Hoteliers need to find a new selling point, says hotel critic Fiona Duncan

15 October 2014 by
Hoteliers need to find a new selling point, says hotel critic Fiona Duncan

The Sunday Telegraph hotel critic and reviewer Fiona Duncan believes that country house hotels need to reinvent their food offering if they want to drum up PR interest for their properties.

The writer and co-founder of the Charming Small Hotel Guides, said: "Marketing ‘locally sourced' food and ‘kitchen garden produce' has become de rigeur, to the point that it's just not new any more. Hoteliers are going to have to come up with a new selling point."

Duncan, who was speaking ahead of her appearance at The Caterer Summit on 7 November, added that destination spas will also have to address their food offer to remain competitive.

"I think a big trend will be the food in spas, with raw food a coming fad," said Duncan. "They will need to have standalone restaurants or cafés as well as shops in order to be viable and successful."

She added: "It's no good just plonking a block with facilities onto a hotel and expecting it to become a destination spa. People's requirements are so high now, and they want to feel as if they've entered a world of calm and wellbeing."

While guests increasingly want spa treatments, Duncan conceded that not all hotels have the resources or space to create a destination spa and have come up with more imaginative ways of providing treatments.

"In-room treatments are becoming more and more popular, while some hotels have created charming spaces outdoors - potting sheds, pavilions, or, in the case of the Pig on the Beach, shepherd's huts," she said.

Duncan will be on a panel of reviewers and secret shoppers at The Caterer Summit, discussing what they look for in an overnight experience, and sharing their experience of the most common mistakes in hotels.

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