7 Things To Know About the Path Forward for Alcohol in Hospitality

Though the COVID-19 pandemic has adversely impacted the hospitality industry in 2020, consumers are still itching to jet off for a vacation. In fact, according to a recent survey by Nielsen CGA, 77% of U.S. respondents say they will stay at or visit a hotel for a vacation in the coming year. While that is certainly welcome news for hotels, it remains true that the pandemic will have a lasting impact on the ways in which guests choose their destinations and spend time during their stays.

With alcoholic beverages being a key component of amenities such as hotel bars, restaurants, and room service — among others — it’s imperative to consider how guests will engage with these offerings going forward. Below, we take a look at how consumers plan to use amenities in hotels and how hotels can optimize alcoholic beverage offerings accordingly.


Hotel Bar


  1. When asked about food & beverage habits during hotel stays, 47% of travelers said they visit a mix of restaurants/bars outside and inside the hotel. An additional 21% said that they tend to visit hotel restaurants/bars exclusively. Altogether, over two-thirds of travelers make some sort of visit to in-hotel establishments – making it a significant area of opportunity.


  1. Beer is the most popular beverage consumed in hotels (46%), but there is diminished interest relative to the general On Premise. Wine, on the other hand, is consumed more in hotels (45%). This is driven primarily by the 55+ age group, which consumes wine in hotels more than any other alcoholic beverage category.


  1. Which amenity areas are consumers most likely to use in the coming year? The hotel restaurant (56%) and bar/lounge (39%) still reign supreme, but other, low-touch amenities are gaining steam. Grab & go kiosks, room service, and mini bars show the highest increase in terms of future use intent compared to before the pandemic, making it important to tailor beverage strategies to each different medium.


  1. While engagement with alcoholic beverages at grab & go kiosks is traditionally lower than in other areas of the hotel, the nature of the pandemic is set to change that. What are the top factors for purchasing alcohol from a grab & go kiosk? Price (42%) is king in terms of factors that travelers rated very important, but single serve packaging and portability follow closely behind. As a result, canned or bottled beers and hard seltzers provide significant opportunity.


  1. Perhaps due to the presence of mini bars, under 50% of travelers purchase alcohol frequently through room service. While price is again the top consideration among guests, 58% say they are likely to trade up for a better quality drink from room service. Though the early evening through late night is usually the most popular time for this particular amenity, 35% of travelers report ordering around brunch, as well. Perhaps a brunch beverage strategy is in order?


  1. Sixty-one percent of travelers say that they use their in-room mini bar either most or all of the time. Here, price is certainly a factor, but guests are swayed by the most well-known brands and are more willing to trade up in terms of beverage quality than at any other hotel amenity. While guests suggest that they are satisfied with the current range of offerings in most mini bars, hard seltzers are one area where increased options would appear to be welcome.


  1. Three in five consumers say that they purchase alcoholic drinks from hotel restaurants either most or all of the time. Factors such as price and happy hour offerings rank highest for consumers in terms of motivators, but 28% of travelers say that extensive menu options are important, as well. In terms of categories where guests would like to see more selection, hard seltzers, neat spirits, and sparkling wines rank highest. The same desire for these offerings can be said for hotel bars, too.


Is your brand looking to connect with travelers in the coming months? Contact us today to learn how our suite of integrated marketing capabilities can help you build awareness, encourage trial, and earn lifelong loyalists.




Source: “NCGA Hotel Beverage Study: September 2020.” Nielsen CGA (2020).

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