Best Chain Bar-Kitchen Synergy
InterContinental Hotels Group group has long tailored its drinks programs to the tastes of each market, pioneering concepts such as a grappa bar in San Francisco and a Japanese restaurant with extensive tequila offerings in Boston.
Just a handful of drinks promotions are deemed worthy enough to roll out nationally. One that the Atlanta-based chain elected to prominently feature across all of its company-owned and managed InterContinental and Crowne Plaza locations is its Stone Cellars Culinary Collection Wine Promotion.
Launched in late 2010, the pairing program was the brainchild of Jean-Pierre Etcheberrigaray, vice president of food and beverage for the Americas, and his team. The goals were to promote by-the-glass sales, underscore the fact that the property takes all of its wine offerings seriously and allow top culinary staff to have hands-on interaction in pairing the wines with suitable dishes and snacks.
The promotion, which featured Beringer’s varietal wines, has led to more than a 75% increase in house case wine purchases from 2010 to 2011, according to Etcheberrigaray.
House wines were chosen for the program because they “establish the image for our entire beverage program,” he says. “We’re proud of these house offerings.”
Where legal, the hotels allow guests to sample the featured wines. Sales of the brand’s big four—cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, merlot and sauvignon blanc—account for about 65% of all house wine sales, he says.
The hotel’s chain beverage partners “are chosen for their excellent distribution, price point and training opportunities,” Etcheberrigaray says. Treasury Wine Estates, Beringer’s parent company, has provided on-site training at more than two dozen InterContinental properties in seven major markets.
PERSONALIZATION AND PROMOTIONS
Etcheberrigaray believes that some of the well-placed point-of-sale material—which includes in-room recipe cards and customizable concierge/chef invitation cards—has helped to “coax guests out of their rooms and into our restaurants and bar.” Once guests sampled the wine, “most stayed and ordered a glass and/or other food and beverages,” he notes.
InterContinental, which shared the promotion on its Facebook site, also features all the wines on the room service menus, Etcheberrigaray says. And some locations offer the Culinary Collection Wines as an amenity.
InterContinental Hotels Group
Founded: 1777 (as U.K. brewery Bass)
Number of units: More than 4,150 hotels
Brands include: InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn