Earlier this week I looked at how holidays are important for everyone: http://www.passle.net/post/102c6vr/quite-simply-holidays-matter
Today I want to consider another holiday-related theme, namely those tiny hotel minibars familiar to those of us who have experienced hotel life.
What are the latest trends and to what extent are packets of peanuts, chocolate bars and miniature bottles of spirits still the products of choice? Indeed are we about to witness the demise of the hotel minibar?
If you want to learn about changing consumer trends, one of the best resources right now is the Stylus company http://www.stylus.com/ With UK headquarters and an office in New York, Stylus helps brands to understand how to react to changing consumer lifestyles.
At an Innovation Forum in London last week, Mandy Saven, Stylus Head of Food, Beverage & Hospitality, briefed the audience about future developments across various service industries such as hotels. Here is what happening with minibars.
Hotel minibars are undergoing a quiet revolution. Although they still exist, some hotels are now stocking them with local products including ice cream; elsewhere, you can choose your own in-room menu, tailored exactly to your diet and preferences.
Extending this trend towards consumers having control of what is on offer to them, many hotels are banishing in-room minibars to the scrapheap. This allows them to concentrate on offering hotel guests other choices; vending machines with freshly prepared salads, for example, and 24 hour Grab & Go snack areas resonate much better with today’s consumers on the move. This allows them to replicate the contents of their own home fridge rather than being faced with unfamiliar and undesired products lurking in a hotel fridge.
The next time you open your fridge door at home, spare a thought for your fridge’s poor cousins the minibars, as they undergo their recycling journey into their next life.
The sentiments of one hotel manager in Hong Kong could well extend to hotels around the world. The hotel minibar, loved and cursed at by millions of desperate midnight snackers/drinkers, is on the decline. Hilton Hong Kong installed the world's first hotel minibar in 1974 by stocking liquors and fridges in each of its 840 rooms. The move reportedly led to a 500% increase in room-service drink sales and a 5% boost to the company's net income that year. Soon, the minibar became a near-universal industry standard. But Hilton recently started backtracking in some of its properties, removing the booze and leaving the fridges in its rooms, for guests to fill themselves.