Delta Flying High With Premium Offerings

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2019 Cheers BevX Award Winners
Best Single-Concept Hospitality Beverage Program: Delta Sky Clubs

Airport lounges provide a refuge for weary travelers eager to escape from the stressful environment. They’re also big money-makers for airlines, which rake in revenue from annual membership dues, as well as optional services available to guests at an additional cost—such as top-shelf alcoholic beverages.

U.S. Delta Sky Club members may choose from a selection of complimentary drinks, but many people opt to spend extra money on alcohol. That prompted Delta Sky Club to reinvigorate its beverage program in 2018, and increase sales and overall guest satisfaction at all 54 Delta Sky Club locations.

“As we continue to make Delta Sky Clubs a reason to fly Delta, our beverage program is an important part of that effort,” says Claude Roussel, managing director of Delta Sky Clubs. “The team puts great care into our beverage menu, refreshing it every few months so it’s new for even the most frequent traveler and designing it to align with the season while reflecting the latest trends.”

Beverage menus at Delta Sky Clubs change on an annual basis, but in 2018, staff conducted a more extensive review of product offerings than usual. This led to a 15% decrease in the number of items offered, from an average of 48 SKUs to 41.

This streamlining allows the clubs to better focus on the items that guests want and buy most of. The decision improved efficiency as well, since club staff now have fewer drink options to monitor, manage and serve.

Delta also upgraded several of its locations. The 17 “Super Clubs,” which are available in select cities and on high-volume concourses, feature high-end, full-service bar concepts known as The Bar. Each of these locations last year began offering an enhanced selection of premium wines and spirits, local craft beers and artfully constructed seasonal cocktails. Super Clubs also feature Delta Sky Clubs Core and Premium menus.

Climbing upscale

The new wine selection has been carefully curated by Delta Sky Clubs’ master sommelier. The wine list now includes classic, popular wines, as well as “discovery” wines that help encourage guests to try something new. 

Delta also added a flight of small batch bourbons—Booker’s, Baker’s and Basil Hayden’s—to the menus.

Another shift to the beverage program involved focusing on higher-end products that were prominently featured in Delta Sky Club events. Although suppliers have regularly paired with Delta in the past to create club events, last year’s efforts featured more top-shelf products such as Damrak gin, Jameson Irish whiskey and Dom Pérignon Champagne.

As a result of these changes, U.S. Delta Sky Clubs saw significant increases in sales, overall beverage consumption and average total guest spend. The average number of visits to Delta Sky Clubs also increased, as did overall guest satisfaction.

“Our guests have given us very positive feedback about the thoughtful approach to the beverage menu across Delta Sky Clubs,” Roussel says. “They love the options and quality in particular.”

Delta plans to continue experimenting with innovative new programs that enhance the clubs in the coming year. Along with focusing on incorporating the latest beverage trends, the company is considering adding more adventurous wines, exploring localized concepts, further customizing its craft cocktails and increasing the number of mocktails on the menu.

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