Hotel amenities: the science in the selection

We’ve all encountered hotel room products that we’ve loved. Sometimes those small bottles of exquisite body lotion and gel are just too good to resist. And that’s because it’s our taste that drives the product selection process.

Ever wondered how much thought and research hotels put into the selection of room products? You may be surprised to know that it’s a detailed process – one that often spans different countries and regions – of researching, testing and producing amenities. These range from shampoo and conditioner to soap, shower/bath gel, body lotion, towels, bathrobes and bedding. There is no such thing as random selection in hotel products. It all comes down to what appeals most to travellers, and this can vary across different regions and cultures.

In a recent ‘toiletry’ survey conducted by Hilton Worldwide, 73% of business travellers admitted to taking the odd bathroom amenity for future use in their private home, polishing shoes before a meeting and for some, re-gifting after a business trip away! Further findings included the following:

  • 67% said they feel lighter and faster when flying, carrying on their bags in anticipation of utilizing hotel in-room bath products
  • 10% confess that they have given away amenities as presents
  • 55% of men admitted to taking the body lotion home, with 1 in 5 also taking the shower cap!

Chris Naylor, vice president, brand operations, Hilton Worldwide commented, ‘we understand the importance of quality toiletries in ensuring guests stay revitalized during and after their travels.’ 

As part of Marriott’s extensive research process, which involved testing 52 brands, the company found:

• Hotels in the Americas and Asia Pacific opt for products that are ‘hip and cool’, which is why Marriott uses the natural skincare range Thann, from Bangkok

• Hotels in Europe and Africa focus on products from longstanding, family-owned companies, so Marriott uses products from Italian fragrance and beauty company, Acca Kappa

• Guests appreciate product packaging that is attractive, easy to read (particularly for older guests), and functional eg. flip caps rather than screw caps, and bottles that dispense easily

Guests are also now demanding higher quality products, with many choosing to purchase branded merchandise after their stay. Online stores have proved very successful for some major hotel chains where the room amenities and fittings can be acquired and delivered to your private address. According to Starwood’s Sheraton Hotels and Resorts Group, research has found:

• 75% of Sheraton guests now use the hotel toiletries, compared with only 35% of guests 10 years ago (due partly to the airline imposed limit on liquids)

• Bedding has evolved since Starwood’s Westin brand introduced the first all-white bed, marketed as the “Heavenly Bed”, 10 years ago. Hotels are now focusing more on comfortable mattresses, soft sheets and white bedspreads with superior cleanliness

• Towels and bathrobes have also evolved to meet traveller demands and are now softer to touch, longer lasting, and able to be cleaned in a more environmentally friendly way.

Next time you stay in a hotel, don’t feel guilty if you want to take their bathroom toiletries home. Many properties will see it as proof that they’ve done their homework and provided the products that will keep you coming back!