Mr. Acton

Food & Beverage

Eat, Drink and Boost Your Revenues

By Scott Acton, CEO and Founder, Forté Specialty Contractors

Co-authored by Kimberly Trueba, senior leadership team at Forté Specialty Contractors

In recent years, the hotel industry has seen a shift in revenue streams that it is eating up. While gaming revenue was once king in Las Vegas, it has now been overtaken by the food and beverage (F&B) segment. According to Moody's Financial Services, in Las Vegas specifically, non-gaming revenue has now easily surpassed gambling revenue, making up between 55 percent to 65 percent of total revenues with hotel, with F&B spending representing the largest non-gaming income streams. Thanks to millennials, along with growing numbers of more discerning consumers, a shift in consumer desires has affected the way those in the hotel industry think, build and design. Consumers now demand and expect a fully immersive and experiential outing when they eat, drink and "make merry."

Due to this shift, the strategies the hotel and hospitality industry are using to attract said consumers are getting increasingly creative. From an all-senses-engaging dinner in a luxe restaurant, to an interactive evening involving tableside meal prep and cooking, the hotel industry is taking advantage of the F&B revenues to be had. By offering meaningful and engaging F&B options, hotels are cashing in on repeat guests and attracting more new visitors than ever. In Las Vegas, there is a sense of competition between individual F&B venues within the same hotel, providing customers with various experiences that add perceived value to their stay and address diverse guest and visitor expectations.

The best way for hotels to differentiate these F&B venues is through creating immersive, experiential concepts which leave guests coming back for more. All of this appeal starts with the façade and design of the venue itself. As a result, hotels are directing more attention toward the aesthetics, design, materials and scale of the venues, so consumers not only want to be there, but keep coming back. The growing number of unique and well-constructed F&B venues offering tactile, multi-sensory experiences through design is attracting greater numbers of guests and the general public, which translates directly into improved hotel earnings.

The Aria Resort & Casino in Las Vegas is a good example of a larger-scale property that has been highly successful in demonstrating this approach. Aria contains approximately 4,004 hotel rooms; however, through the careful selection of design materials and thoughtful placement of various dining and entertainment options throughout the resort, Aria still manages to feel intimate and personalized. Also, the wide and diverse selection of F&B choices add perceived value to guests' stay, since one could avail themselves of anything from a coffee shop lounge, to a global fusion buffet, on up to a luxurious, tableside service dinner. Because F&B is such a competitive field with different expectations for every target audience, hotels are creating a variety of these options, each with their own custom concepts. Regardless of the F&B options presented - fast food, coffee shops, family-style sit-down restaurants, fine dining, lounges, pubs/bars and nightclubs - the key is to implement a concept that can be perceived by all of guests' senses throughout.

Take Bardot Brasserie for example. Bardot is a French fine-dining establishment with a modern twist, located in Aria. Built by Forté Specialty Contractors, Bardot is an excellent example of an all-senses-engaging, foodie experience. With lighting inspired by early film noir, Bardot's mix of low lighting and dramatic shadows sets the mood for guests. Whether you are simply walking by, or walking into the restaurant, there is no doubt Bardot's striking bar with polished brass shelving and up-lighting is attention-grabbing. With a wall that opens to the hotel's main second floor walkway, the bar creates a sense of social engagement among the guests and visitors walking through Aria, helping to draw additional guests in. Throughout Bardot, the use of textures, tactile materials, visual aesthetics and ambient lighting draws guests and casual visitors alike. All of these sensory tactics, paired with the restaurant's exceptional menu and specialty cocktails, makes Bardot a one-of-a-kind experience.

Across the way from Bardot you can find Carbone, another Forté-built, Italian-American restaurant also located within Aria. Carbone's design pays homage to the New York, Italian-American restaurants of the 1950s, which was an era of glamour, entertainment and service. A play on the idea of a restaurant as a theatre, Carbone's focus is on creating a multi-sensory experience. The waiters - known as "captains" - don burgundy tuxedos, mirroring the fashion during the late 1950s, and provide tableside meal preparations and entertainment for guests.

All elements of the Carbone experience have been carefully curated - everything from the furnishings, to the dishes, to the era-specific music brings Carbone's unique atmosphere to life, transporting guests to a different era. The restaurant was "glitzed-up" for Las Vegas and includes three separate rooms, all crafted to embrace their own personality. Pops of red within the opera-style booths and chairs are complimented by gold booth seating and a one-of-a-kind, vintage Venini chandelier which was imported from a car dealership in Italy and installed in the center of the main dining area. Within the blue-themed room, subway tile flooring reinforces the "New York" theme, and gold leaf-accented mahogany wood lines the room. Additionally, specialty coffers were designed and installed to allow for special lighting features which added to the ambiance. A third dining area was created with black and white patterned walls, balanced by sleek black chairs, chandeliers throughout and gold curtains which can be closed to create a private dining experience. With the period décor, paired with the tableside meal preparations, guests find themselves immersed in a completely different world during their dining experience.

