F&B Spotlight: How The Wilson Attracts Locals & Drives Loyalty

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NATIONAL REPORT—NYC-based hospitality group In Good Company, a SevenRooms client, strategically partners with hotels to bring F&B experiences to life for hotel guests and locals alike. The company operates Innside by Melia’s signature restaurant, The Wilson, in NYC.

In a Q&A with Hotel BusinessFood & Beverage Director Chris Billioux shares how to lure locals and personalize their experiences.

Chris Billioux, Food & Beverage Director, The Wilson.
Chris Billioux, food & beverage director, The Wilson.

How do you personalize the guest experience for locals?

We operate the venue with local guests being our true targets. Obviously, we are going to have hotel guest traffic and do our best to be a highlight of their visit, but deep down we envision ourselves as a neighborhood spot. To this end, our service is geared toward generating repeat business through making connections and learning our guests. We focus on staff who are friendly, have their own individual personality, and who are interested in getting to know our guests personally. Gathering information on them, recording it through systems like SevenRooms, and using it to tailor each visit to their personal preferences is priority number 1.

What are some components of your public relations strategy when it comes to The Wilson?

Our PR runs the gamut from ads with local businesses to engagement with the NYC food media world to bloggers. Also, we are active with food-related events, fairs, & contests like the New York City Wine & Food Festival’s Burger Bash.

Are some active marketing programs aimed at driving locals to The Wilson?

Yes, we have a few going on at the moment. We have some brunch packages available online to help drive in that market segment always searching for their next brunch experience. We have a number of large events centered around upcoming holidays and sports events, such as the Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day, and the Westminster Dog Show. We have a dog hotel in the neighborhood and the area around us has a strong dog community, so it’s an opportunity for us to engage locally.

Can you talk a bit about how The Wilson has its own distinct identity from In Good Company Hospitality and the Melia Hotel?

The Wilson really is its own place, distinct from both IGCH and Melia. As a rule, all IGCH locations are their own entity. There is no cookie-cutter formula, and no franchise vibe. One of the real strengths of this company is its ability to look at each project as its own being. They look at the neighborhood, what it needs, what it’s like and what will fit organically there. Are there some similarities to some of our other spots? Sure, a menu item here or there, but The Wilson truly has its own persona.

What’s your most successful technique to bring past local visitors back to The Wilson?

When comes the new school side, use modern technology, like SevenRooms, to gather all that data in one place and be able to use it to tailor return visits.

For tips on driving locals to your business, check out SevenRooms recent guide, “Hotel F&B: Local Marketing – Unlocking the Revenue Potential of Locals. [LINK HERE]