. How Important Is Room Service? | Meetings & Conventions

How Important Is Room Service?

Most planners say it's essential in a full-service hotel

By the Numbers
69% say an on-site grab-and-go food outlet would satisfy their needs if room service was not offered.

21% report that many of their attendees rely on room service.

69% say the on-site planning staff always or often relies on room service while running a meeting.

28% don't consider the availability of room service -- or lack thereof -- to be an important factor in the selection process.

The recent decision by the 2,000-room Hilton New York Midtown to discontinue room service (click here for more) generated lots of buzz among meeting professionals. This month's survey offers a closer look at how important that amenity is to those who use full-service properties for their groups. For 28 percent, such a move would be a deal-breaker; another 44 percent would be less likely to book a full-service property that didn't offer room service. For respondents' additional thoughts on this hot topic, go here.

Planners' View: The Importance of Room Service at Meeting Hotels

M&C's August research asked meeting professionals whether room service is important when choosing a full-service hotel for a group. In addition to answering the survey, many respondents shared additional thoughts on the subject. Here's a sampling:
• If the hotel has a restaurant, I feel room service is an extension of that service for those who do not want to go to the restaurant, are in too late or early, are not feeling well or have a quick window of time to eat.
• I don't think my attendees would be satisfied with going to the lobby to collect their food delivery. However, the idea of random people walking through hotels delivering [food from nearby eateries] to guest rooms gives me concern from a security standpoint. I think if hotels are going to phase out room service they need to accept delivery from the random food person and have the food delivered to the guest's room by hotel staff. I don't think it's good for people with violence or robbery on their mind to know if you walk into a hotel looking like you are delivering a pizza you can proceed unimpeded about your business. Perhaps I'm paranoid, but disaster planning is a hallmark of a good event planner.
• For meeting planners and their staff, 24-hour room service is essential. Not having it would be a deal breaker for me. We work crazy and late hours. Some days we would not be able to eat otherwise.
• I feel that room service is not important. I choose a hotel because it can make my meeting the best it can be.
• Hate staying at a hotel only to find out that it has limited services
• Having some level of room service or food access is important to my attendees. Many travel a great distance and don't have time to go out and find a healthy meal at late hours.
• In climates where weather is inclement and you arrive late to the hotel from traveling, a 24-hour outlet should be available to meet demands of travelers -- including special healthy meal requirements and not just chips and candy.
• If there's no room service, any on-site outlet should be open long hours, if not 24 hours. People arriving late at night or very early in the morning need to have access to food and beverage.
• There are many times when I get into town late the night before a meeting, or when working an extremely long day when room service might be either the only option open or a welcome respite from a day where I have been on my feet for 12 to 14 hours. I would be reluctant to book a room reservation at a hotel that did not offer room service.
• In my opinion, a hotel cannot call itself "full service" without room service!
• If we are feeding our attendees all their meals, room service is not a factor in choosing a venue.
• Room service is highly overpriced for mediocre to low-quality food.
• Room service pricing is unreasonable, generally. In a revenue management mind-set, hotels could generate more revenue if prices were at least in most people's ballpark.
• For some groups it can be a deal-breaker but generally isn't critical.
• As a woman traveling alone, room service is extremely important for security. I would not go into a hotel restaurant alone.
• It impacts both site selection and those who have contracts now. Often a clause is used to say that the "condition of the hotel" will be the same or better than when a site visit was conducted or when the contract was signed. I envision some disputes around the word "condition" if hotels eliminate a service -- room service or other -- after a contract has been signed.• Especially for breakfast, most of my groups rely heavily on room service -- so much so that we have started to allow that to the master [bill] along with breakfast in the dining room if they are on their own for breakfast but we pay for it.
• While room service is very important, many other factors trump it: meeting space, dates, overall hotel quality, fair contract. If a hotel had all these, but not room service, we would still book.
• Important to know about 24-hour food-service options nearby/available. In a vibrant downtown area, room service might be less important than in a more remote, suburban area.
