Category 6, no room service??

Old Nov 21, 19, 9:32 pm
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Category 6, no room service??

Iím staying at the Algonquin in NYC right now... itís a category 6 hotel. They donít offer room service for meals. How in the world is that even possible? This is the only $400/night hotel Iíve ever stayed in that wonít send a hamburger (even a $25 hamburger) to your room. ...?
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Old Nov 21, 19, 10:12 pm
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Originally Posted by wrytoast View Post
Iím staying at the Algonquin in NYC right now... itís a category 6 hotel. They donít offer room service for meals. How in the world is that even possible? This is the only $400/night hotel Iíve ever stayed in that wonít send a hamburger (even a $25 hamburger) to your room. ...?
Cat 6 in NYC is not an indicator of a high end hotel, it's actually an indicator of a pretty standard hotel.

I assume they don't advertise room service on the website and to be fair a lot of hotels in major cities find room service loss making for the staffing and equipment needed.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 12:52 am
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There are Fairfields that are cat 6.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 4:47 am
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There has been a lot written about NYC hotels stopping room service. It began with the NY Hilton Midtown. They figured the juice wasnít worth the squeeze given the proliferation of delivery services. Now how that could possibly be the case has always been a mystery to me; presuming that the hotel still has a restaurant and if they aligned the menus RS would just be a minor additional capacity demand with huge margins. But they know their business better than I do, for certain.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 5:03 am
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Just wondering, why dont you just go out a get something.. or have it delivered.
NY has some great good available 24hrs a day.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 5:33 am
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I used to work in hotels. Room Service is not as simple as just letting people order off the restaurant menu. In my experience, there are two related factors in play.

1. Service Levels: Hotels must meet minimum service levels as judged by the chain and external rating organizations like AAA. Things like answering the phone within X number of rings and having a staff member available to spend several uninterrupted minutes discussing the menu with the guest are critical to "passing" an inspection involving Room Service. As such, you can't simply send all the Room Service calls to the Restaurant Host/Hostess Stand.
2. Staffing Levels: Aside from taking the calls, you need to have staff to deliver the food. In a busy restaurant, it's unlikely that the wait staff can leave their tables for 8-12 minutes (possibly longer) to go upstairs with the food. Given the price that Room Service costs, you can't simply have a busperson make the delivery. Guests (and especially inspectors) will expect a professional wait staff make the delivery.

In the hotels I worked, we lost a lot of money on Room Service lunch and dinner. We made up for those losses by doing a large number of breakfast orders during the work week.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 6:41 am
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Doordash and Uber Eats get you many more options from many more places at likely better prices
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Old Nov 22, 19, 8:07 am
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Originally Posted by writerguyfl View Post

In the hotels I worked, we lost a lot of money on Room Service lunch and dinner. We made up for those losses by doing a large number of breakfast orders during the work week.
Finally, an explanation other than just captive greed, for why hotel breakfasts with powdered eggs and cold sausages cost $35.

Originally Posted by Out of my Element View Post
Doordash and Uber Eats get you many more options from many more places at likely better prices
There seems to be a fringe segment of society that prefers low-quality, over-priced food, from a limited menu, preferably consumed at a desk or small coffee table in a cramped hotel room. Some even seem to view it as a luxurious splurge. If you have a reason (and good ones definitely exist -- such as when I refused to watch the Cubs win Game 7 of the World Series in a St. Louis bar or restaurant) to eat in your bedroom, then why wouldn't you order from a restaurant of good quality at half the price -- and probably delivered faster as well?

The only reason I can figure out is that some still have a romantic notion of room service -- as I did when I first started traveling for work ~20 years ago.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 8:20 am
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Originally Posted by JBord View Post
There seems to be a fringe segment of society that prefers low-quality, over-priced food, from a limited menu, preferably consumed at a desk or small coffee table in a cramped hotel room. Some even seem to view it as a luxurious splurge. If you have a reason (and good ones definitely exist -- such as when I refused to watch the Cubs win Game 7 of the World Series in a St. Louis bar or restaurant) to eat in your bedroom, then why wouldn't you order from a restaurant of good quality at half the price -- and probably delivered faster as well?

