One of the most defining features of extended stay properties is the full in-room kitchen, and Homewood Suites by Hilton is testing out a new food concept that will encourage guests to use that amenity during their stays.
Now, guests staying at participating Homewood Suites by Hilton properties in Atlanta and Dallas can order meal kits directly from Atlanta-based PeachDish at a 20-percent discount. The kits include pre-portioned ingredients and instructions for cooking fresh meals that guests can prepare easily in their suite’s kitchens. The pilot program, which takes place from March 7 to June 9, will be tested out at a total of 22 properties.
Homewood Suites by Hilton says the decision to pursue this type of partnership was motivated by a desire to improve the extended stay guest experience. “When this idea came up, that big light bulb went up,” says Christian Kuhn, vice president of marketing for Homewood Suites by Hilton. “How great would it be to have a great delivered meal you’re cooking in your room that utilizes that space? We thought, ‘Why hasn’t anyone done it yet?’ It just made sense.” Homewood already offers complimentary grocery delivery service at its properties.
Meal-kit delivery companies are growing at a rapid pace globally. According to food-industry consulting firm Techomic Inc., sales of fresh meal kits outpaced all other foodservice segments last year, topping out at $1 billion globally. Techomic also predicts the meal-kit service segment to grow between $3 billion to $5 billion over the next 10 years. Right now, there are about 170 different players in the meal-kit delivery space, from Blue Apron and Plated to Purple Carrot and PeachDish.
Homewood Suites chose to work with PeachDish, Kuhn says, because it offers regionally-inspired Southern cuisine. “We’re based in Memphis,” Kuhn explains. “Most of their ingredients are locally grown or cultivated. That’s important to us for sustainability.” He also says that PeachDish tested out all of its Homewood Suites-specific meals in the in-suite kitchens to make sure they could be made with everything that’s already in the suite kitchens.
Here’s how it works: When guests book direct at a participating property, they’re alerted to the new PeachDish service and they also receive messages about it when they sign onto Wi-Fi during their stay. All orders for the week have to be made by Sunday before midnight, and kits are delivered on Tuesdays in Atlanta and on Thursdays in Dallas.
Additionally, guests can try out PeachDish’s service at home with the special discounted rate using a unique promo code, even if they aren’t staying on property when they order their meal kits. “Because the delivery days are fixed at the hotels, we wanted to let guests who want to try it out at home to be able to try it out, too,” Kuhn notes.
So, who’s going to order these meal kits during their stays? Kuhn thinks corporate travelers and road warriors will be open to the experience, as well families who are staying for an extended stay of five nights or more.
“I think they’ll want to try it out because of variety. When you have a long-term stay somewhere, you get tired of eating the same food on the road,” Kuhn explains. “This gives you that different option—there’s a home-like feel. You’re using fresh ingredients to prepare your own food and it’s not the same all the time. I do think there’s an appetite for this, and that’s why we’re doing a pilot—to find out what that appetite will be.”
If the pilot proves successful, Kuhn says the Homewood Suites team may consider other more regionally focused meal-kit services for other parts of the U.S. He also thinks there’s a good chance other extended stay brands will do similar partnerships, so we might expect to see more meal kit services popping up at hotels offering full kitchens.