Marriott rethinks F&B strategy in light of COVID-19, says Lynne Bellinger

Published: 30 September 2020 - 5:45 a.m.
By: Hotelier Middle East Staff

The relaxation of Dubai’s licensing laws which has seen restaurants based outside of hotels able to serve alcohol for the first time, has reduced Marriott’s advantage in the market, says Lynne Bellinger, director of F&B development at the hotel firm.

Speaking at The GM Debate powered by Hotelier Middle East, Bellinger said Marriott had to rethink its F&B operating strategy post-coronavirus and due to stronger competition coming from non-hotel based restaurants.

She said: “We’ve always had so many restaurants in properties because of our advantage with the liquor licences, but things have changed, and changed again with COVID-19. So we’re looking at our strategy in terms of how many restaurants we have and looking at quality over quantity.”

The panel also discussed the key factors for bringing customers into F&B venues, prompted by an audience poll which found that 43 percent of guests are looking for deals and discounts.

Gates Hospitality founder and chief executive Naim Maadad said he believes the market “is looking for venues they are familiar with, value for money, a place in the neighbourhood that’s within their reach”, rather than just discounts.

Agreeing with Maadad was Emma Banks, Hilton’s VP of F&B strategy & development EMEA, who said “it’s not about going down the voucher and discount proposition, it’s about loyalty, it’s about personalisation, it’s about understanding your data, understanding what your guests want, and providing value”.

You’ll be able to see the full panel via Hotelier Middle East soon.

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