Well, for starters:

1) Consistency of product - knowing what you're going to get if you've stayed in that property before. If you get to know a property and it runs RS well, you can rely on consistency.
2) Delivery time / quality variability - when a delivery service goes wrong, it goes very wrong. And when they mess up an order, they really mess it up. Plus the food tends to show up cold / smashed / possibly eaten by the driver.
2) Escalation channels / service recovery - if the order doesn't show up on time or is wrong, a lot easier to call down to the front desk than to deal with big nebulous tech middlemen who says it's not their problem
3) Time - yes, using an app is quick, but dialing down to the desk is quicker.
4) Hassle - some properties give delivery drivers a hard time, meaning you have to come down and meet them, which can be 10+ minutes in a property with slow elevators, etc.
5) Points - at Hilton right now I'm earning 50+ points/$ so a room service dinner at $60 is 3000 points; 10 dinners is a free night somewhere. With MR it's less but still points.
6) Food itself - a lot of properties do in fact prep RS out of the restaurant and share the menu, and when it's good it's very good. For example the RS at the JWM Miami comes out of a Daniel Boulud place; not too shabby. Not every place is boring slop.

But I get it, you seem to prefer ad hominem arguments and name-calling to educated discourse and diversity of perspectives.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 9:23 am
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Originally Posted by arlflyer View Post
Well, for starters:

1) Consistency of product - knowing what you're going to get if you've stayed in that property before. If you get to know a property and it runs RS well, you can rely on consistency. I don't think most people would buy the argument that hotel food is more consistent than a good restaurant. But as you state, it can happen, and is specific to each property.
2) Delivery time / quality variability - when a delivery service goes wrong, it goes very wrong. And when they mess up an order, they really mess it up. Plus the food tends to show up cold / smashed / possibly eaten by the driver. This can also happen at a hotel. My food has never shown up smashed when I order delivery. Possibly a few fries are gone, but I can't know...same goes for room service delivery.
2) Escalation channels / service recovery - if the order doesn't show up on time or is wrong, a lot easier to call down to the front desk than to deal with big nebulous tech middlemen who says it's not their problem Fair point, although I guess most of us assume food delivery will happen as planned, as it does 99% of the time. I don't plan for 1% error rates for small things like dinner.
3) Time - yes, using an app is quick, but dialing down to the desk is quicker. Sure. Although I have more flexibility...I can see menus online, hundreds of times more choice, and could actually order on my way to the hotel from the back of the airport taxi if I get in late.
4) Hassle - some properties give delivery drivers a hard time, meaning you have to come down and meet them, which can be 10+ minutes in a property with slow elevators, etc. Agreed, although I see that changing as UberEats and others become more prevalent. I don't mind taking 5 mins of my time to get out of the room, but I understand that some people may have reason not to.
5) Points - at Hilton right now I'm earning 50+ points/$ so a room service dinner at $60 is 3000 points; 10 dinners is a free night somewhere. With MR it's less but still points. I'd prefer a good meal over points, but that's just my preference. Uber now gives points for food deliveries, although the rewards are not nearly as valuable as Marriott.
6) Food itself - a lot of properties do in fact prep RS out of the restaurant and share the menu, and when it's good it's very good. For example the RS at the JWM Miami comes out of a Daniel Boulud place; not too shabby. Not every place is boring slop. Agreed, although I think you'll probably agree that this is not the norm. There are always exceptions. And again, I'll state that if I'm going to enjoy a meal from Boulud, I don't think a hotel bedroom is the atmosphere I want. It's marginally better in a suite. But I'd rather take the time and go to the restaurant. You may not, that's ok.

But I get it, you seem to prefer ad hominem arguments and name-calling to educated discourse and diversity of perspectives.
Huh? This was neither an attack nor was there any name calling. If you're referring to the words "fringe segment", I don't think that qualifies. It's certainly not a mainstream segment that is pining for room service. If you'd prefer I say "small segment", I can live with that.

