Travel & Hotel News

Hotels open the door to the next evolution in room service: Travel Weekly

For some travelers, app-based food delivery companies like Grubhub and UberEats have already rendered hotel room service nearly obsolete.

A few pioneering players in the hospitality space, however, have found ways to use delivery apps to their advantage, leveraging new partnerships to put a modern, tech-enabled spin on traditional room service concepts.

In what it called a “first-of-its-kind” move, the recently opened Resorts World Las Vegas announced in June that it had inked a deal with Grubhub to launch On the Fly at Resorts World powered by Grubhub.

Billed as a new mobile ordering experience, On the Fly enables Resorts World Las Vegas guests to order from any of the megaresort’s 40 food and beverage venues as well as select retail outlets, either via the Grubhub app or by scanning Grubhub QR codes located throughout the property. Orders can be placed for pickup or for delivery to either a guestroom or to Resorts World Las Vegas’ 5.5-acre pool complex. Payments can be made by credit card or room charge.

For poolside deliveries, orders can be picked up from a secure, QR code-activated restaurant locker, which features touchless opening.

According to Resorts World Las Vegas president Scott Sibella, the On the Fly platform provides users with what he describes as “a completely new level of convenience.”

“Grubhub has mastered the third-party delivery service,” said Sibella. “Many guests are already familiar with the application and its functionality, [and] we’ve seen substantial early adoption rates of On the Fly.”

Unlike the typical third-party delivery process, however, On the Fly’s delivery logistics are handled by Resorts World staff members instead of independent delivery contractors. 

For Grubhub, the partnership marks the company’s first with a hotel and casino, but it likely won’t be the brand’s last.

Brian Madigan, vice president of corporate and campus partners at Grubhub, called the Resorts World Las Vegas tie-up a “natural fit to improve the guest experience.”

“We’re constantly looking for opportunities and partnerships that will improve the ordering and food delivery experience, and we see the hotel and resort space as prime for a shift to mobile ordering and delivery in the future,” Madigan added.

T0726Sextant2ndKitchen_C [Credit: Courtesy of Sextant Stays]

A sample of a 2ndKitchen QR code room service menu offered at a Sextant Stays property. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Sextant Stays

Meanwhile, in the hybrid apartment-hotel hospitality space, Sextant Stays is also innovating on the delivery front. The company, which operates vacation rental apartment-hotels in New Orleans, Miami and other markets, recently linked up with delivery service company 2ndKitchen to offer a “next-generation” room service amenity to guests.

“2ndKitchen essentially gives us room service without having an on-site restaurant taking up a big footprint or worrying about inventory, labor and all these other costs,” said Andreas King-Geovanis, founder and CEO of Sextant Stays. “It’s a way to add an amenity without overhead.”

Through 2ndKitchen, Sextant Stays is able to offer guests the ability to order off of what King-Geovanis calls a “white label” Sextant Stays-branded QR code menu, which features a selection of dishes from three to four local restaurants, all typically located within a five-block radius.

That proximity helps guarantee a timely delivery. Sextant Stays reports that between January and May, 2ndKitchen deliveries to Sextant Stays properties in Miami and New Orleans averaged under 30 minutes.

Moreover, 2ndKitchen doesn’t take any delivery or service fees from the customer, with a tip being the only additional line item on a check. The company does take a percentage of each sale from participating restaurants, though King-Geovanis confirmed that that cost remains below the high restaurant fees associated with most big delivery app brands.

“What Airbnb, Vrbo and a lot of other companies are missing is the F&B component,” said King-Geovanis. “Our goal is to provide a hotel experience with the same amenities and level of professionalism, with the comfort and space of staying in a home.”