Get Your Favorite Hotel Restaurant Food…On the Street?

You’re lounging in your hotel room, and your stomach starts to grumble. That can only mean one thing—it’s lunchtime. Sure, you can order room service. But why stay cooped up in your room when you can tour the city or lounge on the beach while eating that delicious hotel food at the same time? Sound impossible? It’s not. Hotels are now putting their famous high-end entrees in food trucks and selling them on the street.

Food trucks are one of the fastest-growing segments of the restaurant industry. According to a National Restaurant Association survey, 59% of diners said they would likely visit a food truck if their favorite restaurant offered one. With a variety of clientele – from leisure travelers looking for a cheaper food option to the business traveler on the run – it’s no surprise that high-end hotels would want to capitalize on this ever-growing food trend.

Hudson Riehle, senior vice president of research for the National Restaurant Association, said, “Hotels are expanding on food service, in general. A logical step would be mobility of the restaurant platform.”

But just because you can buy it off the street, doesn’t mean the food lost its gourmet touch. “We found a way to make it a more refined presentation than the traditional food truck on the street,” said Melody Wendt, marketing and public relations manager for The Setai Hotel.

Check out the hotels that are joining the craze:

  • This month, The Ritz-Carlton, Washington, D.C., will open up a pop-up barbeque restaurant outside its Westend Bistro by celebrity chef, Eric Ripert.
  • The Auberge Saint-Antoine in Quebec City will be opening its second food truck by its restaurant’s chef in June. The menu, which consists of lobster rolls, tartare and focaccia sandwiches, is made from ingredients from a garden the hotel operates at a nearby island.
  • In the month of May, The SLS Hotel South Beach will open its stationary food truck by celebrity chef, Jose Andres at its pool in Miami.
  • Last year, The Setai Hotel in Miami’s South Beach opened the Beach Kiosk by Michelin-starred Executive Chef David Werly. Dubbed as a “high-end hotel food truck,” menu items include ceviche, Wagyu hot dogs and salmon burgers.

For more information on the Hotel Food Truck trend, check out this article from USA Today!

Soap Saves Lives!

Wow, what an awesome experience! This morning I had the opportunity to visit the Clean the World facilities in Las Vegas. The new warehouse just opened last month, and I was their very first volunteer!

Clean the World is an organization that collects and recycles partially used soaps and bath amenities from hotels all over the United States. New and clean soaps are then distributed to impoverished people around the world. Clean the World has distributed over 9.5 million bars of soap in 47 countries since they began three years ago.

My morning was spent sorting shampoos, conditioners, shower gels and body lotions. If containers had little to no contents remaining they were sent to recycling, but bottles that had a reasonable amount of product left were sorted into their proper bins to be cleaned and sent to local shelters and churches.

Although this time I wasn’t involved in the creating of new bar soap, the process sounds amazing. I can’t wait for my next trip to Clean the World!

Be sure to check out Clean the World for more information about the organization and how you can get involved!  

Young Adults: The New Hotel Demographic

The hotel industry has discovered a new group of travelers that is crucial to its economic growth—those in their mid-20s to mid-30s who are addicted to technology, social media and design.

With a 20% increase in travel spending (in 2010) by this younger generation, many hotels owners and operators are remodeling existing hotels and introducing new ones that offer free hotel-wide Wi-Fi connections; large lobbies with comfortable, plush furnishings; state-of-the-art fitness areas; in-room power consoles to plug in electronic devices; and stylish bars that spill into the lobby.

About a decade ago, hotels were concentrating a majority of their efforts on the baby boom generation. Hotels highlighted their quality beds, brighter lighting and bigger work spaces to lure those in the 50s to 60s age bracket. But that was ten years ago. Today, Generation Y seems to be seeking the exact opposite—they want innovative and off-the-wall. Multiple bars and lounges are being installed to keep guests in the hotel, and lobbies are now becoming adorned with comfortable sofas and Art Deco furnishings.

