We always try to remain optimistic that we can influence positive change. The truth is that we want a minibar in the room, we just don’t want one in its current state. We’d love to have a beer while we’re getting dressed for dinner or a small snack when we arrive from the airport, but we don’t want to feel ripped off in the process. Maybe there’s a chance that consumers and hotels could meet in the middle and find a better price point. After all, isn’t that all it would take?
For example, suppose you opened up the minibar and there was a beer in there for $3. Forget for a second about whether it would be profitable for the hotel. Wouldn’t that be… great? Or how about a pack of nuts for a dollar? Wouldn’t that be… reasonable? Or suppose that the hotel did away with $5 Snickers bars and put fresh fruit – like apples and oranges – in the minibar. We’re not talking the overpriced banana approach as made famous by Starbucks – we’re talking reasonably priced fruit, 25 or 50 cents apiece, right there in the fridge.
In other words, maybe the minibar doesn’t have to be an all-out money-making machine for the hotel. Two groups have actually already experimented with similar concepts. Some Andaz Hotels include all non-alcoholic products from the minibar in the room rate, and Kimpton Hotels lets its InTouch guests "raid the minibar" for a mere $10.
This is exactly the sort of compromise we're looking for -- maybe if the minibar can just be viewed as a small-margin scheme that is concerned more with customer satisfaction than profitability, we'll end up with an in-room perk guests will actually take advantage of instead of avoid.