• Typically, the cost is so outrageous that the convenience does not offset getting food from other outlets.
• I would NEVER, NEVER, EVER book a hotel for a meeting that did not have room service. I don't even like to [personally] use a hotel that doesn't have 24-hour room service.
• As planners, we start and finish our days before regular guests. We need room service!
• It has gotten so expensive. I love to have room service for breakfast.
• I understand the economics of having room service, but I think hotels (which are in the industry of hospitality) need to think this through very carefully. I do believe that hotels charge an obscene amount for room service. Maybe if they rethink the entire process, they could figure out how not to charge $22 for eggs and toast!
• My attendees don't always use it, as we always have a dinner or reception upon arrival, but my hotels must have the option of room service for any who arrive late due to delayed flights or schedules.
• Our meetings are so time-intensive that the availability to eat whenever needed in the convenience of our own room is crucial.
• I believe it's much more relied upon by myself and my staff than by our attendees. We include breakfast and lunch and receptions with our programs. We also select properties with restaurants on-site or close by.
• I have staff that often order room service for lunch when they are working. However, room service can get expensive, and a grab-and-go with salads and sandwiches would probably be cheaper. Not sure about the attendees, but I would be willing to book a major hotel that didn't have it to see how the folks react.
• Room service is over.
• I think that the availability of room service connotes a certain level of overall service.
• I appreciate the option of room service after a long day of work at a conference or when I find myself without any dining friends. Relaxing in my room and having dinner brought to me is an option that I prefer when booking a hotel.
• Most execs I know work in their rooms after meetings and so call room service for dinner or snacks so they can get their work/calls done.
• Without it I would not eat some nights.
• For me, the ability to grab food without leaving the hotel is important to the staff, as we're usually working very long days. My attendees fly in to my meetings from all over the world, so the ability to have something hot to eat in the privacy of their room is important. However, I find the delivery of room service to be very awkward. I'd be perfectly happy to visit a grab-and-go outlet on the property, as long as there were hot food options and they were available 24 hours a day!
• I might not use room service for every meal, but I can't remember a single meeting where I haven't used it at least once, and at the critical, exhausted moment when I needed a late-night turkey club, you can bet I'd notice a lack of room service. That would make me rethink whether to use the location and hotel brand in the future.
• As a meeting planner, my staff and I tend to burn the midnight oil while everyone else is resting, so it is nice to have a delivery of coffee and snacks while we continue working through out the night.
• After working a show for 14 hours, all you want is room service with a cold beer!
• Hotels are becoming like the airlines -- traveling is no fun anymore and there is certainly no attention given to the customer.
• When I travel on vacation, I rarely if ever order room service. When I travel for business after working long hours, room service is my best friend.
• I believe research would show that far more females then males use room service.
• High-level execs and people heavily involved with running the meeting with tight schedules need to have the room-service option.
• Most of our attendees order room service at least once during a meeting. Our staff typically uses room service daily.
• If the hotel is not offering room service, they better make up for it in other ways. Better service, better meeting space, etc.
• When planning expos and/or meetings, one's day can run very late. You are often very tired and don't want to deal with anything more complicated than taking off your shoes and thumbing through a room service menu. And, in some cities, the streets roll up after dark. In these instances, it's always comforting to know that you can get a good meal right in your hotel without traveling blocks/miles, without working the maddening crowd or having to request a table for one.
• My VIPs are NOT happy unless we book properties with 24-hour room service.
• Full-service hotels are synonymous with room service; without it, a hotel is not considered full-service.
• Room service is most important in resorts and areas where other outlets are less available, especially for breakfast and dinner.
• I recently used the Banff Springs Hotel, which offers a 24-hour grab-and-go service. This was far more valuable to me than room service, which I hardly ever use. What I do find very useful is to have a refrigerator in the room -- not a mini bar, just a small fridge for snacks and wine. :)