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For Beverage Brands, There's Big Opportunity in the Hotel Bar

For Beverage Brands, There’s Big Opportunity in the Hotel Bar

May 29, 2019

Whether an opportunity for vacation relaxation or networking on a business trip, there has always been a deep cultural connection between alcohol and travel. This month, Nielsen CGA released a new report detailing the drinking preferences of 5,000 hotel visitors which found that, on the whole, consumption in hotel bars is growing faster than restaurants, traditional bars, and other on-premise locations within the US.

There are around 21,000 hotel bars in the country, and they serve a variety of consumers.

The most common customer are business travelers, who visit the hotel bar on 67% of trips they take, enjoying between two and three drinks per visit. 28% of those on a work trip choose wine as their libation of choice, with cocktails and craft beer tying for second place at 25%.

What’s most fascinating about the study is that travelers are drinking more and differently per occasion at hotel bars than other on-premise locations. For example, the study showed that although 46% of consumers would choose beer during a standard occasion, the likelihood rose to this 52% when imbibing at a hotel.

Interestingly, 36% of those interviewed said they might normally stop by their neighborhood Happy Hour, that number rose to 56% in a hotel scenario. With Happy Hour appealing to more than half of patrons, hotels “have the opportunity to get creative with their offerings and deals,” says Nielsen.

As beverage marketers, these findings tell our XenoPsi team that hotels present a significant opportunity for growth for in the beverage and alcohol industry. It’s important to note that the Nielsen summary is not exclusively reporting on the relationship between alcohol and travel alone, but that the hotel bar is becoming an increasingly popular destination for a variety of occasions. 25% of patrons surveyed stated their reason for visiting was a “regular/every day drink,” 45% chose a hotel bar as the place to “wind down [or] chill out.”

XenoPsi looked further into available search data, and found a few interesting correlations to this study. While searches for “hotel bars” has remained steady, these related search terms are the rise and have increased significantly in the past year:

  • Bars near me (+110%)
  • Rooftop bars near me (+80%)
  • Happy hour near me (+80%)
  • Restaurants with great cocktails (+60%)

The learning here is that consumers are regularly looking for new on-premises experiences, and are open to breaking out of the routine, whether while traveling or in their own city. Our takeaway is that hotels present a different kind of opportunity for beverage brands to connect with consumers outside of their normal day-to-day habits. The hotel bar is an alternative to the regular routine, and beer, wine, and spirits brands will do well in finding new ways to reach their audience at a variety of on-premise locations.

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