“At the highest level, food is the soul of the hotel,” said Arnstad from her offices at the Ashland Springs Hotel in Southern Oregon. “Of course, you have to be brilliant on the sleep side. Your guests expect the best,” said Arnstad, a board member of the 160-property Preferred Hotels and Resorts, “but the artistry and individual expression of a hotel is through its food and wine.”
Research also suggests that food can be a source of profit for the lodging industry. Between 1991 and 2001, the largest share of all tourist dollars spent in-state went for food, according to a January 2003 report prepared for the Oregon Tourism Commission by Portland market research firm Dean Runyan Associates. In 2002, the report states, visitors spent $1.4 billion on eating and drinking in Oregon.