Hotel Amenities – To dispense…or not to dispense?

I’m always searching for new ways to excite the industry about eco-friendly or sustainability initiatives that will benefit not only the environment, but also the financial health of our industry.  Recently, much has been said regarding the use of amenity dispensers in green hotels as a green product alternative to individualized amenity bottles.  Proponents and skeptics abound on each side of the divide, as with many other alternatives to the tried and true business methodologies.  Regardless of which side you (or your brand) find yourself, one thing above all is a clear indicator of the potential for this sustainable alternative: Cost savings.

What’s in a bottle?

Hotel Amenities are a crucial portion of our business.  Guests impose value on them that goes beyond the basic usefulness of the product.  With TSA regulations and baggage fees on airlines now a staple of business and leisure travel alike, knowing an amenity such as shampoo or lotion is awaiting you at your destination potentially reduces the outward cost of travelling.  Aside from not having to pack additional items for a planned stay, many guests enjoy hotel products that they can “take home” from their trip.  I don’t know about you, but I certainly have amassed quite a collection of bath soaps and shampoos over the years- Each with the insignia of their hotel-of-origin displayed proudly on the front.  There exists a pass along effect of these amenities.  Your brand has the ability to enter the homes of these individuals.  Regardless of the rationale, these items have become expected by our customers.

So, why would anyone want to switch to an amenity dispenser system?  Who would want to potentially affect guest satisfaction by removing those coveted souvenirs from a guest room?  Why would you want to diminish the added value these small tokens of hospitality afford you?  The answer is as simple as the “Complimentary Guest Items” line item on your budget.  We all are in recovery mode from the economic downturn of the recent years.  Where occupancy had been low, we are now seeing growth and gains.  ADR’s are increasing, RevPar is on the rise and many of us are actually in sight of achieving budgets.  In times like these, every single dollar saved can potentially tip the scale.

Not your Father’s Dispenser

Think back to high school.  Do you remember the locker room and its antiquated soap dispensers?  Older dispenser models like this can conjure images of sub-par motels, locker rooms, gyms, or public restrooms.  Obviously, this is not exactly the type of “welcome home” we are aiming to offer our guests.  In recent years though, the amenity dispenser design and style has completely rebounded from its lackluster origins.  Stylish designs and finishes have replaced poorly made pump systems that were messy and difficult to maintain.  The dispensers available today are compact, efficient and incredibly stylish.

Not only has the actual hardware been improved, but the contents have as well.  Brands such as Tommy Bahama have offered high-end, quality products as a dispensable option for hotel brands.  Trends such as this afford a hotel the option to provide an equally luxurious hotel experience while doing so with a more sustainable green technology.  Distributors are becoming wise to the needs of hoteliers to maintain top quality products that are stylish and desirable to guests.  Companies such as Pineapple Hospitality offer a vast selection of products and dispensers to suit the needs of the most discriminating clientele.

About Author :

CHO, VP OF TECHNOLOGIES & COMMUNICATIONS – has six years of financial analysis experience
ranging from real estate investments to derivatives. She graduated from Rutgers University majoring in Economics.