Cooking classes can be a great amenity to offer your guests as a way to spark their culinary interests and entice them with the local flavors, chef specials, and fan favorites at your hotel. They are also a great way to build loyalty. If you can logistically pull off a cooking class and the hotel’s culture befits an amenity like this, the next step is to look at the initial planning stages of an on-premise cooking class.

Before you begin

Should we do this at our hotel? How do we see an on-premise cooking class fitting with the hotel’s brand messaging? If your clientele is primarily leisure travelers and your customer persona is that of someone who enjoys food, then you have the starting ingredients for success. Look to your team to all contribute to this decision and make sure this is something that will add value beyond a nice perk for guests.

What’s the cost/benefit?

Once you’ve decided to proceed, consider space, resources and a benefit analysis to justify this program. Do you currently have a kitchen? If not, can you budget for portable sources of heat? Do you have physical space to do this without being a bottleneck to your food and beverage outlets? Consider these questions with your team. If there is confidence that this program makes sense, look for ways to create an ROI for this program.

How to design for maximum ROI

There will be costs associated with this new program and before giving your guests a chance to sizzle in the kitchen, perhaps we look at an ROI on this new amenity offering.

Have a fixed price in mind that you would charge a non-guest and those that book through indirect channels but use this new amenity as a perk if they book direct instead. The margin you save on direct bookings could significantly outweigh the costs associated with the program.

The basic costs without the frills is that of labor, raw materials and opportunity cost to drive alternative revenue from any space used. As a side note, utilizing meeting or restaurant space when not in usage is a sure way to keep this cost low while being creative with a new initiative.

The benefits could be big. Higher engagement with your guests could generate loyalty with your newly inquisitive and culinary inspired guest. When bonding in the kitchen, your guests and employees are connected, creating a moment of fun that will surely be captured and shared on their social media giving your hotel a spot of exposure.

How to drive success

Now that the program has been created, look to fill those seats. It would be a waste if no one showed up. Look to not only use website room bookings to try to drive sign-ups for the class but promote throughout the hotel with signage, regular posts on social media, and other channels that would make sense like local culinary blogs. Make sure to alert the staff about the program so they can share with guests when connecting on premise, particularly those who you know are foodies. Turn your new culinary class into a programmatic part of your hotel operation supporting it with promotion, time, and resources.

With food tourism on the rise, hotels could not be in a better position to offer cooking classes as a unique amenity. It all begins with knowing your guests, their preferences and interests, and then creating experiences designed for them.