There’s no doubt rooftop bars have become a huge trend in hotel design these days, especially in cities such as New York. But are they able to help hotels maximize their revenue? According to a just-released study by Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), the answer is yes—at least in Manhattan.
In its study, Manhattan Hotel Rooftop Bars and Penthouses – December 2011, JLL reveals the impact rooftop bars can have on hotels in the New York City. The report is based on a series of interviews with dominant players in the field and firm data, and details the operational upside that rooftop bars and penthouses can provide hotel owners.
According to JLL, 12 percent of all of Manhattan’s room supply is supported by rooftop bars. Thirty-five hotels totaling 9,600 rooms feature a rooftop bar. “In recent years, hotel owners and developers have begun to embrace the rooftop bar strategy en masse,” said Amelia Lim, executive vice president of Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, in a press release announcing the findings. “New York continues to be at the forefront with its ever-expanding and active rooftop bar scene.
And these nightlife scenes have translated in revenues that can reach up to $120 per square foot per month during peak season, JLL says. It adds that departmental profit potential reaches up to 50 percent.
Those are pretty lofty numbers. It’s no wonder rooftop bars have become attractive food and beverage options for hotels in Manhattan, where space is limited and creativity is needed to set a hotel apart from the field. But we here at Lodging have seen this trend expand to other urban markets as well. And we’re not the only ones. “The concept has caught on in other U.S. gateway markets like Miami, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles, as well as international hubs,” Lin said.
Independent and boutique properties are leading the charge upward. And as those properties continue to push the envelope of creativity, JLL’s vice president of project and development services Pete Dordick says he sees the trend continuing to gain momentum. He also believes we will see other surprising concepts enter the Manhattan market as boutique and independent operators continue to test existing concepts.
With the potential for food and beverage revenue to expand beyond the hotel guest to locals and other interested nightlife seekers, expect to see more revenue generators high above the streets and avenues of major urban markets. The numbers say it’s likely.