Sourcing and procurement in hospitality are key elements of determining what kind of experience customers will have. Individuals who stay at a particular hotel will react to the accouterments they encounter, and the quality of both disposable items and permanent fixtures could make or break a company's image in the eyes of guests.
Determining a procurement and sourcing strategy for the hospitality industry will naturally differ widely depending on whether a hotel is independent or part of a chain, and what kind of image the brand is trying to project. There are some baseline procurement priorities, however, that don't change in a hotel environment: Officials still need flexible and reliable networks of suppliers that won't break their respective budgets.
Time for local flavor?
One of the most compelling hooks a hotel can apply to its marketing is a strong association with its region. People staying there can experience not just the place they are staying, but the whole area. This unique and valuable feeling of place can come across especially strongly when companies take a local approach to sourcing, according to Hotel Management contributor Chop McIntyre. He recommended that hotels reach out to producers in their areas for goods such as food, wine and beer - the local flavors will leave an impression with consumers.
Of course, going regional with products including food means discarding some of the conveniences of the global interconnected market, such as being able to get foods that are out of season. McIntyre recommended that the way around this potential setback is to plan for seasonal cycles from the start. Some foods will simply never be able from local producers. Regional plans involve building around the things that are for sale on the company's proverbial doorstep, and the times when they'll be there.
The advantages of staying close to home may include cost and convenience, along with creating an unique impression for visitors. McIntyre noted that shipping ingredients across short distances is a comparative bargain, not to mention an environmental win - less shipping means a reduced carbon footprint. In today's eco-conscious consumer environment, a green profile may be a marketing point worth making.
When a hotel is part of an international conglomerate, it can still stake a claim to a regional identity. A Supply Chain Digital discussion of Two Roads Hospitality's ongoing sourcing efforts noted that the overall plan for the company contains stipulations about the ways in which each property is unique. There are some goods that will be uniform across the whole business, while others will differ. Embracing this patchwork nature from the start may be preparing the individual hotels to succeed on their own terms.
Two Roads uses an international procurement department for its overall leadership cues, but that department's vice president, Brian Edwards, told Supply Chain Digital he consults with regional executives to ensure each hotel is getting what it needs. Even beyond products that reflect local flavor, properties may simply need to focus on different areas of sourcing to meet distinctive consumer demands for their respective areas. Discovering what those divergences from the norm are can create valuable sub-strategies within the overall design.