A Hotelier's Guide to Stocking and Selling Basic Essentials

By Justin Laxton Chief Operating Officer, Weiner's Ltd. | January 27, 2019

To provide your guests with the hospitality experience they want and will come back for, you must make hundreds of decisions. Everything from the products in your gift shop to the sheets on your beds will make a difference during your guests' stay. An inexperienced hotelier might see these details as distracting and unnecessary, but hospitality veterans know better.

In fact, it's rarely one big item or experience that makes your guests' stay memorable enough that they decide to come back. Christopher Elliot of USA Today interviewed several regular travelers about what supplies they wanted from their hotels, and their answers may come as a surprise.

The vast majority simply wanted practical items such as hair dryers, coffee, tea, microwaves, or small refrigerators. Yet, so often, hoteliers focus on high-end products like fancy electronics. Even with the best gadgets, if you don't provide the essentials, your guests will only remember how they had to leave your hotel to find a decent cup of coffee.

Fortunately, you can solve this problem. While it will take some time and resources to get your strategy established, you can sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Keep reading to establish a strategy for stocking your shelves with the basic essentials as quickly as possible.

Don't Make Assumptions; Find Out What Your Guests Want

To effectively stock the shelves of your hotel, you need to know what your guests need and want. Depending on your customers, these needs and desires can vary quite a bit.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.