Every year, travelers compare different board packages when planning their trips. Hotels offer various options, ranging from breakfast-only to half board and full board. In this article, we will dive deep into these packages to understand why someone would choose half board over full board and how hotels can use flexible meal plans to boost revenue. Let’s explore everything you need to know.
Half Board vs Full Board: Understanding the Difference
The concept of providing accommodation and meals dates back to the 11th and 12th centuries when inns resembling today’s hotels emerged in Europe. These inns offered a place to sleep and eat, with the term “board” referring to the table where meals were served. Despite the evolution of dining experiences, hotels continue to offer bookable dining packages for two main reasons. Firstly, it helps them streamline operations and manage costs efficiently. Secondly, it allows hotels to provide their guests with flexible and relevant options. City hotels primarily offer bed and breakfast or room-only deals, while resorts expand their offerings to include half board (HB), full board (FB), and all-inclusive (AI) packages.
Half Board: The Convenient and Flexible Option
What exactly is half board? Half board includes two meals: breakfast and either lunch or dinner. Dinner is the more common choice, but many hotels are flexible and allow guests to switch to a midday meal upon request. Some properties even offer a take-out option for guests who are out for the day.
In most cases, half board meals are served as buffets. Alternatively, lunch and dinner may be offered as set menus with two options for each course. Drinks are typically included only during breakfast, such as coffee, tea, and juice. For other meals, guests usually pay separately for drinks or opt for a beverage package.
Why would guests choose half board? Well, it’s perfect for those who venture out during the day and return to the hotel for dinner in the evening. Guests who prefer the convenience of having meals readily available without the hassle of finding restaurants nearby also find half board appealing. Additionally, it suits individuals with smaller appetites who can manage with only two meals. However, if they decide to have an extra meal, they might end up paying higher rates.
To optimize revenue, hotels can offer snack menus for guests who crave a light bite in the afternoon. This presents an excellent opportunity to drive additional income while catering to the guests’ needs. Offering different drinks packages, such as soft drinks, light alcohol, or cocktails to accompany meals, is also worth considering.
Full Board: Covering All Bases
What does full board entail? Full board includes all three main meals: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. These meals are typically served as buffets. If a hotel has multiple restaurants, the additional ones may not be included in the package, or guests may have to pay separately to dine at these venues. Similar to the half board option, drinks are usually only included during breakfast, with occasional inclusion of one beverage during lunch or dinner. Alternatively, all drinks may be available à la carte or offered as part of a beverage package. As a courtesy service, hotels can even provide packed meals for guests on day trips.
Full board is especially popular among leisure guests who prefer to relax and stay within the hotel throughout the day. Mid- to upscale beach hotels and secluded resorts often offer this option. The advantage of full board is that guests know their meals are covered, with only a few additional charges, usually limited to drinks. However, guests who don’t want to consume all three meals every day may end up paying for a service they don’t fully utilize.
Similar to half board, hotels can introduce flexibility by allowing guests to take meals to go or transfer “meal credit” to specialty restaurants. If the full board package doesn’t include drinks, offering beverage packages can be an effective way to generate additional revenue.
All-Inclusive: Indulge in Endless Delights
As the name suggests, all-inclusive provides guests with all meals and drinks throughout the day. These offerings encompass the main buffet restaurant, specialty venues, snack bars, and even room service. It’s important to clarify the inclusions when promoting these offers to avoid confusion with full board packages.
All-inclusive is popular among guests who prefer to stay within the resort and make the most of its facilities. The benefits are clear: guests know the total cost beforehand, and there are minimal extra expenses. Once they arrive at the resort, they can indulge in the various dining venues without worrying about additional fees. However, depending on the package, guests may face disadvantages if certain inclusions, such as alcoholic beverages, are not consumed. To ensure fairness and transparency, hotels should offer a variety of drink options, adding value to the guests’ stay.
Opportunities to Boost Revenue with Board Packages
Board packages aren’t only applicable to leisure guests; they can also attract business travelers. Consider offering half board or full board options to guests attending multi-day events at your hotel. Additionally, dining or add-on beverage packages present excellent opportunities for upselling. Make these options easily bookable through upselling platforms or allow guests to opt-in during check-in. Certain seasons, such as Christmas, New Year’s, or Valentine’s Day weekend, lend themselves well to selling half or full board deals. This approach not only encourages guests to spend more time and money at your hotel but also provides extra opportunities to deliver exceptional service and create memorable experiences.
To maximize the visibility of your board packages, ensure they are easy for guests to find and compare. Utilize filters on your website and sourcing channels, such as the Cvent Supplier Network™, to streamline the search process. Clearly explain the details of each package to save guests time and prevent any unpleasant surprises.
Now You’re Well-Informed About Half Board vs Full Board!
Having learned the differences between half board, full board, and all-inclusive packages, the next step is to promote your offerings effectively. For a comprehensive guide to hotel digital marketing, check out our complete guide. At DHPL Travels, we are here to support you every step of the way.
How can we assist you? Don’t hesitate to reach out! Visit DHPL Travels for an unforgettable travel experience.