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Thread: Appetite grows for free hotel breakfasts

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    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default Appetite grows for free hotel breakfasts



    Appetite grows for free hotel breakfasts - CNN.com

    (CNN) -- To ensure a happy hotel guest, offer excellent service, provide a comfortable bed and never, ever underestimate the power of a free bagel: After a good night's sleep, many travelers these days are expecting -- and receiving -- a good breakfast.

    You know the kind, included in the price of your stay and often served in a room just off the lobby of a Best Western or a Hampton Inn -- the quiet space that suddenly becomes the center of attention for several hours in the morning.

    There's just something very comforting about waking up in a strange city and knowing your first meal is ready and waiting for you as you start your day -- no searching around required.

    "It keeps you on property -- you don't have to go out to a Starbucks or a McDonald's. That's so convenient, it plays a huge role," said Jan Freitag, vice president at STR Global, a company that tracks data for the hotel industry.

    "A lot of the items on the menu are so that you can actually take them with you on the road for a snack for late morning or lunch. I think a lot of people think that they save that way as well."

    Breakfast is big, and hotels know it.

    Seventy percent of U.S. leisure travelers consider getting a free breakfast included with the room rate as extremely or very influential in their selection of a hotel or resort, according to the Ypartnership/Harrison Group 2010 Portrait of American Travelers.
    Poll Results
    What is your favorite hotel amenity?

    Free breakfast, 56%
    Free Wi-Fi, 28%
    Pool, 12%
    Exercise room, 5%

    Results based on a nonscientific CNN.com poll. About 11,000 people clicked on the survey October 12-19.
    RELATED TOPICS
    Hotels
    Travel and Tourism
    Food and Cooking

    Business travelers like it too: 63 percent of them say a free breakfast is extremely or very desirable when they choose a hotel or resort, according to the Ypartnership/Yankelovich Inc. 2009 National Business Traveler Monitor.

    (It's not really free, of course. Hotels roll the cost into the room rate.)

    'Hot' food is hot trend

    The offerings are usually pretty standard: bagels and English muffins, single servings of cream cheese, little packets of strawberry jam, trays of sticky-sweet pastries and maybe a do-it-yourself waffle.

    But many hotels these days are boasting "hot" breakfasts, where guests may find scrambled eggs, sausage and French toast.

    "Over the years, they've improved incredibly," said Alex Susskind, associate professor at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration.

    "So it's adding to the value proposition. When you think about business travelers' budgets being crunched, and even consumers' budgets being crunched, it adds value to the room rate."

    You'll mostly find the complimentary breakfast in the midscale category of hotels, especially those that don't have a restaurant on the premises, like Holiday Inn Express or Comfort Inn. More than 90 percent of those properties offer the amenity, according to STR Global.

    But ironically, the more you pay for your room, the less likely you'll get a free breakfast.

    The Waldorf Towers -- on the upper floors of The Waldorf Astoria in New York -- is among the very few luxury hotels that offer the perk. Only 4 percent of the properties in this category do the same, STR found.

    "They have a restaurant, and they want you to pay for your breakfast," said Daniel Mount, associate professor at Pennsylvania State University's School of Hospitality Management.

    "And at places like that, I don't think free breakfast is necessarily important."

    People who stay in full-service luxury hotels are looking for an enhanced experience -- service and food options that a buffet probably won't offer, Susskind added.

    The start of 'breakfast wars'

    But breakfast has become such a standard perk at some of the other hotel chains that they now compete on the basis of their morning offerings, Mount said.

    Embassy Suites, for example, touts itself as the only hotel brand that features cook-to-order omelets as part of its complimentary breakfast. More than 9,000 omelets are served daily, and it's by far the most requested breakfast dish, the company says on its website.

    "That is such a powerful part of that brand," said Scott Smith, who once worked for Embassy Suites and is now an instructor at the University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality Management.

    He recalled that when he asked guests what they liked about their stay, they almost always mentioned the cooked-to-order breakfast.

    The "breakfast wars" really took off in the mid-1990s, when some of the lower-tier hotels realized that they couldn't continue cutting their room prices without eating into their already low profit margins. So they began competing on value instead, Smith said.

    Meanwhile, the late '90s marked the rise of the "select service hotels," or properties that no longer had a restaurant on the premises and were cheaper to build, Mount added.

    A little 'arms race'

    A simple continental breakfast included in the room rate proved to be attractive to guests at these establishments, so the hotels began to expand their offerings to differentiate themselves from the competition.

    "It's a little bit of an arms race," STR Global's Freitag said.

    "If you look across the street and you see somebody offering bagels and a toaster, you feel like, 'Oh, now I've got to have eggs.' And then they look at your eggs and say, 'Now I've got to have an omelet.' Sooner or later, you end up with a large amount of offerings."

    Breakfast is also a relatively cheap way for a hotel to differentiate itself, Freitag said. Offering omelets is much less expensive than promising guests flat screen TVs or premium mattresses in their rooms.

    But don't expect free breakfasts to get even more elaborate -- at least at the more moderately priced chains.

    "If you go any further, then all of a sudden you're into being a restaurant, and that just takes on a whole new dimension as far as labor and cost. So as far as the breakfast wars, we've really kind of reached where we can go," Smith said.

