Mini bottle or dispenser?

Most hotels nowadays have an amenity kit that, at a minimum, includes shampoo, hair conditioner and a bar of soap or another liquid body wash equivalent. These amenities are provided in a tiny, 30ml allotments, or perhaps a bit larger for a luxury property. Therein we find two problems related to this daily quota – what happens when you use too much and run out of product, and what does the hotel do with all the leftovers?

Quite evident from a recent trip to Japan – and indeed already in use at many hotels throughout Europe – only one hotel had traditional bottled amenities, with all the others, such as the Sheraton Grand Hiroshima (pictured), utilizing a variety of dispensers. Easy to operate, with transparent covers to afford housekeepers a view of content levels, these dispensers provide a better solution to the amenity issue, particular insofar as handling leftovers and the issue of recycling.

There are numerous reasons why you should consider a dispenser:

  1. Eco-friendly and reduced waste in house with no partially used bottles to discard
  2. Eliminating the quantity issue and any service issues pertaining to when there isn’t enough cleaning product to go around
  3. Reduced amenity expenses as, after the capital installation charge, bulk refills are highly cost-effective
  4. Lower labor costs as you can trim a minute off per room credit, which will add up over any serious breadth of time
Dispensers in the guest bathrooms of the Sheraton Grand Hiroshima, Japan
Dispensers in the guest bathrooms of the Sheraton Grand Hiroshima, Japan

Conversely, there are a number of issues that make the decision harder:

  1. Many guests have come to expect small bottles in the shower, and moving to a new dispenser system represents a change that may draw suspicion.
  2. With the exception of the dispenser pictured here, there’s a quality image at play as most dispensers can look rather cheap.
  3. Guests recognize brand names and, without this reinforced via the label on the bottle, they may question the supply source.

To my knowledge, major cosmetic providers largely do not offer a dispenser program. Hence, to ameliorate these three guest stigmas, you will have to engage in some very proactive communications to shift the narrative. For one, decorative or well-designed dispensers are always a plus, as exterior quality insinuates interior excellence. Next, promote the move as one part of a larger goal towards becoming more ecofriendly while also highlighting several other initiatives you have undertaken.

I, too, was once wary of dispensers, but this latest Japanese trip firmly changed my mind. Find a supplier and test a dispenser program in your property. But do it right. Involve your executive housekeeper and closely monitor customer feedback. My prediction is that there is a dispenser in your near future!