Hotels Could Leverage Snack Attacks By Lowering Minibar Fees

One of the little luxuries of staying in a hotel--the late-night snack from the hotel mini-bar--has proven to be a major point of contention between hotels and their guests, with 25% of travelers surveyed by TripAdvisor reporting disputes with hotels over a mini-bar charge.

TripAdvisor surveyed 1,600 travelers worldwide on their thoughts and experiences with hotel mini-bars and fridges, finding that the biggest issue travelers had with their in-room iceboxes is price. Ninety-four percent of all travelers surveyed said they would be more inclined to patronize their mini-bars if prices were more reasonable; 33% said they steered clear of the mini-bar altogether.

"Travelers are scared of hotel mini-bars because of sky-high prices," says Michele Perry, director of communications for TripAdvisor, in a release. "By lowering prices and double-checking bill charges, hotels could provide a mini-bar service that travelers would embrace."

Fifty-one percent of survey respondents said convenience was the primary reason for using the mini-bar. Forty-five percent of travelers reported paying two to three times more than normal for a can of soda from the mini-bar.



Avoiding the mini-bar would certainly reduce a traveler's risk of getting into a dispute with the hotel over an incorrect mini-bar charge. Thirty-four percent of travelers surveyed said they felt they had been inaccurately charged for something in the mini-bar or fridge. Sixteen percent of survey respondents reported being billed for moving the contents of the mini-bar around, or for adding contents to the mini-bar.

In most cases, guests use the mini-bar as fridge to cool their own snacks, but 20% of guests will eat something from the mini-bar and then go out and buy a cheaper replacement from somewhere else. The survey found that men were more likely (25%) to replace an item to avoid a charge than women (17%).

When indulging a snack attack, travelers' favorite choice are nuts, selected by 17% of survey respondents, followed by chocolate bars, Peanut M&Ms, Pringles and Toblerone bars. Fifty-two percent of respondents chose bottled water to drink from the mini-bar, followed by soda, beer, wine and liquor.

Travelers said they would like to see healthier snack options available, including fruit and sandwiches. They said they'd like to see less of more trendy items, like energy drinks and bottled oxygen, and old staples like beef jerky.

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