An undeniable shift is happening in and around the hospitality landscape: sobriety is on the rise. People choose to be sober for lots of reasons: pregnancy, alcoholism recovery, fitness, contraindications with other health conditions or medication, or sheerly because they’ve grown weary of alcohol-soaked culture.
This isn’t a passing fad. As America’s focus on health and wellness grows and sobriety becomes increasingly mainstream (bolstered by sober celebrities like Bradley Cooper, Kendrick Lamar, Jennifer Lopez, Blake Lively, Jada Pinkett Smith, Jennifer Hudson and more), so do the numbers. According to a report by Bon Appétit, the market for low- to zero-alcohol beverages (long a stable, sluggish market) is expected to jump by nearly a third over the next three years. Heineken and Guinness are just two popular beer makers who have added low or zero ABV beverages to their line-up, with large-scale distribution. Even top craft-brewers like Brewdog have gotten into the act with their Nanny State .5 ABV beverage. In other words, the sober consumer will increasingly be front and center for marketers, rather than an afterthought. Throwing a dusty O’Doul’s on the bottom of the hotel bar’s menu will no longer suffice in order to remain competitive.
On the surface, this might seem like bad news for minibar profits, who have historically relied heavily on beer, wine and spirits for profits. But today’s modern minibar reaches far beyond alcohol to make every guest feel welcome (while still helping your profits). Follow these five quick and easy tips to help you better serve sober guests and avoid a hospitality hangover:
Provide amenity alternatives
While a glass of champagne at check-in or a bottle of wine left in a celebrating couple’s room is a nice touch, it’s not right for every guest. Consider allowing guests to choose from multiple options, such as a drink, a dessert or an exclusive discount or souvenir. Guests will appreciate having options, and by offering them to each guest, the sober among them won’t be forced to explain why they are turning down the free drink.
Focus on wellness
By placing a focus on health, wellness and/or fitness rather than solely on alcohol, you can create a hospitality experience all guests can experience and enjoy. For instance, ditch the in-room beer for sparkling water, chocolate covered almonds, Bare chips, or non-food items like our Sun Kit.
Make non-alcoholic options easy to find and order
Rather than relegate the non-alcoholic options to the back of the minibar, bottom shelf of the store, or the bottom of the menu, give them enticing presentation and ample signage so guests know their options. (Word to the wise: O’Doul’s is fine in a pinch but better options now abound; stock them!) Consider adding a jazzy non-alcoholic smoothie, mocktail or cold pressed juice to the pool bar specials. Can’t fit those options in the minibar itself? Add a card listing the additional options available by calling the front desk or room service.
Consider tiered all-inclusive packages
Sober guests often steer clear of packages or all-inclusive properties because they are essentially charged for alcohol they won’t be drinking. One easy alternative is a differently colored wristband or other clear marking for sober guests that excludes alcohol, and subsequently comes with a lower price tag.
Create events and experiences not exclusively focused on alcohol
Wine and cheese pairings, beer tastings and manager happy hours are all popular hotel guest perks, but don’t forget to mix in events that can be enjoyed by sober guests. Breakfasts, snacks, live music, board games, yoga or fitness classes, excursions like a boat ride, special waterside dinners, family-friendly pool parties, coffee hours, tea tastings and more are all great alternatives, and all provide opportunities for upsells and guest purchases.
By providing more options, a focus on wellness and a culture of hospitality built on more than booze, you’ll make every guest feel welcome and valued. We can help you stock up with delicious snacks and handy kits, contact us today to get started.