Meeting Mentor Magazine

December 2018

The F&B Experience

Travelers Seek Memorable Food Adventures

The trend is clear: Your meeting participants are looking for more exciting food adventures because all travelers are. And culinary travelers (who focus on the food and drink experience on trips and in choosing a destination) aren’t the only ones searching out unique and memorable food and beverage activities. As many as 93 percent of respondents to a World Food Travel Association 2016 study have participated in a unique food or beverage activity while traveling in the past two years.

Here are some findings from the study that can help you in future planning:
• 72% of respondents consider themselves knowledgeable about food and drink.
• For 59%, food and beverage is more important when they travel than it was 5 years ago.
• 80% have been motivated to take a trip or visit a destination because of a culinary activity or attraction.
• 49% of culinary travelers in particular are more likely to spend more on F&B, take part in a greater variety of experiences, and take more trips.
• Culinary travelers are more likely to return and recommend destinations — a key point for hoteliers. They’re also more likely to participate in other travel activities.
• Culinary travelers, regardless of high or low income, prioritize food and beverage — spending about 58% more per trip in the U.S. than leisure travelers.
• 52% of Gen Xers and Millennials are culinary travelers, compared to 42% of Boomers.

Sources of information. While traveling, 80% of respondents ask friends, family and colleagues for information on at least half of their trips. Also on at least half of their trips, about 67% used online reviews and 66% worked with hotel staff. Millennials are most likely to use reviews on web sites or apps.

About the study: 2,527 respondents from 11 countries; 52% female, 48% male; 40% Millennials (1981-98), 32% Generation X, 25% Boomers, 3% Silent. U.S. culinary travelers averaged $158 per day on personal F&B expenditures. Click here to order the study.

Lower food costs can help negotiations. Here’s some ammunition for your next F&B negotiation. According to the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant TrendMapper, the USDA reported that wholesale food prices were down 2.9 percent the first four months of 2016. Surpluses of pork, chicken and beef are contributing to the drop, and coffee is a “good buy.” All of this should lead to lower prices through 2017. — Maxine Golding

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