According to USA Today, hotels are breaking into the wine industry. Several leading hotel chains have launched wine clubs and events, while some are even creating their own labels. Many of these hotels are actually offering their wine for free. At Kimpton Hotels, for example free wine is available during certain hours as part of the Wines that Care program. Affinia Hotels is following suit with its new free wine hour at four of its New York City venues.
Emily Wines, Master Sommelier and Director of Wines at Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants explains: “What we’re doing with the (Wines that Care) program is really just an extension of Kimpton’s belief that every gesture counts, whether its the responsibly produced wines we pour or our ongoing EarthCare partnerships with prominent conservation organizations like Trust for Public Land, it all matters.”
Chekitan Dev, author of Hospitality Branding and associate professor at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration, explained: “This is one example of hotel brands extending their footprint and therefore their engagement with their guests by making themselves about more than simply lodging. By keeping themselves ‘top of mind’ in this way, they hope to be the brand of choice for the guest’s next lodging stay.”
There are really several motives here. Research conducted by the Sheraton has found that 66% of guests are more likely to splurge on wine while traveling if “there were a premium wine program offered.” The hotel has discovered that 95% of guests would revisit Social Hour and recommend such programs to others. According to Sheraton’s global brand leader Hoyt Harper, people linger at the bar even after Social Hour ends. In fact, wine sales increased 43% since Social Hour was launched.
“Wine is a universal beverage that is often associated with social interaction, which we encourage among our guests,” Harper said.
The trend is on the rise in NYC. The top 11 hotels with free wine and cheese hours include the Liberty Hotel, the Franklin NYC, Affinia Dumont, the Muse- Kimpton, Hotel Elysee, Affinia Shelburne, Casablanca Hotel, Hotel Giraffe, 70 Park Avenue Hotel, Ink48, and Affinia Fifty.
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