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As many travelers today know, the experience of taking a trip is not just where you stay, but what you eat. Fresh flavors, local origins and innovative cuisine are pulling travelers toward new destinations. With breweries becoming hotels and hotels becoming incubators of local cuisine, gastronomy and hospitality are closer than ever before.
Food (or drink) is increasingly becoming the reason to travel, and not just a routine part of the experience. This trend can be seen in the transformation of food production sites into hot travel destinations. For example, craft beer maker Stone Brewing, based in California, is building one of the world’s first “brewery hotels,” expected to open in San Diego in 2018. Lovers of craft beer will be able to take their pick from three different bars serving brews on tap.
Spain’s Hacienda Zorita — where Les Roches alumnus Duarte Gonçalves da Cunha is General Manager — is a paradise for foodies. The historic estate near Salamanca began as a vineyard and is today a food-focused resort, where guests can try locally produced cheese, olive oil and jamón pata negra. The combination of gastronomy and local culture provides guests with a compelling reason to visit this part of Spain.
To attract travelers searching for fresh food experiences, hotels are taking an innovative, home-grown approach to F&B. Marriott has seized this opportunity by launching CANVAS, a concept lab for incubating entrepreneurial food and drink ideas. Through this program, Marriott gives creative culinary minds unused space at hotel properties to open experimental F&B outlets. The initiative allows Marriott to nurture budding talent while attracting guests hungry for new culinary styles. And the entrepreneurial venture can yield great returns: one CANVAS project in London returned more than £500,000 of revenue for the hotel’s bottom line.
Hotels are also realizing that a touch of local flavor can be added to even the most “standard” of places.
Take the minibar, for example. Often avoided by guests wary of overpriced and undersized products, the minibar can be turned into a showcase of locally sourced food and beverage. Bartech is a hospitality startup that focuses precisely on this area. The entrepreneurial company knows that a one-size-fits-all approach to minibars helps neither hotels nor guests. Instead, Bartech proposes a range of customizable minibars, helping hotels choose the right minibar for their own unique selection of food and drink.
This 5-part series explores the key trends that are shaping the hospitality industry and creating opportunities for entrepreneurs. For a fuller analysis of these trends, see Les Roches and Skift’s joint report: “The Future of Hospitality Entrepreneurship.”
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