Austin Area Hotel and Hospitality Leadership Supports Innovation of Local Restaurant Ecosystems

At Austin BISNOW leadership conference, Austin Developers Agree Local Restaurant Ecosystems Importance to Overall Guest Experience.

Randall Scott White

8/18/20234 min read

Austin Area Hotel and Hospitality Leadership Supports Innovation of Local Restaurant Ecosystems

MONDAY, AUG. 21, 2023, Austin, TX - On August 16th at the Austin Hospitality Conference in Austin, multiple area leaders in hospitality development gathered to speak about the importance of restaurants in ensuring a healthy ecosystem around properties. According to a recent Austin Hospitality Market Report, "the full-fledged return of major events has been a boon for hotel demand in the metro. After contributing an estimated local economic impact of $281 million in 2022, including 10,000 direct hotel reservations, the SXSW festival likely generated similar benefits when held earlier this year. Austin City Limits Music Festival, meanwhile, created an even larger economic impact of almost $450 million in 2022". With a panel moderator projection of 49% hotel occupancy rates on Austin's horizon, this means Austin can expect growth as we welcome hungry hotel guests with purchasing power.

THE PANELISTS

There were two panels for the morning. First up was "From Hospitality to Gastronomy: The Growing Influence of Restaurants and Diverse Revenue Streams in Hotels" Featuring a "Who's Who" of Austin's Hotel and Hospitality leadership, including David Merritt, President of Merritt Development Group, Andy Patel, Regional Director of the Austin Market Lodgic Hospitality, Sarah Fox, Principal | Hospitality Practice Area Leader at Perkins Eastman, Brett Pitt, President of Merriman Associates/Architects Inc., Fey Carroll, Director of Construction at Hai Hospitality, and moderated by Anissa Sabawala, Owner of ATS Consulting.

Followed by "Elevating The Consumer Experience: Trends in Hospitality, New Developments, Evolving Amenities and More!", another leadership-packed panel. Guests included Channing Henry, Managing Director - Head of US, PKF Hospitality, Joe Rentfro, Managing Director Thomas Ranch, Soraya Spencer, SVP, Hospitality Hoque Global, Mark Rivers, Head of Resort Development, Canyon Ranch, Pete Chalfant, Hospitality Practice Area Leader, Gensler, and moderated by Glenn Hart, Director of Business Development, Broaddus Construction.

KEY TAKE AWAY: AUSTIN AUTHENTICITY

The panelists had the chance to connect around a subject so many Austinites and "Food Tourists" love: RESTAURANTS! Of note was the discussion around new levels of "Food Traveler" technology involving the overall guest experiences, including restaurants within a hotel itself or those in the local hospitality ecosystem.

"They want to develop memories, and specifically if it can be with restaurants as part improving the total "Authentic Austin" guest experience", says Sarah Fox, Principal | Hospitality Practice Area Leader at Perkins Eastman. "

THE IMPORTANCE OF RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS IN THE AUSTIN AREA

Of particular note are the conversations that took place around how tighter economic ties between hotels and restaurants boost both at the same time, without suffering losses from in-house restaurant dollars.

"The fear of leakage of your guests eating at other restaurants should be over", says Joe Rentfro, Managing director of the Thomas Ranch. "The silo should come down because it's adding to their overall guest experience in the area at large".

Left To Right: Channing Henry, Managing Director - Head of US, PKF Hospitality, Joe Rentfro, Managing Director Thomas Ranch, Soraya Spencer, Pete Chalfant, Joe Rentfro, Mark Rivers, Channing Henry, and Glenn Hart

KEY QUOTES:

  • "The objective is to be the fad before everyone else sees it is a fad"

  • "Hospitality is the most fun in real estate"

  • "Destination Dining is real, so strengthen those relationships"

  • "Authentic Austin is desired by business travelers and tourists seeking the Austin experience, and that is food"

  • "Austin entrepreneurs are helping to creatively interpret that to provide "authentic experiential moments"

  • "Anything new and different in restaurant design for luxury hotels must deliver on exceeding expectations of service levels"

ABOUT FULL PLATE 3D MENUS:
FULL PLATE 3D MENUS is excited to be a member of the Austin community on a mission to strengthen local economies with IN-ROOM Augmented Reality menus (WebAR, no app downloads required) that connect guests to local restaurants in a convenient, fun way using their smartphones. "The concept is simple", says FULL PLATE's founder Randall White. "When you check into your room, guest experiences are improved with a fun, Hotel-branded visual menu that "brings to life" local restaurant offerings nearby that can be delivered to their room, or key partner restaurants to recommend if hotel guests venture out to eat instead. FULL PLATE 3D MENUS bridges that gap and connects them together while increasing hotel guest memories and overall experience during their stay."

Contact FULL PLATE 3D MENUS to explore how we can help your hotel better connect with local restaurants in your area.

Left To Right: Fey Carroll, Director of Construction at Hai Hospitality, Andy Patel, Regional Director of the Austin Market Lodgic Hospitality, Anissa Sabawala, Owner of ATS Consulting

Left To Right: Brett Pitt, President of Merriman Associates/Architects Inc., Sarah Fox, Principal | Hospitality Practice Area Leader at Perkins Eastman, David Merritt, President of Merritt Development Group, Fey Carroll, Director of Construction at Hai Hospitality.