Coffee services that grab you off the street

This is the last in a three part series on coffee trends in hotels. click here for part two, 'Coffee brands and their power to lure travelers.'

Providing coffee in the guestroom may be a necessity, but it is not feasible for hotels to account for the voluminous number of specialty drinks that guests crave. Travelers often want to gas up on guestroom coffee when they wake up, but are content with walking a little to find the more complex drinks served at a café.

The Hyatt Regency St. Louis has a Starbucks right inside the hotel, and also stocks its guestrooms with Starbucks-branded coffee products. According to Tyson Warner, the director of operations for the property, having access to the Starbucks logo for advertisements within the hotel helps steer guests to the store, which is accessible from both within the hotel and directly from the street.

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“We are in a unique situation thanks to having both entrances,” Warren said. Arrival days at the hotel also translate into big business for the Starbucks, where the hotel funnels guests by providing samples and using targeted marketing and signage to direct guests to the store.

Though the Starbucks is operated by the hotel, Warren said operationally the goal is to have the café feel more like a Starbucks than a Hyatt-run store to fully leverage the power of the brand. Tyson also doesn’t believe that a guest will come into a hotel to buy coffee when the option is available for street entrances, and advises operationally to keep the two businesses separate on a surface level.

However, Paul Pebley, director of sales and marketing for the JW Marriott in Miami, says that some guests are willing to venture inside if they know a good cup of coffee is waiting. Pebley’s property has the Intermezzo café on its second-floor lobby, and positions the café to compete with other nearby coffee establishments. Pebley said that the hotel does have one major advantage on this front in its location in downtown Miami, a major coffee drinking hotspot.

“Coffee drinkers in Miami tend to drink all day long, especially after lunch,” Pebley said. With the hotel’s location allowing for it to scoop up business off the street, Pebley said it was a priority to make guests feel it was worth their time to go to a second-story coffee bar when other options are available at street level. The hotel did this by providing room to the café for a large seating area, as well as supplying free newspapers and multiple TVs.

“In a discerning community, you have to know what will set you apart,” Pebley said.