September 3, 2014
Dorchester Collection is bringing top dishes from each of its properties to the entire portfolio for a new in-room dining experience.
The "A Taste of Dorchester Collection" initiative highlights quintessential dishes from the brand's hotels and may spur cross-property travels among guests. Since food is such a critical component of any travel experience, it is important for hotels to convey their culinary offers in novel, highly visible ways.
"When hotel brands have strongly branded independent properties it can be a challenge to develop an overarching identity for the parent company," said Taylor Rains, managing partner of Flugel Consulting, Charleston. "By incorporating some of the defining characteristics of its signature properties into a brand-wide campaign, Dorchester Collection is widening its reach among its current guests.
"In doing so Dorchester Collection is giving a taste of what some of its properties have to offer and, ideally, generating interest among people who have already demonstrated an interest in what the brand has to offer," he said.
"Even if the campaign does not drive a huge jump in cross-property travel it will certainly drive awareness of the other properties in the collection and promote a unified brand identity among guests."
Luxury hotels take pride in their distinct culinary offers, which, because of a chef's individual perspective and the ingredients used, can generally not be found elsewhere. While this has obvious benefits, such as establishing loyal clientele and becoming a a foodie destination, it also has a downside.
The croque plaza from Hotel Plaza Athénée
Only guests that travel to a particular property will get to experience that property's offers, which can limit the amount of traffic a hotel receives.
Garden vegetable soup from Hotel Bel-Air
Dorchester Collection aims to maneuver around this impasse by giving guests at each of its properties a taste of what its other properties have to offer.
Vitello tonnato from Hotel Principe de Savoia
In doing so, it spreads awareness of its diverse offers, and also maintains exclusivity.
Rigatoni alla norma from Hotel Eden
The new offer is bundled into an in-room dining experience. Guests can now order from an exclusive menu that features 10 dishes from the brand's 10 properties.
Bread and butter pudding from The Dorchester
The dishes differ considerably from one another, so the menu will likely be relevant at all times of the day when guests are in the mood for a bite to eat.
Fish and chips from Coworth Park
Salads, desserts, sandwiches, pub food and pasta dishes are included in the offer.
"The inspiration for this initiative derives from our guests' preferences for dining at our acclaimed on-site restaurants and their enjoyment at seeing dishes from other hotels within Dorchester Collection," said a Dorchester spokesperson. "With this new in-room menu, our guests can enjoy signature dishes from each of our iconic properties while staying at any hotel in our portfolio.
"Our company is always seeking to find innovative and exciting ways to celebrate the individuality and essence of our hotels and providing quality experiences for our guests," The spokesperson said.
"'Taste of Dorchester Collection' will be a permanent feature on in-room dining menus for guests to enjoy at all Dorchester Collection hotels."
Switching it up
Dorchester Collection has made other interesting culinary moves recently.
For example, home furnishings brand L’Objet partnered with Dorchester Collection’s The Dorchester in London to launch its tenth anniversary tableware collection Sous Les Ciel.
One of The Dorchester’s three private dining rooms in its restaurant Alain Ducasse was transformed into Salon L’Objet, creating a space for consumers to experience the collection first hand. Partnering with a Michelin star restaurant allowed L’Objet’s tableware to become part of a culinary experience while reaching consumers with a penchant for fine things (see story).
Four Seasons has also made strides in making its culinary offers more accessible.
For instance, the brand consolidated and illuminated the culinary activities of its many properties with a food Web site that forms a part of the brand’s renovated digital presence.
Taste by Four Seasons informs guests about events occurring collectively by the brand or by select properties and provides fans with cooking and dietary suggestions. Dedicating a Web site solely to the brand’s passion for food likely appeals to food enthusiasts and entices prospective guests looking for a reliable dining experience (see story).
"Culinary offers are a great marketing tool when they serve as a distinguishing element for a brand," Mr. Rains said.
"There are a lot of fantastic chefs out there but when a hotel has a signature dish or talent that sets them apart from the rest, it's absolutely worth highlighting it," he said.
Joe McCarthy, staff writer on Luxury Daily, New York