Hotels are facing growing demand from guests to accept external food deliveries. New research indicates two thirds of millennials are more likely to book with hotels that will accept external third-party takeaways ‘in-room’.

Industry thought-leader, EP Business in Hospitality recently hosted a thoughtprovoking business forum made up of world class hoteliers, with HGEM (guest experience management firm), to question how external food delivery services such as Deliveroo and Just Eat are impacting hotels and foodservice today. The debate was triggered by new consumer research conducted by HGEM, which revealed that 67% of millennials are more likely to make room reservations with hotels that are prepared to accept third party food deliveries ‘in-room’.

Chris Sheppardson, CEO at EP Business in Hospitality, said after the debate: “It’s a fascinating topic for our industry, interestingly the initial thinking was that hoteliers would be resistant to third-party food services delivering food to their guests, but that wasn’t the case. “Many believe it is now a guest expectation to be able to have food ‘delivered in’ from outside providers and that refusal could alienate future generations of customers. Boutique hotels in particular, believe that this can actually work to their advantage in terms of add-on sales for beverages to accompany the deliveries and also building relationships with local restaurants, which can be effective and authentic.”

This industry debate is forcing many operators to re-evaluate their guest service options to decide whether the ‘delivered-in’ model should become a natural extension to those services already on offer, or perhaps a natural extension to a more luxurious service.

Key Points from the forum also included:

  • As an extra service level, some hotels are considering building relationships with a small selection of third party food operators that have specific global cuisines that complement their own menu.
  • Many hotels agree in-room deliveries from external providers should become part of the overall service package but controlled by the hotel.
  • There is negativity surrounding hotel room service so considering external options is viable. Some believe it may also force hotels to improve and re-evaluate their own in-house room service options.
  • Hotels are struggling to cater for all dietary requirements in today’s evolving world, which places pressure on hotels to constantly learn and adapt. A relationship with good outside sources could provide support.
  • Guests want to access fresh locally produced food and this may act as a catalyst to back away from deliveredin models. But is there greater trust in a hotel one stays in or the brand chosen to deliver the food? •
  • For large hotels, many agree the development of branded Apps could add a service level to guests and provide the extra experience.

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