trends:
Guests want more from a hotel experience than just a room
He said hotels have to start thinking more out of the box when it comes to the full guest experience.
“Ask questions like: What are you offering above and beyond the room? Do guests have access to other amenities in the hotel? Are there fun things to do while they stay with you?” advised Thom.
Guest-facing kitchen teams
He said guests want to know more about who works behind the scenes in the kitchen.
"They want to see whose culinary delights they are enjoying and they want to know more about our chef and his team. People want to know stories and how certain dishes came to be. They want to put faces to names and dishes, and make meals feel more personal,“ said Thom.
Make the dining experience special
Thom explained that hotels needed to step up when it comes to the overall dining experience, from stand out breakfasts, authentic South African dishes, and other twists.
The bar offerings can’t be mediocre
Bar offerings need to stand out, too.
“Around the world, we have seen how bars and cocktails have become so much more inspired, and guests are demanding more of hotel bars. For us, this has meant investing in our bar team and encouraging them to step out of their comfort zone to explore exciting flavours and combinations,” explained Thom.
He said the team has since come up with delicious cocktails and drinks that keep people coming back for more.
“Make the bar itself a destination for those who live and work in the area, and you will find returning guests enjoying their downtime with you,” said Thom.
Hotels are becoming more popular for celebrations
He said guests normally stay at hotels to mark a celebration.
"As celebrations are smaller right now, people are splurging on their special occasions. So, everything – from birthdays to anniversaries, and more – are being celebrated through hotel stays. For us, it means assisting the guest with celebratory extras for their loved one. We’ve previously filled a room with balloons, set up ’Will you marry me?’ signs, and so much more.
“Even special occasion dining is becoming more popular, with people wanting something unique to mark an occasion,” he added.