Rooftop Bar Trend Drives Buzz & Revenue

Anyone who even casually follows hotel news knows that rooftop bars are experiencing a surge in popularity. They have been common in big cities like New York, Las Vegas and Chicago for years, but their prevalence is growing in smaller cities all over the country, as well.

The trend is getting a new boost from the chase after millennial customers, who place an emphases on inclusion of social spaces in commercial environments, according to National Real Estate Investor. NREI reports that the "Global Hospitality Insights 2015" study from firm Ernst & Young shows that hotel operators are emphasizing common areas, lounges and bars as focal points of their properties, inviting guests to spend more time congregating in hotels’ revenue-generating areas.

Bob Neal, principal of the hospitality specialty practice group at architecture firm Cooper Carry, told NREI that every hotel brand is working to create more communal spaces. Most guests today want the option to be with other people rather than sitting isolated in their rooms, he said.

These gathering spaces, which often receive much social media attention, can help a hotel increase food-and-beverage sales and spur positive feelings about the hotel in general.

Neal told NREI that his firm is currently working on six hotel projects that will have sky bars. Cost is a factor, he noted, but can be managed if planned properly, and there’s the added financial benefit of keeping guests at the hotel and having them spend money at the property.

“There are so many choices and so much competition in the market today, it is important to offer a hospitality experience that is unique and will bring guests back for more,” he said. “Demand and occupancies are at record highs, and hotels are starting to drive rates again. The product that is coming onto the market wants to take advantage of this and offer experiences outside of a nice room and a place to grab a sandwich.”

One of the most high-profile openings this year has been Cerise, the rooftop bar and lounge at the Virgin Hotels Chicago.  The location opened in April on the 26th floor of the hotel.

Raul Leal, CEO of Virgin Hotels, told NREI that the firm plans to include them in future properties where possible.

Source: Hotel Management 

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