With next-generation hotel guests preferring a more collaborative environment in the lobbies, one thing is about to go the way of the dinosaur: the hotel minibar.
According to a new study by TripAdvisor, only 21 percent of travelers cared if there was a minibar in their rooms. Major hotel chains have taken notice of this trend with Marriott International, Hyatt and Hilton all phasing out this once-reliable travel staple.
While this trend may not seem that groundbreaking on the surface, there is much more going on here from a guest innovation perspective.
For many years, hoteliers embraced in-room innovation and entertainment options, which may no longer be a viable path to pursue. The guest rooms are becoming the place where travelers sleep. Today’s travelers prefer to interact with brands on their own terms in a ubiquitous environment – from the lobbies to the social media and mobile arenas.
That is why as we previously highlighted, more progressive hoteliers are creating larger lobbies to serve as collaboration spaces, and smaller guest rooms since next-generation travelers prefer to spend more time socializing outside of the room.
For example, with the rise of the freelance nation and virtual workers, many travelers require the right workspaces to remain productive on the road. Therefore some boutique hotels are creating larger lobbies to serve as work zones for these travelers, which serve as a mini incubator-like environment where workers can remain productive and network with potential prospects and partners.
There is clearly a call for hoteliers to look beyond the guest room. Today’s travelers prefer collaboration and networking. The major hoteliers who are embracing this movement will create unparalleled brand loyalty that resonates in ways that create true differentiation and enhanced profitability.