According to a TripAdvisor survey, 50 percent of travelers say that convenience is their number one motivation for purchasing snacks from the minibar. But what about the other 50 percent of travelers? Well after nearly 30 years in the minibar business, we know them pretty well.
Here are 5 tips for creating an in-room minibar program that will captivate your guests:
Know Your Peeps
It’s likely that a young newlywed couple won’t want the same minibar products as a solo business professional traveling for a conference. To know your guests is to know what they want. In order to create an enticing minibar program, you’ll want to clearly understand your guests and recognize their preferences. Are they mostly families on a leisure vacation? Business travelers? Honeymooning couples? Conventioneers? Once you’ve identified your key demographic, you’ll be able to offer a selection of minibar items that will appeal directly to them, greatly increasing the chance of purchase.
Spotlight Local Flavor
Travelers often look for items that go with their travel experience. This is why custom minibar products enjoy some of the highest minibar sales. Guests often prefer consuming products that have a location connection to the hotel and/or city they are staying in. And the product containers can even make great last-minute souvenirs. In 2016, both Ritz Carlton San Francisco and Four Seasons Seattle reported that minibar sales of local products saw the fastest growth, as compared to the more generic snack and beverage items.
Check Out Your ‘Hood
Know the nearby places your guests might go to get a late night snack fix, such as convenience stores, gas stations or gift shops. What types of snack products do they sell? Ideally you want to offer minibar snacks that a guest can’t quickly pick up from a corner store for a few bucks. To generate interest and maximize sales potential, your minibar offerings should be somewhat unique and not simply duplicate the snack items that are easily sourced in your neighborhood.
Mix It Up
It may initially seem easier, but minibar product sales will suffer if you blindly throw together a random mix of snacks and packs. Your guests view the minibar as an added luxury while at your hotel, and your selection of minibar items should offer them a good balance of sweet, salty, healthy, and local and/or custom branded products that satisfy their potential desires. Having a nice blend of a few big-brands your guests are familiar with and some unique ones they may be curious about will provide the best returns.
Make It Interesting
Ben Pundole, VP of Brand at EDITION Hotels, has proclaimed minibars to be “carefully curated micro retail spaces that project the image of the property and the brand.” Ben, we couldn’t agree with you more. Giving guests an enticing minibar snack selection is crucial, but there’s always the option to add a little brand personality to the mix by offering a few unique and memorable items. We’ve helped hundreds of properties find their brand voice through creative in-room amenities: The W South Beach now offers a quirky Emergency Bowtie, the Nobu Miami Beach delights it’s guests with Green Tea Kit-Kats in customized containers to reflect the Japanese style of the property, and the design of the entire Fontainebleau Miami Beach minibar product line reflects the hotel’s unique architecture.
Offering your guests a well-rounded selection of unique and interesting minibar items that will entice them can breathe new life into your in-room amenity program, while simultaneously increasing your revenue and improving your reviews. This will also ensure that you attract and impress the other 50 percent of travelers (who are looking for something more than just convenience) during every single stay.