By Larry and Adam Mogelonsky | January 31, 2023
The uncertainty around the economy in 2023 will likely translate into some form of normalization of travel numbers at or slightly below those for 2022 or 2019 (as a comparative). While we’ve long suggested a transition away from RevPAR towards more holistic revenue modeling, today’s post focuses on one specific way to grow revenues per guest: sell them more wine.
This beverage has been a passion of ours for decades and we’ve applied our knowledge to develop wine strategies to hotels looking to get more F&B revenues from guests. From these assignments, other successes and lots of empty bottles, here’s the single, big takeaway for how to sell more wine: ultimately, every label is just fermented grape juice but it’s the story, specificity and sensorial activation that moves inventory.
Aside from the recession talk in the intro, why should your hotel focus on wine of all things right now? There’s no debating that staffing is a critical challenge at the moment (and by our predictions for rest of the decade), as is enhancing your technology in all manner of automations and digitalizing guest service improvements. But from the standpoint of growing TRevPAR, wine is a low-hanging fruit (pun intended) compared to other initiatives, while a great meal experience (as enhanced by wine) will halo back onto the sentiment towards the hotel stay for more satisfaction all round.
Caveat emptor: wine isn’t the silver bullet to ensure profitability, but an important element within a grander effort of maximizing guest satisfaction through heightened property utilization. To keep 2023’s topline at pace with the gangbuster that is 2022, you need to buttress every head in bed that comes your way with any add-ons and experiential offerings that increase the per-folio amount.
- What convinces a restaurant patron to opt for the most expensive wine by the glass instead of the cheapest one?
- How does menu presentation and server training affect a restaurant’s ability to sell the luxury bottles on the wine list?
- How does the story behind each winery influence its pricing?
- Is it better to stock obscure vintages and varietals or stick with the more well-known producers?
- How does ‘anchor pricing’ impact wine sales or any beverage for that matter?
- What tactics can you take to use wine to incentivize hotel packages?
- What tactics can you take to boost wine-oriented arrival amenity purchases?
- How do you evaluate your sommelier’s ability to sell wine?
- How can you use wine to motivate servers in order to keep them around?
- What can you do to transform each wine purchase into a memorable experience?
These are a few of the questions we attempt to answer in our latest book, “In Vino Veritas: A Guide for Hoteliers and Restaurateurs to Sell More Wine” (2022). The key word in this longwinded title is ‘more’; we assume your F&B director has all the basics covered, with this book as the tips and tricks to make your beverage revenues sing.
The principle throughout is to figure out how to increase wine sales in aggregate. If you can do that, then you can apply those lessons to any other part of your operations that will drive TRevPAR, be it spa, golf, parking, room service, gift shop, laundry or activities facilitated through neighborhood partnerships. And if nothing else, this book will deepen your knowledge of this millennia-old elixir so that every glass becomes all the more enjoyable.