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Point of View

Seeking to Develop an Independent Boutique Hotel Collection

I started my project with the simplest observation I could make and that was by viewing and experiencing the appeal of resort-style hospitality here in Sarasota, Florida. Our town definitely offers a little bit of paradise for every type of visitor – national and international – and I felt there was sufficient opportunity to appeal to this audience. In addition to adhering to the real estate adage “location, location, location,” I was determined to include “variety and diversity” in the types of foods we would offer. Our on-site signature restaurant would have met the location requisite; however, in order to assume we could also provide variety and diversity within the F&B operations, I was compelled to take our hotel culture to the next level beyond the formal service available to our specialty dining and private club. We tested our concept at a local private country club to observe and retrain our thinking about what it was our patrons might want that was different yet convivial.

We found the solution when we orchestrated a more relaxed and casual dining option highlighted as a themed Friday midnight buffet extravaganza. We found that the “night owls” were there all along and their receptivity to our offerings was met with kudos for management to take such a leap in style. It also meant a change in scheduling for the service personnel, but they soon came to appreciate the opportunity to work the late-night shift as they received tips commensurate with this added level of service. We had volunteer staff who preferred to work the midnight buffet and their energy was compelling for our continuing the setups.

As for the hotel F&B operations, setting up the food stations did not require high-cost items, rather a grand selection of diversified foods set up and using low pin lighting to set the mood; hurricane lanterns were set on the veranda tables for al fresco dining, a favorite gathering place to take in the enjoyable warm evening and relaxed atmosphere. Inside we set up food action stations and ice-block martini stations lit with blue-gel lamps (theatrical quality) to set the mood. A jazz trio complemented the atmosphere we desired.

Once the initial F&B operations were identified for the boutique hotel collection, I conducted a feasibility study which revealed that it was more beneficial for us to control all F&B operations internally for now, as opposed to leasing them out to independents.

Excerpt – The creation of a new hotel concept for a boutique hotel collection included a full-service, on-site signature restaurant with an additional feature to incorporate a private dining club as part of its operations. This created additional appeal to the hotel guests as well as walk-ins who desired a more private setting for their “power lunches”; it also demonstrated the need for variety and diversity to our hotel F&B operations.

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