Mini Bars in Hotels: Boost your Business & Entice your Guests

Mini bars in hotelsMini bars are a great way for a hotel to earn extra revenue, and which hotel doesn’t like to earn more money? But on the flip side, it does involve additional work and time which many small and mid-sized hotels may not have. You need people to stock the mini bar, manage inventory, report the consumption to front desk and so on.

Due to these reasons, nowadays many hotels are doing away with the mini bar in the rooms. But, I believe that a mini bar is a great source of extra revenue for all hotels especially those that don’t have 24 hours room service. It’s just that hotels need to think of ways in which they can outsource the service, implement a reliable system, as well as cater to the changing tastes of their clientele. It’s time for hotels to be innovative and think of ideas through which they can entice the guests to use the mini bars.

Once the excitement of the products available in the mini bar is created, then it ensures more and more people are attracted to it. Perfect examples are children – most kids generally run and check what the mini bar in their room stocks. It’s their perfect dream to have direct access to chips, chocolates, nuts and more. Hotels need to create the same kind of excitement for the older guests.

Hotels across the globe have now started to get extremely innovative with their mini bars:

– Tree Ringha Resort & Spa in Zhongdian provides oxygen canisters in their mini bar since the hotel is set at an oxygen-lacking height of 10,500 feet above sea level.

– The Loews Hotel in Denver is a preferred hotel for those travelling with pets and they provide gourmet dog biscuits in their mini bar.

– XV Beacon hotel in Boston want to ensure that their guests have a well rested stay, so they provide Sprayology; an all-natural sleep enhancer for their guests.

 One step for the hotel could be to outsource the mini bar. There are now companies across the globe that provide mini bar services to hotels such as iHost, Bartech and HOMI, to name a few. The system allows hotels to reduce its staffing levels, shrinkage or losses and guest disputes at the front desk. Thanks to the automatic billing system, hotels have witnessed the average loss percentage is reduced to an average of 2% instead of the 20%-40% incurred with simple manual mini-bars. The system also provide reports on which items need to be replaced in which room, thereby saving a lot of time for the housekeeping staff. They don’t have to go room to room checking the mini bar on a daily basis.

Also, it is imperative for hotels to look at their guests’ profiles, see what the general preferences are, take the hotel’s location into consideration and then appropriately decide what works best.  A good PMS can help the hotel check their guest profiles, maintain their detailed information and preferences as well as track repeat guests. This shall help give the hotel a foundation to build on what they can offer to their guests.

The PMS should also integrate the hotel’s POS with the system. This ensures that the staff managing the mini bar can post the consumption directly to the guest’s bill, thereby helping the Front Office Manager save time by not having to tally all the various points of sales of the guest.

Hotels sometimes just need to think out-of-the-box before they plan to do away with certain ideas. By providing interesting mini bar options and outsourcing their mini bar services, hotels can profit from the extra revenue generated with the mini bar and do away with the hurdles that hinder it.

If you are looking for a PMS integrated with the POS for your mini bar, click here.

  • Edwin

    I agree, this is a good way to attract guests but big giants like Hilton, Grand Hyatt, Starwood, Marriot have removed booze from the fridges in the room…

  • Henry Campbell

    Edwin, I don’t think small hotels should always follow the biggies. I think the mini bar model can work well in smaller hotels as it adds to the personalized guest experience. The examples given above of hotels stocking essential items in their mini bars are great and show the hotel’s concern for the guest. I might be an old-school thinker but I do think the mini bar is not extinct yet.

    • Edwin

      Henry, I agree to your viewpoint but this survey from TripAdvisor bothers me:

      Survey results of TripBarometer Truth in Travel Survey reveals the hotel amenities and services U.S. travelers find most and least important – free Wi-Fi (89 %), parking (89 %) and breakfast (84 %) remain in high demand, with free personal care items and free lobby WiFi rounding out the top five. The least important amenities include mini bars (21 %), spa and beauty treatments (23 %), business centers (34 %), laundry service (39 %), and free pool-side WiFi (42 %).