Food and drink tapped by hotels to compete against rivals such as Airbnb

Promoting and improving drinks range and food quality can unlock fresh sales opportunities, the CGA 2018 Hotel Report concludes

Food and beverage brands are an increasingly vital element of hotels’ strategies and offer significant potential for growth, the new 2018 Hotel Report from CGA reveals. At a time when rival accommodation providers like Airbnb are taking market share, the findings show how food and beverage can help hotels to flex their offer and emphasise their unique offerings in the competitive market.

The exclusive CGA 2018 Hotel Report outlines ways hotels can provide compelling points of distinction by improving their food and drinks offer, and increase sales in breakfast, dinner, room service and other segments. It comes as CGA’s Outlet Index reports that Britain’s number of licensed hotels has fallen by 4.1% in the last year—though managed sites have increased in number at the expense of free operators in that time.

The report shows that three in five (60%) hotel consumers eat or drink in hotels every or almost every time they visit, and nearly half (44%) pay a visit to the hotel bar. The report explores ways that hotels can increase these perhaps untapped opportunities and maximise consumer spend—such as by improving the range and quality of their drinks. Half (52%) of consumers are likely to spend more than usual when they rate a hotel’s drinks range as good—compared to just a third (32%) when they rate it poorly.

Beer range is especially important, as hotels stock barely half the range of beers stocked elsewhere in the licensed trade. Cocktails—now sold by 42% of hotels—are another major sales opportunity.

Other themes from the CGA 2018 Hotel Report include:

  • The fast-growing opportunity comes from afternoon tea, a consumer favourite
  • The value of coffee, which is revealed as the most popular drink at hotels, is consumed by half (49%) of those staying
  • The importance of brands in F&B, with half (52%) of consumers thinking branded cereals are an important element of their hotel breakfast. Consumers expect more upmarket brands when staying in boutique or expensive hotels.

CGA’s senior consumer research manager Charlie Mitchell says: “The hotel sector is being challenged by rising costs, changing consumer habits and the emergence of disruptors like Airbnb. But the CGA 2018 Hotel Report identifies clear opportunities to grow sales in the important, though sometimes neglected, area of food and drink. If hotels can establish the right food offer and build a high quality, distinctive range of drinks brands, they can surpass expectations and give themselves USPs over other types of accommodation. To do so, it is vital to realise that there is no one-size-fits-all strategy here: properly understanding their guests’ behaviour and motivations is key to unlocking growth.”

The CGA 2018 Hotel Report draws on consumer, outlet and volumetric data to produce a detailed picture of consumers’ eating and drinking in hotels. The report is now available for purchase. For more details, contact

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