PRETTY IN-ROOM DINING

Aside from accommodation, perhaps the most enduring association with luxury hotels is room service - or more precisely in-room dining.

Remember Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman, gorging on champagne and strawberries, or Demi Moore in Indecent Proposal, sprawled across her bed, covered in dollar bills? Brad Pitt, Sharon Stone, Bruce Willis, Scarlett Johansson, Roger Moore, Macaulay Culkin in Thelma Louise, Casino, Lost in Translation? …  Pick a Hollywood star, any leading man or woman in the film industry and in less than a second, you will recall an iconic scene in a hotel room, where they have ordered food and drinks to indulge in the comfort and privacy of their room.

In-room dining is deeply etched in the collective psyche of our pop culture. It has become synonymous with being spoiled and pampered as a guest.

So why are some hotels looking to do away with in-room dining, outsource one of their most valuable pieces of real estate?

Room service is damn expensive to run. There’s staff on 24/7 beck-and-call, out of season supplies that need to be fresh, and raging competition with amazing eateries and delivery services. Room service often operates as a loss-leader and it is becoming harder and harder to justify.

Cue RoomOrders. Take II. Action.

“It doesn’t need to be a sad story,” maintains Harris Dizdarevic, a co-founder of the cloud solution for hotels, which is essentially a digital menu. “RoomOrders can save the day and give hotels a happy ending.”

By clever marketing and simplifying the guest experience, RoomOrders turns the entire hotel into a fine dining restaurant, or every room in it at least.

Essentially a digital menu, RoomOrders allows guests to see colourful illustrations of food and beverages.

“People eat with their eyes,” said their global marketing and sales manager Eugene B. Jones. “In fact, 90% of people are more inclined to order if they can see what is on offer. The images reaffirm their decision, particularly if they eschew the staple club sandwich or burger.”  

Marketing triggers are strategically placed around the hotel, from reception desks to digital screens, elevator walls or hallways, promoting the hotel kitchen or auxiliary restaurants. Inside the room, a QR code on the work desk or bedside table prompt with the tantalising message: Feeling Hungry, scan this?

The way RoomOrders works is simple. The guest scans the code and the hotel kitchen or restaurant menu appears on their smart phone handset. The guest scrolls through the images and selects items to order. The app, which is in the cloud and not downloaded, cross-sells and upsells, offering a glass of wine with your steak, for example.

The guest is notified information about their order, including expected time of delivery, which would allow a business traveller to order while in the cab from the airport or take a shower in time to answer the door bell.

The guest is able to share their location and images on social media, while not long after their meal, they can also rate their experience, giving hotels vital data to improve their service.

RoomOrders restores value to hotels in a segment that makes up about 4.7 percent of US hotel room revenue average of $219, according to STR, a leading international hotels data research group.

“We increase not only the total number of room orders, but also the value per order, as people are more inclined to order more expensive dishes when they see visuals and are able to communicate easily,” said Harris.

Already running in branded hotels across three continents, RoomOrders has increased Hilton Boston’s sales value by 30%.

Hilton Sydney and Hilton Belgrade became the latest hotels to implement RoomOrders this month, while the Sheraton in Zagreb is also expected to launch before the end of the month.

“We were immediately drawn to the potential and are expecting significant results,” said Sheraton General Manager Mario Susak. “But more importantly, we are glad to be improving the guest experience.”

“We live in an increasingly digital world, and our guests demand that we adapt to their changing lifestyle, which is becoming faster and easier – and all at the touch of a finger,” he concluded.

 

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