Room service is changing in America, is Europe following the Trend?
The Hilton Midtown in New York City hit global hotel headlines last year when it announced it was scrapping room service from the menu. This got a lot of hotel-frequenters on business trips buzzing with questions on privacy and the loss of luxury. But then again, with the changing dining attitudes among hotel goers, it seemed like this was the best decision for the hotel.
Will Europe follow the trend? Here’s the scoop:
What happened in Hilton Midtown?
The Hilton Midtown is NYC’s biggest hotel and is famously known for hosting every American president since John F Kennedy: small wonder that it sets a global standard among hoteliers when it comes to luxury and service. But its latest update, scrapping room service, has got some hoteliers doubting.
According to the hotel, the reason behind the drastic change is lack of customers availing the service. Experts added that the move might be way for the hotel to cut costs, as room service pays high on labour but profits poorly.
What’s the trend?
With competition growing from cheaper but popular choices like Couchsurfing, cozy B&Bs and apartment rentals, a lot of hotels in America are switching to a type of food service that will accommodate the mobile traveller: ‘grab-and-go’ meals.
Five- and four-star hotels across America like Grand Hyatt New York, Four Seasons Washington, DC and Trump Collections Chicago are now adopting cheaper alternatives to room service like snack carts, disposable plates, packed fridges, market-style orders and deliveries and 24-hour convenience marts. These all help to cut expense in hotel service.
Here is what hotels in America are doing:
Silverado Resort and Spa, Napa, California. Their majority golfing clients can now access Grab-n-Go carts with breakfast burritos, coffee, yoghurt parfait and others.
The Embassy Suites Baltimore Downtown. Full room service is still available for picky eaters in this hotel, but they have scrapped stainless-steel plates for disposable, easy-to-eat-from bags.
Trump Chicago, Chicago. This hotel has opted to stock up refrigerators for the convenience of their clients. The clients can than choose a chef to prepare the meals inside their rooms.
Public, Chicago. Meals from the chef can be delivered quietly in brown paper bags without service charge. To-go meals are also available for rushing customers.
Hudson New York, New York. 15-minute meals like gourmet hamburgers, chips and cookies served in disposable packaging has made dining less expensive to maintain for this hotel.
Hilton Hawaii Village, Honolulu. The Hilton in this Pacific island is turning to technology for their to-go menu. With the app ‘Fresh Connection’ clients can pre-order gourmet meals which they can pick up or have delivered to their room.
Grand Hyatt New York, New York. The Grand Hyatt is opting for 24/7 convenience marts over room service offering locally sourced products.
Four Seasons, Washington, DC. The Four Seasons has switched to 15-minute meals delivered in brown paper trays, guaranteeing quick solutions to hungry stomachs.
Is this the end of room service?
Not really. As much as scrapping room service has helped some hotels cut extra costs, there are still some customers who would like to be pampered with these services.
Some full-service hotels or hotels that have four- to five-diamond AAA status from the International Society of Hospitality Consultants are likely to keep their room service. Hotels that are located in areas that may prove difficult to find convenient restaurants nearby may also opt to keep their room service to better serve their guests.
Meanwhile in Europe, hotels that are offering 24/7 room service seem not to be moved by the trend in America. For example, the Grand Hyatt in Cannes, France is keeping their room service for guests.
But wait, what’s this?
While it seems Europe is unmoved by the changes in the American hotel scene, there are still some which opt to join the bandwagon. The Four Seasons in certain European cities like London and Paris, for example, is now offering to-go menu alongside their regular room service fares.
But one example that has fully scrapped its room service is the ‘contemporary’ hotel Hotel BLOOM! in Belgium. Hotel BLOOM! does not provide room service and instead offers a grab-and-go food service at the reception.
America’s hotel scene is changing, and the five- and four- star hotels are leading the change. In Europe, five- and four-star hotels are also adopting the trends, but are not fully scrapping their room service… yet. While changes in dining attitude have affected the industry leaders, there are still hotels that are holding on to customs.
Despite the trends, room service is still one of those hotel experiences that cannot be rivaled in luxury and style in other types of accommodations. To find out if your hotel is still offering room service, it is recommended to check their website or call their customer service first.