In my interactions with customers on various aspects of timeshare, I have been asked several feature-and-benefit questions. But the one question that keeps coming up again and again is about the kind of food that’s available these days, and my responses have been specific to resorts under the AIRDA banner.
F&B options are almost a strategic component in a vacation plan, and can be major influencers. Having said that, planning food menus for diverse multi-cultural segments can be a big challenge – especially if you have to do it every day of the week. The challenge starts with detailing vegetarian and non-vegetarian options, and sometimes goes into extreme preferences.
F&B is also one area where people can be fussy and reactive for many reasons – quality, quantity, freshness, pricing, and the way it’s served. Timeshare resorts seem to come under greater scrutiny than hotels, for almost anything they do in this department.
For this month’s update, I would like to share some useful takeaways from my conversations with timeshare customers – to explain how things have changed over the years under the F&B banner.
F&B is always a major ingredient in the timeshare experience. And this alone can decide if a customer wants to come back to your resort, or go somewhere else. Most resorts have senior chefs from the industry with experienced support staff in their kitchen and service areas. And since customers come from all over the country, there is a clear attempt to provide wide ranging cuisines – North Indian, South Indian, Chinese and other interesting inclusions from local fare. Buffets have also become popular, and I have seen some very elaborate spreads over the years.
There was a time when rooms in timeshare resorts came with kitchens, to extend the flavor of home-cooked food. And this was considered a convenience feature by resorts and initially popular with large families going on vacation. These days most women want to distance themselves from pots, pans and the cooking range - which is understandable because home-makers spend so much time running the house during the year.
The game changer here was the introduction of well managed central kitchens and theme restaurants - giving you buffet and à la carte options. And with the added convenience of room service, why would you want to spend vacation time doing the cooking? (People don’t even seem to be making tea with their electric kettles.)
I must say that things are changing for the better. Resorts these days organize food festivals showcasing unique local fare, or popular desi cuisines from around the country. In most cases, resorts also customize menus for overseas guests arriving through timeshare exchange portals.
Another visible introduction is the inclusion of health foods in line with wellness programs. Menu options for vegetarians are also getting wider and more interesting – and that seems to be going down rather well.
And finally, when it comes to food, it’s important to serve it with a smile – almost makes it taste better, as I have seen.
B. S. Rathor
Advisor & Member - Executive Committee
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