Good-bye, midnight Snickers bar. Adios, Pringles cylinder. Sayonara, bourbon nightcap.
They may never go away completely, but the hotel minibar can certainly be considered a rare and endangered species.
Why are minibars vanishing?
“In Las Vegas, a little bottle of vodka can cost you more than $14. And in Washington D.C., if you want a bag of peanuts, be prepared to pay over $7,” says Kevin Carter with the travel planning website TripAdvisor.
A recent TripAdvisor survey found just 7 percent of U.S. travelers even remotely care about a minibar in the room. Not surprisingly, PKF Hospitality found that between 2007–2012 minibar revenue fell by nearly 30 percent.
Disappearing minibars is just one of several changes in modern-day U.S. hotel rooms. Woodworth says what hotels lose in certain antiquated amenities, companies hope to make up in room rates.
“If I can get you to pay an extra dollar for your room tonight, about 90 cents of that is pure profit,” says Woodworth. “The energies and management focus has been really optimizing room revenues.”
TripAdvisor found travelers want a lot of stuff that starts with the word “free”: Free wifi. Free breakfast. Free parking.
Oh, and we want outlets – lots and lots of electrical outlets.
5 more “amenities” disappearing from your hotel room
PKF Hospitality President Mark Woodworth says hotels are recalculating what makes them money. Here are five services on the chopping block:
1. Dry cleaning.
There will still be ironing boards, but you’ll have to push them yourself.
2. Telephone services.
Perhaps wake up calls will be rerouted to cell phones.
3. Renting movies on hotel TVs.
Enough guests prefer their own screens.
4. Room size.
The smaller the room, the bigger the hotel’s profit. And the closer you are to your cell phone, which is what you care about anyway.
5. Coffee makers.
For now, the coffee makers are still there — but you have to pay for anything you brew.
If you’re a member of your local public radio station, we thank you — because your support helps those stations keep programs like Marketplace on the air. But for Marketplace to continue to grow, we need additional investment from those who care most about what we do: superfans like you.
Your donation — as little as $5 — helps us create more content that matters to you and your community, and to reach more people where they are – whether that’s radio, podcasts or online.
When you contribute directly to Marketplace, you become a partner in that mission: someone who understands that when we all get smarter, everybody wins.