12 August 2019 | pacts insight | Views:

“Hotel coffee? No thanks”: how hospitality needs to challenge the cliché

Hotel coffee is bad. That’s just an assumption you make, even before you’ve checked in. And usually confirmed as soon as you check in the room, check out the freebies (miniature body gel, anyone?), and find a solitary sachet of ‘coffee with milk’ granules in a wooden pot.

Even if you’re there for a conference, lobby coffee can be a similarly sad affair. Bitter, badly brewed, and sitting on the side for longer than should be allowed.

Just how bad is hotel coffee?

The evidence is pretty damning. A UCC coffee survey showed that 75% of hotel visitors rate coffee in their rooms as “poor or average”, and YouGov-commissioned research that showed only 25% of guests would rate hotel coffee as “good quality”. And as 38% thinks in-room coffee is indicative of the rest of the hotel’s catering, that’s not ideal.

Whether it’s bad TripAdvisor reviews, or the subtle insult of bringing a takeaway coffee in, none of this is good for a hospitality provider’s rep. Whether the issue is bad coffee itself, that tap water taste, or uncleaned machines, it’s not good enough. Customers want more.

Coffee really matters to your customers

The UK has the third highest number of coffee drinkers - bested only by France and Italy. It’s coffee shop market grew by “7.3% in turnover in 2017”. We drank a collective 95 million cups a day in 2018, which is up 25 million in a decade. Coffee culture is just not going away.

No longer contented by an instant boiler and a box of tea bags, your customers and clients demand coffee. And guess what: they’re willing to start paying more for it. Insider knowledge shows that “a growing number of European consumers is prepared to pay higher prices for high-quality coffees”. And that, in large part, is thanks to the rise of speciality coffee.

Speciality coffee: it’s here, and they’re loving it

No longer is a mug of something hot, black, and strong enough to please punters. People know their coffee now. Research suggests that the speciality market will have grown by a whopping 100% by 2020, from where it was in 2018. But what is the speciality market about?

Speciality coffee is much higher quality than alternatives, scored 80+/100 by experts in the industry. But it’s also about a particular ethos: for traceability, for farmers’ financial security, for distinctive tastes, for care taken in the brewing process. Most importantly, it’s what consumers are slowly coming to expect.

Some hotels have caught on early

There’s lots of ways to capitalise on current coffee trends. And a lot of businesses are already doing it - offering barista-style espresso and steamed milk drinks, offering name brand coffee that implies quality, partnering with local roasteries, having genuinely good coffee shops on site - as in-room coffee is limited by practical factors.

At the end of the day, there’s a lot of ways to show you care about your customers’ and clients’ coffee needs. What’s crucial is that you do show you care.

How to please your coffee-loving customers

Step 1: recognise the importance of coffee

Step 2: provide equipment that, if they need to, customers can easily use for a great cup

Step 3: have quality coffee on offer, and a varied selection of it

Step 4: get Pact Coffee for Business to handle Steps 2 & 3 for you

No, really. Hit us up, and see how we can turn your coffee situation around here.


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