Revitalising your hotel bar so that it becomes a popular venue with both hotel clients and those from outside isn’t always an easy task. To succeed, you’ll need to consider your bar as a separate venue that is dissociated from the hotel.
Many hotels have achieved this around the world. The American Bar at The Savoy in London is a good example. While this hotel certainly has a significant budget, if you are looking to create a unique venue, its American-style bar is still a good source of inspiration, whatever your budget. With 125 years of history behind it, this legendary bar has had to remain creative in terms of marketing and give itself a new identity to retain its unique character and attract new generations of customers.
Understanding your target to rethink the hotel bar
First of all, you need to determine what kind of bar you want to have. Think about your target clientèle, your budget and the services and entertainment you are willing to provide. Develop a concept based on your target market. You can have any kind of bar, from a sports bar to a jazz or cocktail bar … what matters is that it has its own identity. This can clearly be seen at the American Bar. Its success lies in a perfect understanding of its target market and its constant efforts to surprise and amaze.
Communicating with your target market to boost your image
Today, the most cost-effective manner of promoting yourself and communicating with people is online, and on social media particularly. The Savoy’s bar has made very astute use of social media, to the extent that the clients themselves in fact supply most of the content on its accounts today. A simple website might do the job. However, a very active Instagram account, for example, can attract a lot of interest and give your notoriety a very rapid boost. One good tip is to encourage happy customers to publish feedback. Invite them to share their experience on social media to boost your hotel bar’s image and reputation.
Be original and inventive and, above all, communicate with your target audience about things that are likely to interest them. You need to show them surroundings and a service that speak to them. Take inspiration from the competition and what they offer in other fields.
Boost the sales of your hotel bar with the right offering and services
Have a straightforward and practical offering which suits your venue, the size of your bar and the type of cuisine you serve. You might, for example, want to organise your menu in themes, such as by region or product type. Try to offer variety and take account of the latest consumer trends and desires, like vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free products.
It is important to offer a good range of beverages, and this goes for wines, beers and spirits, too. Think local and adopt sustainable inventory management practices which echo today’s trend for a more responsible approach. Beers from micro-brasseries and biodynamic wines are very attractive, but don’t limit yourself to only these. Be creative with beverages, especially with your cocktails if you want to stand out. And above all, remember to regularly renew some of your offering. Surprise your clients and be innovative to encourage them to come back and try new things.
Returning to the example of The Savoy, at the American Bar the emphasis is on quality. In addition to their selection of premium beverages, cocktails are prepared in front of customers for the show factor. Snacks are also free and unlimited – which compensates for the price of the drinks. Once again, you can take inspiration from this premium-level service while keeping your actual budget in mind. There are many things you can do that cost nothing but which make all the difference – beginning with quality of service and the kindness of the serving staff.
Turning your hotel bar into a popular venue may be your way of revitalising your hotel or generating an additional source of revenue. Whatever you do, though, don’t neglect this space. The bar can become a key feature of the hotel and may turn out to be the little extra you need to reach your goals and up your sales. So think big, but make use of the means at hand.