2008 Top Hotel and Restaurant Trends

Following is an excerpt from About Andrew Freeman & Co., a boutique marketing and public relations agency specializing in hospitality and lifestyle clients.

Top trends for restaurants and bars range from artisan salt selections to Izakaya bar menus; chefs growing their own gardens, and cupcakes moving from kids plates to adult menus. Top hotel trends include the rise of smallish boho-chic hotels, to the introduction of interesting “get frisky” packages for feline pets. Industry veteran Andrew Freeman said of the 2008 trends to watch, “Today, the modern diner and traveler expect a more personalized and fun approach to their experiences from the bar to the hotel suite.” Freeman continues, “Savvy guests are up on all of the trends and expect to be wowed. They desire unique and one of a kind offerings.” He continued to say that now more than ever, guests make their choices based on great word-of-mouth and social networking online buzz.

From the marketing standpoint, the biggest trend of the year is that giving back is essential-and both restaurants and hotels are partnering more with charitable organizations that align with their values, benefit their communities and make good business sense.

Staying in the Groove: Hotel Trends

Going In and Coming Out Gay and lesbian travel (LBGT) continues to gain velocity and popularity. With a $54 million market share, major cities and hotels around the world are opening their doors wide to welcome this very discerning crowd.

Netting New Clients Catch potential guests on the Internet. Consumers today continue to rely less on printed and bound guides, turning instead to social media websites, travel sites and blogs for planning, scheming and dreaming. Savvy hotels are creating websites with a taste of things to come, and adding systems to make reservations a breeze.

Wired from Door to Door The technology boom continues. Free wireless Internet, remote paperless check-in and check-out, on-line reservations, Ipod docking stations, movies on-demand and in-room Play Stations are now expected by today’s modern traveler.

Heading for Greener Pastures The green train has left the station and more hotel companies are jumping on board. Here’s the basic packing list: high-efficiency light bulbs, non-toxic paints and carpeting, low-flow showerheads and toilets, non-toxic cleaning materials, organic cotton towels and linens (laundered only on request, of course), air filtering systems and hotel collateral printed on recycled paper using soy-based inks.

Beyond the Bare Essentials Forgot your Ipod? Covet that cozy robe? Now just about everything in your hotel is available for purchase. Left your toothbrush, deodorant or swim suit at home? Thoughtful hotels have amenities that cover just about every guest request.

At Your Leisure Business is booming, but not with the typical business traveler. Leisure travel and multi-generational family adventure vacations are on the rise. Grandmother and granddaughter travel packages keep the generations connected.

Take a Deep Breath and Say “Ohmmm” From Yoga studios to one-on-one gyms and medi-spas, hotels are seriously focusing on your well-being by offering personalized treatments packages including diet coaching, outdoor excursions, and rejuvenating boosts with custom massage menus.

The Halls of Comfortable Learning Hotels get a “PhD” in service when they offer tours of local markets, in-depth peeks into local culture, cooking classes with the chef and other cultural educational experiences.

May I Take Your Order Please: Restaurant & Bar Trends

Saline Solution Artisan Salt: fleur de sel, sel gris, Hawaiian pink, Himalayan black; even smoked salt has appeared in dishes from tuna tartar to salted caramel ice cream.

The Aussie Invasion OZ has arrived. Well beyond wine imports, menus are loading up with Aussie olive oil, honey, fruit pastes, and seafood.

Small Plates Go Global From Japanese Izakaya, Indian Chaat, Middle Eastern Mezze to Spanish Tapas, the small plates craze keeps going and growing in every kind of restaurant concept across the country.

Artisans in Residence From house-made salumi like prosciutto, sausage, coppa, salami, mortadella to house-cured olives. Chefs take more pride in making everything in-house. You say salumi, I say salami.

Blooming Chefs Chefs with a green thumb are growing their produce, usually organic, on their own farms, behind their restaurants, or on rooftop gardens. You can’t get more local than this.

That Size Fits You Perfectly Di
shes now come in small, medium, and large portions to satisfy a wide range of tastes and appetites. The entrée as we know it is not going away, but size does matter.

Sweet Says Hello to Savory Caramel with foie gras, sorbet in your soup, salt on desserts, and truly tangy frozen yogurts – sweet and savory join forces with delicious results.

Extreme Green Obeying the mantra of SOL food (seasonal, organic and local) is almost the norm. Now, restaurants are going completely sustainable with biodegradable disposable tableware, eco-conscious cleaners and a suite of green business practices.