British travellers are unable to resist the lure of the hotel minibar, according to research* by leading hotel booking website Hotels.com. Almost half of those surveyed (46%) regularly give into temptation whilst on their travels, and spend an average of £15.44 on minibar treats every time they go away. When totalled up for the whole nation, the Great British Minibar Bill quickly adds up to a staggering £526 million a year.However, the economic downturn is clearly making thirsty Brits think twice before reaching for that beer: Hotels.com found the average spend on minibars was nearly £2 higher in 2007***, averaging £17.29 per person.
In fact, 84% of cash-conscious Brits surveyed feel that hotel minibars are too expensive, and are so keen to cut costs that one in ten admit to ‘minibar meddling’ - cheating the system by replacing what they’ve used from the minibar with cheaper alternatives bought from a local shop. Almost two-thirds (60%) admitted to avoiding the minibar altogether by buying snacks and drinks from outside the hotel to consume in their room.
Minibar spend around Europe
British minibar spending is fairly restrained compared to our European neighbours. The Hotels.com research found the Irish to be the biggest minibar spenders, forking out almost £22 each time they stay at a hotel compared to just over £15 for Brits. At the other end of the scale, it is the French and the Norwegians who are the most frugal, spending just under £12 and £10 respectively.
Minibar spend around Europe
Average mini-bar spend (per break)
Many hotels have started to cater for the growing demand for more quirky and extravagant minibar offerings. For example, guests at the five-star Dylan Hotel in Dublin will open their minibar to find a ‘Kama Sutra Kit” which includes a feather, a frilly pink blindfold and a range of scented oils. Similarly, the ‘pimp my fridge’ service at the three-star Catalina Hotel and Beach Club in Miami enables guests to order a number of personalised minibars, including the “Get It On Minibar” which includes a Barry White CD for setting the mood, edible body paint, Champagne and whipped cream.
The Hotels.com research found that 58% of Brits are most likely to use the minibar last thing at night when the urge for a late night snack proves too strong. The five-star Jumeirah Lowndes Hotel in Knightsbridge has responded to this by introducing a minibar ‘happy hour’ between 10pm and midnight, when guests receive a 30% discount on all purchases.
What Brits would like to find in a hotel minibar: men vs women
One-third of Brits (32%) surveyed felt that minibars didn’t offer what they really wanted, and healthy snacks and drinks topped the minibar wish-list for both sexes.
However, there were some significant differences between the sexes. Whilst 60% of men chose beer to feature in their perfect minibar - and 25% opted for massage oil - women were more concerned about finding chocolate (43%) and a good book or magazine (38%).
Dream minibar for men
% of men who would like to see this in a minibar
Bottled water 67%
Healthy snacks 66%
Low calorie drinks 44%
Massage oil 25%
Dream minibar for women
% of women who would like to see this in a minibar
Bottled water 77%
Healthy snacks 69%
Low calorie drinks 48%
Chocolate bars 43%
Books and magazines 38%
Alison Couper, Director of Communications for Hotels.com, says: “British travellers are clearly unable to resist the temptations of the hotel minibar; however, our research shows they are becoming incredibly savvy in terms of how they spend their holiday money. Sites like ours are currently offering a further 50% off thousands of hotels around the world so there has never been a better time to make your money go further.”