Cocktails are back, in a big way and this time there is no limits to the creativity of the concoctions as the cocktail culture incorporates the diverse flavours of a destination. Today’s hotel guests expect an immersive cocktail experience coupled with a beverage menu boasting more than just wine and beer.
So the hotel cocktail bar concept is a perfect vehicle to maximise on this new trend and opportunity, if done with premium spirits and ingredients, innovative recipes and creative presentation by a skilled bartender and crew.
The wow factor that guests get when their concoction is put in front of them in fancy glasses is clearly an Instagram moment.
Guests are now determining where they want to stay based on where they want to drink while socialising and are looking for several options to get their night started.
The first step is to get patrons through the door as customers will not simply wander in without a nudge. Ideally, the cocktail bar captures at least 75% of hotel guests, who will purchase at least a drink or two. As hoteliers, it’s our job to capitalise on that demand in order to drive the bottom line.
With a little creativity, the cocktail bar concept can become a significant revenue centre for the hotel. Here’s how:
A sense of place
These house guests want the bar to have a sense of place so it needs to make them feel at home as if they are at their favourite local pub. And to attract the local surrounding residents who will provide the heartbeat, it would be a good idea if the bar’s interior oozed neighbourhood vibes. Besides the bar interior design, the beverage selection should also reflect the location of the venue. Hotel guests are drawn to these menu items because they can’t be experienced anywhere else, providing them with the “hometown” flavours they crave.
Grow your own
Consider growing your own herbs telling a story of how your fresh herbs make their way into cocktails. In addition to saving money, guests love to hear the story of how the greens were grown on property. You can’t get much more local than that.
Explore and experiment
Make sure that travellers can explore and experiment with unfamiliar flavours, and make sure that your local patrons feel at home because they can drink their favourite local ‘bevvie’ which they absolutely love.
To entice guests or make them aware of the hotel bar, give away a welcome drink. A free sample instantly builds the relationship between the hotel team and guests, inspiring patrons to enjoy the full cocktail experience on their own that evening. During cocktail hours serve out snacks for free to keep your guests in the bar drinking.
Make ‘grazing’ possible
Once you capture customers at the bar, you want to keep them there. The longer they are in your bar, the more they will spend. Hotel bars offering light bites have an opportunity to steal the first course from the restaurant guests may be attending after a visit to the hotel bar. Have a short snack menu available, a limited choice of savoury plates that guests can have to themselves, but that also lend themselves to sharing among friends.
First of all, your turnover increases, secondly these patrons that are peckish can satisfy their craving, thirdly the patron might decide to have a couple of more small plates and just skip dinner altogether, and fourthly, we as operators are being responsible, and not letting our patrons fill themselves up with alcohol without having solids on offer.
So here is that opportunity to turn around your hotel bar – it’s a no brainer really.