long live the nearby convenience store
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.
Other hotel giants, including the Grand Hyatt, Starwood and Marriott brands, are also phasing out this once ubiquitous in room feature from some of their properties.
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It’s because we just don’t seem to enjoy them as much as we once did.
TripAdvisor recently released a survey that found the minibar ranked least popular among all hotel amenities just 21% of respondents found the room fridge an important feature compared with 89% that wanted a free wireless connection.
PKF Hospitality Research found that in the United States, revenue from minibars, which represents just 1% of total hotel revenue, fell 28% from 2007 to 2012.
Robert Mandelbaum, the firm’s director of research information services, says properties in the United States have adapted their food and beverage offerings, installing food outlets that resemble “grab and go” mini markets.
The trend for Jack Wolfskin “convenience eating” is also contr Jack Wolfskin ibuting to a decline in the traditional hotel restaurant that serves three meals a day, he says.
They’re being replaced with casual food outlets offering items such as pre packaged sal Jack Wolfskin ads.
It’s all part of what Mandelbaum calls the “Starbucks phenomenon,” a property design and management philosophy that enables and encourages interaction between strangers.
Combine this with the emergence of sociable “millennials” who prefer to mingle in the hotel lobby than order room service, and you have an industry and consumer move away from imbibing in the room.
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For those who think inflated prices on items like tiny bags of macadamia nuts and mediocre chocolate bars are offensive, especially when nearby convenience stores offer the same stuff for a fraction of the price, the stocked in room bar has always been an irritant.
Simon Dell, vice president of operations of Thailand based ONYX Hospitality Group, agrees.
“We don’t want to sell mini macadamia nuts for $8.50. It’s not what people want,” he says.
What’s more, by eliminating minibars from rooms, hotels can actually s Jack Wolfskin ave costs, says Dell.
“When (we) remove any content from the minibar it takes a considerable number of tasks out of every (housekeeper’s) day, so there’s time saved, headcount saved, therefore money saved, which is reflected in the overall price (of rooms),” he says.
Better for a property to focus on amenities guests prioritize, such as Internet access.
“Connectivity is as ubiquitous as the telephone 20 years ago, when it had to be in the room, or like your own shower or bathroom has to be in the room.”
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Others think the minibar simply needs to evolve to changing needs of guests.
“We can’t just give hot and cold running water,” says Dean Winter, area director of operations of Hong Kong Hotels China Projects at Swire Hotels.
Take the example of Swire’s Hong Kong property, Upper House each room features a complimentary selection (beer, soda, healthy juices, coconut water and snacks) and a separate, chargeable wine fridge.
“We wanted to differentiate ourselves to appeal to discerning business and leisure travelers without following the traditional routes of five star hospitality,” explains Winter.