The mid- to late-aughts seemed, to the average observer, to be the dark age of the hotel minibar. But to In-Room Plus, who has been successfully slinging minibar snacks since 1988, we know better. With headlines like “Elegy for the Minibar” and “Hotels call time on the minibar” it’s no wonder they got a bad rap. Minibars had a reputation for being overpriced and underwhelming, but the desire for convenience and luxury never went away. It just had to be repackaged.

We are happy to report that the minibar is alive and well. Things have changed since their heyday in the 80’s and 90’s, but hoteliers know that it would be foolish to pass up on the opportunity to elevate their brand with an in-room touchpoint that anticipates their guests’ needs and adds a little extra to their stay. With gourmet treats, local favorites, and irresistible, unexpected extras, a great minibar is truly something to write home about.

Here are a few things our hotel partners have implemented that keep their minibar program relevant and garnering rave reviews from guests:


Complimentary Minibars:

The ultimate minibar gripe: The price. Why spend $8 on a tiny can of Coke when I can go to the corner store down the block? Because that Coke tastes amazing after a day of travel while you’re relaxing in your hotel bed! But offering a select few items (or all of them!) free of charge is a gesture of goodwill and makes your guests feel like they’re really getting their money’s worth. This is especially true for economy hotels where budget may be more top-of-mind.

The National Tamper-proof packagingTamper-proof labels for The National

Tamper-proofing & high-tech trays:

The ultimate minibar gripe (from hotel staff): The labor. The old days of housekeeping staff checking inventory to track minibar usage and making sure product isn’t being stolen is behind us. High-tech trays with sensors make it easy to post minibar items to guest folios automatically. And tamper proof packaging, like canisters or label-sealed jars, make theft-proofing look good.

W Hotels minibar
Cards Against Humanity in W Hotel's minibar

Out-of-the-box items:

Doordash and UberEats have changed the landscape of on-demand snacks. So give them something they can’t get from the take-out joints. Non-food items like bath bombs, a deck of playing cards, or even exercise equipment have all made a splash for our hotel partners! W Hotel’s jump ropes and Cards Against Humanity decks are fan favorites!

H Hotels Lobby Marketplace
H Hotels lobby marketplace offerings

Lobby Marketplace:

Taking the minibar program from in-room to a lobby marketplace can be a great move for a few different reasons. Besides the fact that it is easier to track & stock, many young travelers have been gravitating towards communal spaces. Hip lobbies with coffee shop ambience and co-working spaces have risen in popularity, and selling those amenities from a central location just makes sense. Oh yeah, and they want things to be healthier, too!

Reikart House minibar set
Reikart Hotel's minibar display


Is your minibar in a fridge in a cabinet? Bring those beautiful products into the light! Clear glass mini fridges for things that stay cold, and trays or custom made shelves or drawers for everything else are now the industry-standard. Bonus points if you have cool signage to draw attention!


Implementing these tips ensures a win-win for both customer satisfaction and revenue generation. What has your property been doing to stay on top of the game?