When it comes to the multi-sensory experience, not one sense is more important than another; rather, each of the senses must work together to create an experience. However, sight, touch and sound are key in the design and construction process. In regards to sight, lighting is crucial to creating the venue's ambiance and vibe, and it is relatively simple to adjust the brightness, dimness and color to adapt. Additionally, visual imagery such as artwork and other décor can help set the tone for the guest. Sound - whether it is through music or simply the venue's acoustics - can also help set the mood and draw people in, boosting guest and visitor experience. For example, bright acoustics attract people and create an energetic atmosphere, while soft acoustics create a greater degree of intimacy. When a number of multi-sensory features are coupled with a mouthwatering menu, the results are more than positive. This kind of adventurous dining means more word-of-mouth publicity, amazing reviews on Yelp! and repeat customers. The payoff is, of course, higher profitability for both the restaurant and the hotel in which it resides as the hotel benefits from the boosted numbers of guests walking through its doors to get to their F&B destination of choice.

Today's up-and-coming purchasers aren't only interested in the end destination, but the "journey" getting there. They want to be wowed along the way, which is where a feast for the senses comes into play. Social settings that crop up en route to the target destination offer endless possibilities for guests to stop along the way to partake and explore. Another important portion of the F&B industry includes pubs, lounges, bottle service clubs, taverns and bars. These venues may see their customers return several times per day, while featuring a greater turnover of visitors from the general public. Much like Bardot's bar area, many restaurants are incorporating "lounge" atmospheres at the edge of restaurants to improve the quality of customer experience, helping to foster a social scene outside the restaurant to attract passers-by. This also positions the restaurant as a dual-purpose destination as F&B venues which are recognized as social scene among the public, fare much better in terms of profits and revenues. Once again, all of this leads to better financial results for the hotel itself.

To lure and engage consumers during their vacations, staycations and meals, building construction has taken a theatrical turn. Through materials presented, nearly every stroll has the potential to become a visual and tactile adventure. No material is too strange, rare or off-limits when it comes to the new all-immersive hotel experience. Cocobolo wood, crystals, hemp, Venetian glass, extravagant floral arrangements and living walls beckon guests on their way to their F&B scene of choice. When hotels present these architectural details in their design, one cannot help but be intrigued enough to stop, gaze and wander. Since Aria boasts 16 restaurants, which include three celebrity chefs and 10 bars/clubs, the chance of guests suddenly "realizing" how hungry and thirsty they've become greatly increases.

Aria is just one of many hotels on the Las Vegas Strip which features a prime selection of F&B options. While walking through the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, one can see miles of restaurants in and around the hotels, accompanied by bright, neon lights, color and loud music which create both formal and informal social gatherings, complete with interaction and a shared sense of fun. On the flip side, there are pockets of subdued lighting, neutral colors and ambient music to create a sense of intimacy and mystery, meaning there is a little something for anyone in Las Vegas.

With current positive trends in F&B design and service, profitability for the hotel industry is now relying more on this prominent source of revenue than even occupancy taxes, as in the past. The direction that current hospitality and broader economic trends are headed will continue to ensure that F&B remains an increasing source of revenue for hotels and resorts in the years to come.

alt text
Kimberly Trueba co-authored this article. Kimberly Trueba is a member of the senior leadership team at Forté Specialty Contractors, a Las Vegas-based construction company specializing in creating out-of-the-box, experiential venues within the hospitality, restaurant, retail and entertainment industries. Throughout her career, she has lead project teams, fostered career-long relationships with numerous owners, developers, hotel executives, contractors, architects and designers, and has been responsible for directing the design and management teams for a number of highly acclaimed developments for some of the world's most recognized companies. After graduating with a bachelor's degree in interior architecture from Kansas State University, Kimberly kicked off her career with Disney Development Company and Walt Disney Imagineering in Florida, managing the creative and technical talent for hotel, retail and food and beverage projects for 10 years. Ms. Trueba has also served as a leader in working with international hospitality clients and hoteliers, such as Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts and Wynn Resorts. After deciding to pursue a different challenge and expand her knowledge base in a new field, Ms. Trueba joined Forté. Now she works with a team of more than 120 professionals comprising builders, architects, engineers, project managers and artists to enhance Forté's design-build practice and support the growth of Forté's core practice areas.