Bjorn Hanson, divisional dean of the Preston Robert Tisch Center for Hospitality, Tourism and Sports Management at New York University, said, “If Millennials are wearing shorts and a T-shirt…a lobby that has mahogany paneling, English hunting scenes and Oriental rugs doesn’t connect as well.”

Because of their love for technology, it’s a given that almost every Generation Y’er has a cell phone, laptop, iPad or tablet in front of them at all times. Hotels are now installing power consoles in both rooms and public areas so charging all of these electronic devices is easier and more accessible. The Plaza Hotel in New York City even provides an iPad for each room! Here, guests can use the iPad to control lighting, air conditioning, order room service and even read the morning paper.

Hanson said that free and constant access to WiFi service is not only demanded, but it’s expected. “High-speed internet is almost like air to Millennials,” he said.

One of the most important efforts among hotel executives to attract the younger travelers? Social networking. If a younger traveler is unsatisfied with their hotel, they are more likely to rant about it through a medium like Twitter, rather than vocally complaining to a hotel manager. In response to this, Starwood Hotels and Resorts set up a team of 20 people to monitor and respond to online complaints and comments.

So don’t be surprised if your favorite hotel transitions from classic to “different”: lobbies start looking more like coffee shops, people in the lobby are constantly staring at a cell phone/laptop screen and ordering room service is through your in-room iPad. Generation Y is taking over the world of travel, and hotels want to benefit from that.

To find out more about hotels’ upgrades to attract the younger traveler, check out this article from The New York Times.

Hyatt’s In-Room TV Offers More than Movies and TV Shows

Local stations, on-demand movies and the ability to check out with the click of your remote control—these are the features of an average hotel room television. The Hyatt Hotels Corporation decided to kick things up a few notches by transforming the standard in-room television into a fully connected, interactive entertainment center and virtual concierge.

The systems have already been installed in nearly 1,800 guestrooms. Over the next two years, the high-tech televisions will be installed in up to 60,000 rooms across Hyatt’s full-service properties across the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean.

Once the television upgrade is completed, guests will have access to a number of new features: being welcomed with a personalized greeting and mood-setting music; the ability to browse the internet; manage and print documents; make hotel room service orders and housekeeping requests; access local directions; and make dinner reservations. Business meeting and group planners will also be able to use the televisions to send customized messages and information updates directly to the rooms of guests attending their function.

Roomlinx Inc., a leading provider of premium hotel and resort in-room media and entertainment, is providing the technology enhancements. This makes Hyatt the first major hospitality brand to integrate Roomlinx’s services across a vast number of properties.

“This is the future hotel experience at Hyatt,” Pete Sears, senior vice president of North America operations for Hyatt Hotels and Resorts stated.

Check out more on Hyatt’s in-room television transformation! And check out the list of additional technologies Hyatt has also recently launched to help enhance guest experience!

Joie de Vivre says, “Aloha!”

“Aloha” will now become a common phrase amongst the employees of Joie de Vivre (JDV) Hospitality. Commune Hotels & Resorts, the parent company of JDV and Thompson Hotels, will start managing its first Hawaii property, the Seaside Hotel, this month; and after a $3 million renovation is completed, the 125-room hotel will be rebranded and join Commune’s Joie de Vivre Collection.

Commune has hired designer, Anthony Laurino to upgrade the Waikiki property, which is located about three blocks from the Waikiki beaches and about halfway between the Hilton Hawaiian Village and Kapiolani Park. Laurino has also worked with JDV in the past, redesigning the Custom Hotel in Los Angeles and the Barlo restaurant at the Hotel Erwin in Venice Beach.

Those at JDV say it’s too early to talk about the specifics of the Seaside Hotel’s transformation, but the changes will most likely be stylistic.

“Each one of our hotels is an original — a reflection of the community where it’s located that offers fun, quirky design,” Lori Lincoln, director of public relations for JDV hotels, stated. “We create one-of-a-kind hotels that speak to their locations and engage the five senses.”

Originally owned by United Airlines, The Seaside Hotel was built in 1970 and used as a perk house for employees and company retirees.

Check out more on JDV’s Hawaii property today!