Bathroom amenities: Do guests really know what they want?

You choose your collection of bathroom amenities based on the presumption that guests want those products and will use them.

But what if they are left unopened and unused? Does this mean your efforts have been wasted?

Not according to the results of the recent study by Cornell University School of Hotel Administration: What Do Hotel Guests Really Want? Anticipated Versus Actual Use of Amenities.

Because guests really do love their bathroom amenities and will use them more than they realise.

The study of in-room amenities details both the overpredictions and, in some cases, underpredictions of amenity use by 724 guests in 33 hotels operated by six hotel brands. The use of some amenities was highly overpredicted such as a spa, or in-room dining but guests underpredicted how much they would use bathroom amenities.

The study helps managers determine which amenities make the most sense for their brand.

With hotel amenities being a multi-billion-dollar business worldwide, having a good idea what the most valued amenities are is gold.

The unexpected under-predictions tended to be the free amenities… including lobby seating, valet parking, and concierge service, for which the percentage of guests expecting to use the service was noticeably smaller than the percentage who did use them.

Packaged bathroom supplies are included in the list of amenities that’s use was woefully underpredicted by guests. The data suggests that both sexes underestimate how much they will use the bathroom amenities, and not only do they use them more than they expected, in higher end hotels they are also more inclined to purchase amenities.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense that providing amenities that guests predict they will use at a high rate will have a positive effect on their initial stay and may influence repeat visits.

How can this study help you to tailor your amenities to your brand and your guests? It suggests that a “newly opened destination might consider skewing its amenity offerings to those that their analysis shows tend to attract customers; while another brand that operates in a mature market, in which success depends on generating repeat visits through customer loyalty, would do well to focus on amenities that analyses show encourage such loyalty”.

Matching your guestroom amenities to your property can have a surprisingly profound impact on the quality of your guests’ stay.

And being able to choose the product match for your accom is essential. To do this, know your property and your guests, know what makes them special.


If your accom is a small local business, choose simple amenity products that showcase your locale. You could lean towards soap bars and natural scents, taken from your unique environment.

If your property is a five-star business hotel with sleek and modern design, you could offer products that appeal to future-forward, busy business guests; dental kits and luxury well-known branded products.

For luxury accom, research trends that appeal to these discerning travellers. Vegan products are a trending force right now, these popular products tend to double up as environmentally friendlier and cruelty-free. They are usually more expensive, which is why they are associated with luxury in 2018.

Do not forget your men! Male grooming is a hot trend right now in the amenity realm. Think beards, think beard oil, hair wax, facial exfoliators and travel razors.

Customise. Many suppliers offer customised packages for your property and brand. You can convert your guestroom amenities into a brilliant branding tool. This is particularly good if your guests like to take a few mini tubes of shampoo home with them, or if you find you have guests staying more than one night.

Instagrammable. Make your amenities “shareable”; get your custom brand known on social media and ask guests to review and take pictures using your amenities – there is nothing better than genuine word-of-mouth publicity.

Industry view: Val Harding, founder of Interior Images.

“If your guests enter their room and don’t find a legitimate skin care brand on the bathroom counter, you’re missing one of your only opportunities to ‘partner upward’ and elevate your brand,” says Val.

“A trusted, recognisable brand delivers a level of credibility that excites your guests and enhances their experience. Conversely if your amenities have a famous name but are of poor quality, they only thing your guest will experience is disappointment.”

Val on industry trends…

“Without a doubt, dispensers are the biggest trend in amenities at the moment.  They’ve always been part of our portfolio but both the industry and guests have been slow to warm to them.  Now, with the world focused on reducing single-use plastics, hotels are really giving them a second look.

 “Dispensers now come in all shapes and sizes, so we really can find the right solution for any property.

“It’s important to remember that until dispensers really take hold, most of the collections Interior Images offers contain EcoPure, a plastic additive that aids in their biodegradability.  We are very focused on helping our hotel partners and their guests lessen their environmental impact.”

Industry view: Jimi Kennedy-Grant, sales & marketing general manager for Healthpak.

“Guest hair and body care products represent a very small investment for the hotel but play a disproportionate role in impacting a guest’s overall perception of the hotel,” says Jimi.

“Choose brands that fit your décor, absolutely, but make sure that the contents live up to the hype. Products must reflect your geographic location; guests, both domestic and international, want an authentic connection to your destination.”



Mandy Clarke

Mandy is one of our most popular industry reporters. Make sure you never miss out on her monthly property profiles by subscribing to Resort News!

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