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    Elite Member VenusInFauxFurs's Avatar
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    I rarely wake up in time for the free breakfast.
    When your daughter plays "House," she pretends to be an annoying doctor with a pill-addiction and a limp.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    My sister and I meet to exchange Mother and stay over night in a small Texas town. Right by the outlet mall!! We make it into a mini holiday. They have great breakfasts and our favorite thing: the waffels are shapped like the state of Texas!
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    When we took the fam to Sesame Place over the summer we stayed at a Homewood Suites and they offered free breakfast. I've stayed at numerous hotels that have offered it and have never been impressed. Well, this time was different--they had an awesome hot egg dish that I literally had 3 helpings of and actual GOOD FOOD. I've tried to duplicate the recipe and just cannot get it right...it was good.

    With little ones, it really can be a great thing. And they usually offer fruit throughout the day, as well as coffee, which is also nice.

    Embassy Suites also has a decent breakfast (included). Made to order omelets, and the like.

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    Elite Member McJag's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LynnieD View Post
    When we took the fam to Sesame Place over the summer we stayed at a Homewood Suites and they offered free breakfast. I've stayed at numerous hotels that have offered it and have never been impressed. Well, this time was different--they had an awesome hot egg dish that I literally had 3 helpings of and actual GOOD FOOD. I've tried to duplicate the recipe and just cannot get it right...it was good.

    With little ones, it really can be a great thing. And they usually offer fruit throughout the day, as well as coffee, which is also nice.

    Embassy Suites also has a decent breakfast (included). Made to order omelets, and the like.
    Lynnie- just call and have them email the recipe!
    I didn't start out to collect diamonds, but somehow they just kept piling up.-Mae West

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    Elite Member Ravenna's Avatar
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    Promises of a free breakfast only influence my choice of where to stay if I see reviews from guests who were very impressed with it, as it can mean anything from a croissant and juice to a huge buffet where it takes half an hour just to make your selections. I stayed at a place last year that had such a buffet and it was the best thing about the hotel.

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    Elite Member rollo's Avatar
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    A proper free breakfast (not continental) would influence me. It saves time and effort and there is something really mean about having to pay for a hotel room plus breakfast per person.

    I also read "premium mattress" as "premium mistress." I guess that would be a draw too.

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    Gold Member eboni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McJag View Post
    My sister and I meet to exchange Mother and stay over night in a small Texas town. Right by the outlet mall!! We make it into a mini holiday. They have great breakfasts and our favorite thing: the waffels are shapped like the state of Texas!
    Well, I envy you the boatload of options in Texas for great breakfasts. Never been disappointed. In fact, a couple of guys said ater they'd stopped at this one place, got their meals to go, traveled about 50 miles, they turned around and went to get a second order!
    ...Stopped smoking on March 8, 2011. Was trying to put a fancy ticker in my signature but it didn't work...

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    Elite Member sprynkles's Avatar
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    Inn America has a make your own waffle bar. You pour the batter and cook it up. The whole place smells like vanilla and heaven. I was very happy with that one.

    "A massive penis means never having to say you're sorry". Mo

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    free breakfast is pretty standard in most places i've stayed in europe. it's usually just a continental although when you're in paris even that is delicious because the croissants are amazing and they bring you a delicious, giant bowl of café au lait. and at a lot of little pensions in paris they'll even bring it up to your room.
    funnily enough it's the luxury hotels that charge your for breakfast.
    haven't stayed in that many hotels in north america but the ones i stayed in - mostly airport hotels the airlines set you up at when they fuck up and you miss your connection - had breakfast included. nothing out of this world but a decent buffet and coffee and stuff.
    here in south america it's always included too - not sure about luxury hotels but in the hostels and pensions i've stayed in it's always been the case.

    the best hotel breakfast i ever had was at the danieli in venice. but what made it even better was that it was free instead of the 65€ they usually charge your for it. and you eat it on the terrace overlooking the venice laguna.
    we got an incredible deal because the friend i went with was owed a favour by some guy who works in luxury hotels in italy and got us an amazing, massive room that usually goes for 1500€ a night for 150€ instead.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member sprynkles's Avatar
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    Wow Sput! You've had some awesome travels. That last one sounds fantastic.

    "A massive penis means never having to say you're sorry". Mo

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    ^^^
    yeah that was a lucky break. my first time in venice in style. every other time i've been there i've stayed in the standard overpriced, shabby pensione.
    but this time was fantastic, the danieli at beyond discount prices and we were there for the biennale and to see françois pinault's 2 new contemporary art museums.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

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    Elite Member msdeb's Avatar
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    i had a kickass breakfast for free at the Motel 6 near Disneyland. thats the extent of my worldly travels. Unfortunately I rarely count Vegas since I drink more than I eat there.
    Basic rule of Gossip Rocks: Don't be a dick.Tati
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    Elite Member LynnieD's Avatar
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    Well hell YEA MsDeb! Nothing better than a nip at Casino Royale!

    Miss Vegas now....

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    Gold Member eboni's Avatar
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    Vegas breakfasts are the bomb just for their opulence alone but southern hotel/motel fare is the best.

    But all said and done, I wanna hang out with the Sputnik!!!
    ...Stopped smoking on March 8, 2011. Was trying to put a fancy ticker in my signature but it didn't work...

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