Evolving snack trends force hotels to keep up

DoubleTree by Hilton’s Made Market serves items from national brands and local vendors with an emphasis on fresh preparation and ingredients. (DoubleTree Made Market snacks)

The hotel minibar used to be guests’ main option for snacks while on-property, but fewer hotels are including the units in rooms. In addition, guests have become dissatisfied with the high prices hotels often charge for the candy, chips and other goodies. That snack void has been filled by grab-and-go set-ups.

While snacking has always been a necessity when it comes to food-and-beverage options at Hilton Worldwide hotels, what guests are looking for has changed, said Jonathan Wilson, VP, product innovation and brand services for Hilton Worldwide.

“Our guests aren’t just looking for a candy bar or bag of chips anymore,” he said. “They also want an array of healthy and local snacks, like fruit, protein-focused options and nutrition bars so they don’t have to change their diet just because they are on the road.”

Snacks in lieu of a meal is another trend hotels are adapting their grab-and-go operations to satisfy.

“As travel continues to evolve, consumers want the opportunity to eat outside of traditional meal periods and the grab-and-go environment is perfectly suited for this,” Wilson said. “This type of food-and-beverage option allows hotel guests to eat dinner at 3:30 or 4 p.m. if it better fits their schedule, or to enjoy lighter eating later in the evening.”

Danny Williams, GM of the Wyndham Orlando Resort – International Drive, said he also sees guests who want to make a meal out of snacks.

“People are busy and they are looking at certain grab-and-go options that could certainly replace a meal,” he said. “We certainly have a variety of things that they could choose from and they could easily make a very fulfilling meal; certainly the prepared sandwiches, freeze-dried vegetables and baked chips, things of that nature, are pretty fulfilling.”

The Wyndham, which features two restaurants along with it’s lobby grab-and-go operation, also offers chocolates and sweets for those looking for a just a treat or who want to wrap up their quick meal.

The variety at Magnuson Hotels properties varies, but CEO Thomas Magnuson said some common items are bananas, apples, mixed nuts, beef jerky, candy and chips, with candy and chips being the most popular.

“Sales are mostly driven by hotel occupancy, but it’s an appreciated amenity,” he said.