- Hotels move in with expanded home delivery and takeaway menu and service
- Brisk business seen, as families stay safe at home
- Home delivery and takeaway revenues insufficient to mend traditional hotel business dent
As Singapore moves back into partial lockdown, disabling dining out at restaurants and limiting activities beyond homes, hotels in Singapore brought out their 2020 playbook and stepped up F&B delivery service and takeaways.
Shangri-La Singapore expanded its takeaway and delivery menu, offering 10 cuisines and more than 150 dishes for guests to enjoy in the comfort and safety of their home. To further entice customers, the luxury hotel has shaved 15 per cent off selected items, and lifted minimum spend requirements.
Fullerton Hotel Singapore, Parkroyal on Beach Road, Pan Pacific Singapore, JW Marriott Singapore South Beach and many more are doing the same, dangling gourmet treats all ready for pick-up or home delivery.
Four properties under Accor – Raffles Hotel Singapore, Fairmont Singapore, Sofitel Singapore City Centre and Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa – which are not part of the government’s quarantine hotel programme, swiftly turned all of their 20 restaurants and bars around to feed guests at home, with meals for every budget and occasion. Taste at ibis Singapore Bencoolen has meals from as little as S$8.90 (US$6.70), rivalling many meal options offered on other food delivery platforms.
Garth Simmons, CEO for Accor South-east Asia, Japan & South Korea, told TTG Asia: “We went through this in 2020, so we are better prepared and have introduced new innovations for this situation.”
These innovations include Fairmont Singapore’s online premium supermarket, Fairmontathome, as well as Raffles Hotel Singapore’s expanded Raffles Grab & Go concept.
To encourage more home deliveries and takeaways, Accor grants loyalty incentives for members of ALL – Live Limitless and Accor Plus, with discounts of up to 30 per cent and three times bonus points.
Tane Picken, general manager, Shangri-La Singapore recalled how his hotel had been just as quick last year in turning business focus to catering as travel restrictions dried up international arrivals.
“(We created) from scratch a robust online delivery and takeaway offering, which proved to be very popular among guests particularly over the festive periods,” Picken said. Demand has spiked again with current movement restrictions.
Having maintained their home delivery and takeaway service since Singapore’s Circuit Breaker lockdown in April 2020, Marriott International’s properties were able to “hit the ground running” when Phase 2 kicked in, said Anuj Sharma, area director of operations – Singapore, Malaysia & Maldives.
Guests are able to enjoy luxury takeaways from notable dining venues such as The Kitchen Table at W Singapore – Sentosa Cove, Madam Fan at JW Marriott Hotel Singapore South Beach, and Brasserie Les Saveurs at The St. Regis Singapore, with offerings regularly enhanced over the months.
Marriott’s F&B reach was expanded in late-2020 when it entered a strategic partnership with Asian super app Grab, which brought premium hospitality experiences to consumers across South-east Asia, including Singapore.
“From all our learnings and experiences last year, we are in a stronger position today with most of our menu offerings available on delivery platforms like GrabFood for our guests’ easy ordering,” commented Peter Foreman, senior director, sales & distribution – Singapore, Malaysia, Maldives with Marriott International.
Small plug for a wide gap
While hotels are enjoying brisk business with their home delivery and takeaway service, hoteliers say this segment of revenue will not be enough to cushion the full impact of Phase 2 restrictions on hotel business over the next four weeks.
Simmons said: “Within the first 24 hours after the announcement, our teams took hundreds of calls, with most guests looking to postpone rather than cancel their plans but the impact will be significant. (The F&B pivot) would never make up for the lost restaurant, banqueting and staycation business that we would have seen ordinarily. It’s sad because just before this announcement, our bars and restaurants were performing as strongly as or sometimes stronger than they were before Covid-19, as people are desperate to get out and enjoy life.”
Anuj agrees but said that the strong takeaway and delivery demand was at least enough to help sustain F&B operations. “The global business forecast remains challenging, but we will continue to remain optimistic,” he added.
Picken pointed to critical lessons from the past 16 months that showed “the need to remain nimble and agile to respond to new measures”.
Echoing that view, Simmons said: “Our team has been amazing over this period, introducing new sources of income including new ‘workspitality’ models, delivery and take-home food and drinks, pre-prepared meal kits and online entertainment such as cooking classes, yoga or fitness sessions to help our guests get through the pandemic.”
While Simmons believes that Accor colleagues “are definitely more mentally prepared this time around”, he said successive lockdowns could take an emotional toll on industry professionals.