Scott Acton is CEO and founder of Forté Specialty Contractors, built on three generations of creative execution of some of the globe’s iconic experiential spaces. Forté Specialty Contractors in Las Vegas, is a construction firm specializing in the hospitality, restaurant, retail, nightlife and entertainment industries, Mr. Acton is known for tackling some of the most difficult and high profile construction challenges in the industry. Mr. Acton attended “Disney University” where he learned the business and leadership skills needed to build a successful career. In 2002, Mr. Acton started his own company, Trevi Manufacturing. He is a 20-year resident of Las Vegas. Mr. Acton can be contacted at 702-697-2000 or scott@fortedesignbuild.com Please visit http://fortedesignbuild.com/ for more information. Extended Bio...

HotelExecutive.com retains the copyright to the articles published in the Hotel Business Review. Articles cannot be republished without prior written consent by HotelExecutive.com.

Receive our daily newsletter with the latest breaking news and hotel management best practices.
Hotel Business Review on Facebook
RESOURCE CENTER - SEARCH ARCHIVES
General Search:

JUNE: Sales & Marketing: Who Owns the Guest?

Emanuel Baudart

Social media opens the doors to conversations about experiences – good or bad. Twitter gives hotel guests the option to air their grievances while Instagram gives them the bragging rights on their best days. Customers are giving out their feedback and it’s up to the industry to take it seriously in how hotels engage with their guests. A guest’s social media is an opportunity for hotels to work better and more efficiently to target and enhance the guest experience. Coupling the data that guests give through social media with the data we have from years of growing AccorHotels, we are focusing on using the right tools to best access the guest. At AccorHotels, we are moving away from the transactional model of hospitality and focusing on building relationships through social engagement and bolstering the benefits of our loyalty program. In order to do both, we’ve invested in building better tools for our hotels to succeed on the promise of hospitality – great service, attention and comfort. READ MORE

Wendy Blaney

In a world where almost everything is done digitally, it is important to remember how impactful a two-way conversation can be for consumers interested in booking travel. There is no denying that it has become easier and easier to plan trips online, and purchase products almost instantly – yet there are still many customers who want the personal touch and assurance that they truly understand what it is that they are buying. They want someone to provide direction, answer questions, and give them “insider” information. This is especially true for a dynamic destination like Atlantis where there are an abundance of options. Our guests aren’t just interested in a resort, they are seeking a coveted, catered experience. READ MORE

Mustafa Menekse

Though it seems that online travel agencies have been a part of the hotel booking landscape for eons, the reality is that just 25 years ago, brick and mortar travel agencies were the norm. Travelers would visit an agency for trip planning advice, printed brochures, and to speak with actual travel agents to assist in booking airfare, hotel accommodations and rental cars. Travel agencies had the knowledge and information about the destination and, of course, the tools and connections to book hotels and flights to begin with. The support these agencies provided put traveler’s minds at ease, especially for international trips. This was the foundation of why OTAs are in existence. READ MORE

Scott Weiler

A guest of a hotel or chain books with an OTA. Terrific for everyone, right? The OTA is grateful for the transaction, and hopes to get a nice share of that customer’s travel bookings for years to come. The hotel is happy to get a (let’s say) first time guest. Sure, they paid a commission for that booking, but the GM and their team is ready to do their stuff. Which is to say – deliver a great stay experience. Now what? Now it’s a battle of the marketers! READ MORE

Coming Up In The July Online Hotel Business Review




{300x250.media}
Feature Focus
Hotel Spa: Measuring the Results
As the Hotel Spa and Wellness Movement continues to flourish, spa operations are seeking new and innovative ways to expand their menu of services to attract even more people to their facilities, and to and measure the results of spa treatments. Whether it’s spa, fitness, wellness meet guest expectations. Among new developments, there seems to be a growing emphasis on science to define or beauty services, guests are becoming increasingly careful about what they ingest, inhale or put on their skin, and they are requesting scientific data on the treatments they receive. They are open to exploring the benefits of alternative therapies – like brain fitness exercises, electro-magnetic treatments, and chromotherapy – but only if they have been validated scientifically. Similarly, some spas are integrating select medical services and procedures into their operations, continuing the convergence of hotel spas with the medical world. Parents are also increasingly concerned about the health and well-being of their children and are willing to devote time and money to overcome their poor diets, constant stress, and hours spent hunched over computer, tablet and smartphone screens. Parents are investing in wellness-centric family vacations; yoga and massage for kids; mindfulness and meditation classes; and healthy, locally sourced, organic food. For hotel spas, this trend represents a significant area for future growth. Other trends include the proliferation of Wellness Festivals which celebrate health and well-being, and position hotel spas front and center. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.