The Death of the Minibar (and Other Hospitality Staples)

Death of the hotel minibarHotels are having a difficult time keeping up with competitors and travelers’ needs. It’s hard for them to know what their guests want, and technology is making it a challenge to figure it out.

As a result, the minibar is disappearing along with the business center, closets, and room desks. It’s an industry shift, and here’s why it’s happening:

1. Hotels Can’t Keep Up With Changing Preferences

Today’s expanding millennial workforce seem to be traveling more. Yet, business trips are much shorter in duration than before.

This modification has prompted shifts in guests’ needs and wants. The millennial crowd wants a minimalist, streamlined room — indicating a shift from their parents’ lifestyles.

Hotels are struggling to keep up with changing demands.

2. The Sharing Economy Is Making Lodging Competitive

Sharing services like lodging from Airbnb and HomeAway have driven the sharing economy to exponential growth.

The lodging of the 21st century is outshining hotels as more hosts accommodate guests’ needs faster than what hotels are capable of doing. That’s because hotels have many rooms with many guests and a multitude of preferences and demands to consider.

Airbnb and other lodging hosts usually are taking care of the needs of guests in one location or just a few. Moreover, Airbnb-type accommodation costs one-third less than most hotels and offers those traveling for business more choices.

Hotels can stay competitive by offering flexible services that travelers need, including a flexible check-in and check-out time.

3. Travelers Aren’t Unpacking

Shorter business trips call for less to pack, and some guests aren’t unpacking at all. That’s why closets and desks are starting to disappear. Hotel closets are much smaller, closer to the door, or even replaced by wall hooks.

Room desks are also taking up valuable, unused space. Millennials tied to their mobile devices often get work done away from a desk. Hotels are either opting for alternative desks that act as multifunctional workspaces or removing desks altogether.

But hoteliers can take a cue from hotel brand Moxy on providing choices. The brand hangs its furniture on the walls so guests can arrange their rooms to their preferences.

4. Technology Is Making the Hotel Business Center Obsolete

Today’s technological advancements have brought on Wi-Fi, Bluetooth technology, and a world of sensors that communicate with each other via the Internet of Things.

These innovative advancements have empowered guests with “super computers” that can fit in their pockets, making the hotel’s business center almost obsolete.

Ticket check-in doesn’t have to be printed when guests have digital check-in and check-out, which also threatens the necessity for the front desk.

But hoteliers can offer value to guests by providing relevant services, such as a strong Wi-Fi and Mi-Fi connection.

Hotel Minibars5. Hotel Guests Don’t Want to Pay for Overpriced Wine

Hotel chains, such as the Hyatt, the Marriott, and the Four Seasons, have either limited where to find minibars, used alternative wine dispensers, or have gotten rid of them altogether. It’s understandable, too.

Minibars only generate less than 1 percent of hotels’ revenues but are costly to operate. This 1960s invention is finally seeing its last days in a new era where agility and innovation are everything.

 

Hyatt’s “One Stop Shop”

Hyatt's One Stop ShopLearn how Hyatt uses Mimeo to get hotel managers the materials they need. Here’s a spoiler: they were able to shorten content delivery to 48 hours!


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