I made an observation, followed up with supporting facts and observations. You've done the same...that's educated discourse and diversity of perspectives. By the way, there is significant data that supports people generally do not care for room service any more. Different surveys indicate that either 1) people don't think it's useful given the new delivery services, or 2) they want it upgraded and changed. Hotels are finding it easier and cheaper to respond to the first point than the second.

You make some good points above, and some I disagree with. I've responded to each in bold.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 9:30 am
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Originally Posted by GoSh4rks View Post
There are Fairfields that are cat 6.
Yeah in NYC this is like complaining that the RI doesn't offer room service.

Also worth nothing there are now many full service Marriotts that do not offer room service. Two I can think of are the Marquis San Diego and Marriott Oakland City Center. It's the trend.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 9:53 am
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Originally Posted by JBord View Post
Huh? This was neither an attack nor was there any name calling. If you're referring to the words "fringe segment", I don't think that qualifies. It's certainly not a mainstream segment that is pining for room service. If you'd prefer I say "small segment", I can live with that.
It was a generalization based upon zero data. How do you know what the segment is? Do you have industry data? Yes, taking a common practice that is fairly prevalent and acceptable within business travel circles and calling it "fringe" behavior is tantamount to name calling - "fringes of society" does not have a positive connotation anywhere, except maybe some artistic circles which embrace the moniker.


Originally Posted by JBord View Post
I made an observation, followed up with supporting facts and observations. You've done the same...that's educated discourse and diversity of perspectives.
No, you made a sweeping generalization and "supported" it using statements that all go "I, I, me, I". That's not really how one supports a statement about a population, but it's OK.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 10:51 am
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Originally Posted by arlflyer View Post
It was a generalization based upon zero data. How do you know what the segment is? Do you have industry data? Yes, taking a common practice that is fairly prevalent and acceptable within business travel circles and calling it "fringe" behavior is tantamount to name calling - "fringes of society" does not have a positive connotation anywhere, except maybe some artistic circles which embrace the moniker.

No, you made a sweeping generalization and "supported" it using statements that all go "I, I, me, I". That's not really how one supports a statement about a population, but it's OK.
I've been a business traveler for 20+ years. It's never been prevalent to order room service for me or any of the hundreds of colleagues I've worked with. Yes, it happens, but there's no data that points to prevalence. In fact, if enough people were ordering room service, it would be a profit center for hotels rather than a net loss. There's plenty of data that supports the fact that hotels lose money -- it's because the revenue from these meals that cost twice what you'd pay in a restaurant doesn't cover the cost of the staffing. That can ONLY be the case if not enough people are utilizing room service. I've already said I'd be willing to change my description to "small segment" since the word fringe upsets you so much. So can we at least agree that it's a small segment of the population that uses room service when it's available?

I didn't use any I or Me statements in my original post. I suggested that room service food prices are low quality (opinion), over-priced (fact when compared to similar restaurants), have a limited menu (fact when compared to a delivery service), and often consumed in small hotel rooms at desks or tables (fact, when you recognize that suites with dining areas are a small percentage of hotel rooms).

So again, no name-calling and no attacks, yet that's what you accused me of because you disagreed with my perspective. I now apologize if I offended you by disagreeing with your opinion, and I'll move on.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 11:06 am
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I think that Marriott redemption categories are primarily about popularity/demand, rather than a primary signal of ďluxury.Ē (Thus in a big popular city you might have a Cat 6 Fairfield, while in a smaller town there might be a Cat 2 or 3 Marriott).

I wouldnt necessarily link my expectations of service with the category of hotel.
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Old Nov 22, 19, 11:31 am
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Originally Posted by JBord View Post
IYes, it happens, but there's no data that points to prevalence. In fact, if enough people were ordering room service, it would be a profit center for hotels rather than a net loss.
Show me aggregate financials for any chain with F&B revenue and marginal costs split by delivery channel; I'll be curious...

In the interim, the fact that the majority of business hotels continue to offer RS indicates that they have reason to do so. Markets generally don't lie.
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