A month ago IHG hotels – Intercontinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, and related brands – announced they would move to bulk toiletries across all of their brands by 2021.
Marriott had already moved to wall dispensers in the shower for the North American hotels that they manage (rather than franchise). Now Marriott has announced that they will eliminate single use toiletries worldwide by 2020. In some cases that will be larger bottles, but in most cases it will be bulk dispensers.
- Bulk toiletries are cheaper
- They get to say they care about the environment (while still encouraging you to fly out to visit their hotels)
- But if they cared about the environment rather than cost savings, they’d use biodegradable packaging for single use toiletries.
The problem is that wall dispensers are awful and must be stopped.
- They don’t get refilled properly and when they do get refilled hotels are more likely to use cheaper counterfeit products. I stayed in the same room at one Marriott a week apart and the same bulk dispenser was empty on both stays.
- They’re germ magnets. The dispensers don’t get cleaned well between guests.
- And guests have been known to put stuff in them you wouldn’t want there. Even where there are safeguarding locks in place I’ve had rooms where those weren’t locked.
Plastic is recyclable, Marriott just hasn’t been doing it because CEO Arne Sorenson says it’s too hard to clean the bottles out.
Make no mistake: this is a cost cut you’re shamed into liking because good people care about the environment – but it is not necessary to go to bulk if you want to make environmental progress. Hyatt is testing the same thing. The fight has been lost. But that doesn’t mean hotels ought to get moral approbation for their cost-cutting. There’s no reason they ought to be smug, claiming they’re ‘doing the right thing’. They are certainly doing a good sales job though.