Special menus, pricing among hoteliers’ winter choices
Special menus, pricing among hoteliers’ winter choices
12 DECEMBER 2019 9:33 AM

This roundup of news from Hotel News Now looks at past articles highlighting cold-weather hotel plans, from winter weddings to holiday décor budgets.

REPORT FROM THE U.S.—Winter is a time of year that requires a little more planning, and hoteliers have discovered how to boost business during the colder months, from creative outdoor spaces and décor to different approaches to revenue management.

One way to boost off-season bookings is by discounting rooms, but not too much, according to David Sangree, president of Hotel & Leisure Advisors. 

"Customers expect a decline in room rates in the off-season, but revenue managers shouldn't bring them down too much to the bottom of the barrel," he said. "If rates are too low, the travelers may start to wonder why they are that low."

During slower periods, it’s safe for most hotels to discount rates by 30% to 50%, he added.

Hotels like The Gwen in Chicago have brought in winter business by revitalizing outdoor spaces during the colder months. The hotel offered a curling rink and a curling cabin to guests last winter, which was popular with guests and locals alike, according to Marcus Cornelious, director of sales and marketing at the property. 

Boston’s Envoy Hotel features winter igloos on its rooftop, which has resulted in “a tremendous uptick in the number of requests and reservations” at the hotel, Mike Koshel, director of beverage at the hotel, told Hotel News Now in January.

Winter weddings have gained in popularity over the years, and some hotels have realized the benefits. 

Keith Chouinard, director of sales and marketing at The Chanler at Cliff Walk in Newport, Rhode Island, said the number of winter weddings have increased between 20% and 25% at his hotel over the last few years, and more guests are booking winter weddings to save on food and beverage, soft costs and room rates.

Krista Ostrander, director of sales at The Reeds at Shelter Haven in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, said wedding F&B for popular months is $197 per person, but drops to $149 per person in the winter.

"Couples know that their dollar will go further in winter," she said. "They can afford to add extras like raw bars, craft beers, wine upgrades and s'mores bars."

Hotel F&B menus must change with the season due to what ingredients are available, and planning for the switchover from spring/summer items to fall/winter items takes planning.

Chef Patrick D’Amico from the Renaissance Philadelphia’s Chez Ben restaurant told HNN last year that his operation debuts its fall/winter menu in mid-October.

“We start the menu planning process about five weeks prior to launch and spend time reviewing market trends and seasonal products available from local suppliers, as well as top-and-bottom sellers,” he said. “Then we brainstorm dishes and test them as specials to see how they are received and to get the service team familiar with them. Once the dishes are honed and the recipes are fully developed, we’ll launch them on our set menu.”

Christmas is around the corner, so Hotel News Now took a look back at a slideshow highlighting how hoteliers decorated last year.

The Woodstock Inn & Resort in Vermont spent $5,000 on holiday decorations last year and decorated from the week of Thanksgiving to the end of December.

The Adelphi Hotel in Saratoga Springs, New York, had a budget of $15,000 last year for holiday decorations and spent two days putting them up.

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