In normal times, any hotel that offers hourly rates would be considered a bit low-rent. However, anything goes in a pandemic! In Montréal, the beautiful eastern Canadian city known for its vibrant dining scene, three hotels are hosting private dining experiences for guests that are just looking for a few hours out of the house, and not a room for the evening. Think of it as room service, but you’re there specifically for the food. The ingenious idea sidesteps the dining restrictions that are in place in Montréal (and much of the rest of the world), without running afoul of social distancing practices or restoring to outdoor experiences.
According to Eater.com, Guests can pay for a three hour reservation that includes a private hotel room – sans bed – where wait staff brings each course to the table. Some hotels are simply offering their room service menu to those looking for a night out, while others such as the Ritz-Carlton are taking advantage of the opportunity and offering unique menus with hotel stay packages or special holiday and New Year options.
You’d think that many restaurant owners might be miffed that hotels can offer this service while restaurants are closed. However, Eater.com interviewed a restaurant owner to get their take on the hotel’s latest business endeavors, and they understand the situation. “The hotels are suffering as much as us, if not more”, mentioned one restaurantuer. The hospitality industry is all interconnected –hotels and restaurants both thrive off tourism and travel –so ideas and collaborations like this can help to ensure that the industry as whole survives the trials of the pandemic.
To be honest, we think the idea of a private dining room sounds wonderful. Even as the pandemic wanes as the vaccine becomes more widely distributed, tourism in many locations, and therefore hotel occupancy, will likely remain low. While this is likely to remain a pricier option for dining out, restaurants could partner with local hotels and turn this technique into a longer-term strategy for the hospitality industry to generate revenue while we transition back into our pre-COVID lifestyle.