Courtyard by Marriott is rolling out an elevated dining experience for its Bistro Bar, located in more than 900 Courtyard locations across the U.S. The relaunched Bistro Bar features a variety of classic American menu items with a twist, featuring fresh ingredients and seasonal pairings along with as hand-crafted cocktails.
The new dishes include a spicy chorizo and goat cheese flatbread to the Bistro Burger with gruyere and garlic aioli on a brioche bun. The contemporary classic cocktails include the Black Cherry Old Fashioned and a seasonal Winter Spiced Margarita. Every season will have its own new flatbread and margarita, while seasonal ingredients give the flexibility to rotate dishes throughout the year.
In terms of design, Courtyard lobbies are inclusive and inviting spaces, with media pods for those who need to work and communal tables for those who wish to connect with others. Shareable plates—bites and boards, savory snacks—and a convivial atmosphere will make people want to hang out, meet new people and enrich their hotel stay.
brandchannel had the chance to attend the Bistro Bar relaunch event in downtown New York, speaking with Callette Nielsen, VP and Global Brand Leader for Marriott’s Courtyard, Fairfield, Four Points and SpringHill Suites brands, on the 18-month-long development of the new menu and experience and how Courtyard by Marriott is elevating the overall guest experience.
Callette, what considerations is Courtyard by Marriott taking in elevating the dining experience in terms of what customers want these days?
The Bistro has always been a place for travelers to enjoy, however, we recognize our guests’ needs are just as varying as their travel. The Bistro Bar allows us to connect with our guests on an elevated level. As their preferences evolve, so do our offerings, which is why we’re providing them with fresh ingredients, a diverse and delicious menu and classic cocktails with a twist, all in a welcoming setting. Courtyard guests have high expectations about how they work, play and live and it’s our mission to always look ahead to address the needs of next-gen travelers.
What other features/benefits does this cohort want?
The Courtyard guest not only works hard but plays hard as well, which is why we offer them membership to Marriott International’s award-winning loyalty programs—Marriott Rewards, Ritz-Carlton and SPG. With each stay, guests earn points that can be redeemed at more than 6,500 hotels and resorts in 127 countries around the world. Additionally, members can take advantage of the Marriott Mobile app, which puts Mobile Check-in/Check-out, Mobile Requests and Keyless entry right at their fingertips through smart devices.
How are you appealing to your core guests?
To satisfy their needs, we chose a Classic American menu (that features many of today’s trendy options), but with a unique twist including:
• Acai bowl with granola and fresh berries and bananas
• Banana bread French Toast
• Skillet meatballs with Pomodoro sauce, ricotta and parmesan cheeses served with artisan toast (below)
• Mediterranean grain bowl with grilled chicken, roasted brocolini, lemon dressed arugula, goat cheese, tomatoes and almonds over quinoa and brown rice
• Warmed dark chocolate and sea salt cookie.
What are the needs of the Next Gen business traveler — in the dining room, in guest rooms or on the go?
We piloted the new program for a year and a half, at select properties around the U.S. Throughout the process we polled guests and associates to best understand what guests are looking for in a dining experience, morning and night. What we learned is that the entire F&B (food and beverage) experience is important to the Courtyard guest—from the staff that greets and serves them, to the seating areas, to the way entrees are presented and of course, the actual entrees and beverages. The Bistro menu to go is always available.
How do you aim to exceed guest expectations in terms of service and what the entire experience is?
The new Bistro serves a variety of American Classic menu items with a twist, featuring fresh ingredients, crafted cocktails, seasonal offerings and exclusive Starbucks Coffee beverages. The entire menu was carefully designed to offer a variety of flavorful, fresh items to satisfy every palate and appetite during most hours day and night. In addition to full entrees, the Bistro Bar features Bite & Boards, an ideal pre-dinner or social snacking option, as well as a fully-stocked bar.
In terms of drinks, what are some of the updates on classic cocktails at the new Bistro?
The Bistro Bar serves popular classic cocktails but with a signature twist. For example, the Black Cherry Old Fashioned is made with cherry bitters; the Collins uses coconut water and coconut cream as mixers; and throughout the course of the year, the Margaritas will be made with ingredients that complement the season, from winter spice to cucumber.
On the food menu, you’ve got avocado toast (of course!) on the menu, along with hummus and Starbucks coffee. How important is it to this generation of traveler to see brands they trust — and how did this influence your choice of brands?
We’ve had a longstanding relationship with Starbucks and our guests appreciate the convenience of having the brand on property. Just as they would at home, they can start their day with a cup of one of Starbucks robust brews and even experience the Bistro Signature Latte made exclusively for Courtyard hotels.
With regards to music, what are you offering in terms of live, local, genres to appeal to your customers?
We have customized playlists that alternate throughout the day. Early morning music is meant to energize and prepare guests for the day ahead. Throughout the day the music is meant to inspire productivity and the evening selection encourages socializing, engaging and connecting with other guests.
What about the look and feel of the new bistro? What can you tell us about the design and mood you’re going for?
Courtyard’s new Bistro Bar is an elevated evening experience designed for guests who enjoy new places, new experiences and meeting new people while traveling. As an extension to Courtyard’s inviting public spaces, the Bistro Bar serves as a place for its passionate guests to socialize, connect and collaborate.
The Bistro Bar is designed to accommodate groups at the communal tables or single seating for those who want to reenergize from their busy day. The environment, culture and Classic American menu with a contemporary twist makes the Bistro Bar an ideal evening experience for this traveler.
Get more insights in our Q&A series and suggest a Q&A to email@example.com.