Travel | October 7, 2022 8:19 am

Hotels Are Banking on Mocktails to Attract a More “Health-Conscious Traveler”

The sales of non- and low-alcoholic drinks in 10 major markets rose from $7.8 billion to just under $10 billion in two years

Lemon and cantelope mocktail
Getty

The pandemic has, for better or for worse, permanently changed the way we approach travel and, more specifically, what we’re looking for when we do travel.

When Hotels.com released their 2022 Amenity Report — a comprehensive analysis of all of the searches on the site from the past three years — to determine the most sought-after amenity, it wasn’t WiFi, business facilities or gyms that travelers were looking for. Rather, it was…bathtubs, properties with cribs, childcare, spas and connecting rooms. What that seemed to indicate at the time is that they were really after opportunities to unplug, unwind and spend time with loved ones, confirming that wellness travel was indeed on the rise.

That was seven months ago — but the trend has yet to ebb, evidenced by the recent expansion of mocktail offerings across several major hospitality brands, per new report from Skift.

Yes, you read that right: mocktails. An interesting pivot for sure, given that alcohol has long reined as a significant revenue producer for virtually every food and beverage concept…ever. That said, a new “increasingly health-conscious” guest has initiated a shift where adult beverages are concerned.

In fact, Carley Thornell writes, “the sales of non- and low-alcoholic drinks in 10 major markets — including Japan, South Africa, the United States and Australia — increased from $7.8 billion in 2018 to just under $10 billion in 2020.”

“There is a tremendous focus on artfully incorporating foraged and grown ingredients into a collection of cocktails that also includes non-alcoholic options,” Keisha Parcells-Robb, director of food and beverage for Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, told Skift. “Consumers seem to be a lot more health-conscious nowadays and more mindful.”

Further, as Jennifer Barnwell, president of Curator Hotel & Resort Collection, posits, non-alcoholic drinks cost less to source, which ultimately benefits the consumer, too. Unsurprisingly, a number of cross-brand collaborations between hotels and mocktail brands have already begun to surface. For example, if you’ve stayed at any of the QT Hotels & Resorts of late, you’ve likely noticed Lyre’s-branded beverage on the drinks menu.

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Late last year, Hyatt launched  Zero Proof, Zero Judgment program, the focal point of which is the dozens of sober bar managers and chefs behind it. All of this to say: the mocktail migration appears to be more than just a fad.

So, perhaps the next time you find yourself pulling up a stool at a hotel bar, consider a non-alcoholic libation instead. Or, if you’re still very much not on the wellness travel bandwagon…don’t. The choice is yours, do with it what you will.