Unlocking all-inclusive hotel secrets 

Hotel buffets: Things you should know

Image of a hotel buffet. Credit: Ksenija Toyechkina/Shutterstock.com

How do hotels benefit from their too-good-to-be-true all-inclusive deals? This is the question many savvy travellers ponder when looking for the best value for their accommodation.

An investigation by The Hustle, which delved into about 30 buffets across the United States, shed light on this matter.

Their findings, reveal the surprising efficiency of hotel buffets. Unlike a typical restaurant that might serve a maximum of 25 patrons within an hour, a single buffet chef can cater to 200 guests in the same timeframe.

The buffet strategy

Hotels have mastered the art of buffet arrangement to maximise profit while seemingly offering endless choices.

By placing less expensive items at the forefront and using smaller plates, they create an illusion of abundance and variety.

Larger serving utensils are used for cheaper bulk items like potatoes, while more expensive offerings, such as truffles, foie gras, and oysters, are less visible or harder to access.

Cutting costs, enhancing appeal

The self-service model of buffets significantly reduces the need for a large kitchen and dining room staff, allowing for substantial cost savings.

Hoteliers recommend strategies like offering more bread to fill guests quickly, charging for drinks, and penalising waste to further increase profitability.

Behavioural insights and the three-day trend

Pere Navalles, a neuromarketing expert, explains that the allure of an all-you-can-eat buffet taps into our primal instincts to seek out the best value for our needs.

However, it’s observed that by the third day, guests’ consumption noticeably decreases, with many opting for water over alcoholic beverages.

This behavioural shift ensures that hotels rarely lose out on such deals, striking a balance that benefits both parties.

In conclusion, while the concept of an all-inclusive may seem like a challenge to hotel profitability, clever strategies and an understanding of human behaviour ensure that hotels continue to thrive.

Guests, on the other hand, enjoy the perceived value and abundance, making it a win-win situation for all involved.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.