Why are minibars disappearing from hotels?

by | Jun 1, 2017 | Design

In addition to suiting millennials, these long standard touches may also be going away

As hotel owners and operators increasingly design new hotel construction to attract and fit the needs of millennial guests, some long-time and classic guest room features are starting to disappear.

These vanishing features include spacious desks for working long into the night, chests of drawers with ample room to store and divide many items of clothing, and a well-stocked minibar. The reason these features are going away, industry insiders say, is because the owners and operators of the global hospitality industry are aiming all their new construction at millennial travelers, who they believe prefer working and spending time in hip, communal lobby spaces or their guest room beds.

Amid these efforts at redesign there are, of course, some cries of protest among those who miss old school touches such as desks and readily accessible minibars. Closets, too, are being taken out of new rooms in order to be replaced by hanging racks, or a lack of an area to hang your closes at all.

In addition to suiting millennials, these long standard touches may also be going away because of the changing needs of another demographic that is absolutely vital to the global hospitality industry: business travelers. Since the iPhone and the iPad have become nearly standard among those who travel for work, many business travelers no longer move around with suitcases filled with important papers and documents, instead bringing all the information they need on their devices. If they should have need of a paper copy, they need simply descend to the lobby or the business center to have things printed out or faxed, although even that is becoming increasingly rare among the business traveler set.

Basically, changes in technology have led to changes in what travelers expect to find in their hotels, and, as such, a new wave of trendy designs seems to be sweeping through the industry every six months to a year, or so it seems.

Take, for example, Marriott’s increasingly popular and inherently hip spinoff brand Moxy, which standardly designs rooms that lack closet space. This move, designers have said, stems from research showing that many modern travelers no longer bother to unpack when staying at a new hotel room. As such, space-consuming pieces of furniture such as bureaus and dressers with full drawers are also seen more as a liability than standard issue, as they were in the past.

Some designers are also trending toward room designs that really luxuriate in their space, and any additional touches—such as a dresser, closet, or even a minibar—can begin to make a room feel clogged and smaller than it actually is. This is an especially relevant topic for designers, as the average space allocated to each guest room is also getting smaller in favor of larger communcal spaces were guests can gather to spend time and to relax.

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