Hotel Mini Bar prices: Why they don’t make sense

If I was running a hotel that provided mini bars, I’d want people to buy as much stuff from that mini bar as possible. After all, the more you sell from it, the more money you make, yes?

Most hoteliers don’t seem to agree with me, however. It’s almost like there’s a big in-joke going on, seeing who can put the highest price for a bog standard beer and sell at least one during the course of the year. Some mini bar prices are so sky high it’s almost as if it’s a nuisance when anyone takes a drink out of one.

I do understand that there is always going to be something of a mark-up for the convenience of having a bar in your room, but when prices go ludicrous, I’ll just walk out and buy a few much cheaper bottles of beer from the nearest off-licence/ liquor store/ bottle shop.

This surely can’t be of benefit to anyone except me and the man who sells booze in the shop round the corner. If I was running the hotel, I’d be looking at why people are walking through the lobby with clanking carrier bags and working out how I can get that cash spent on booze into my coffers.

My theory is that, unless absolutely desperate, people are willing to pay approximately 10% to 15% more for a drink from a mini bar than they would do in a local bar. So if the average price of a bottled beer in the nearby pubs is £3, you shouldn’t be charging any more than £3.50 for it from the mini bar. Given that said beer will be bought in bulk from a wholesaler, this still represents a stonking great profit.

The same applies for everything else. If a posh chocolate bar would cost £1 normally, don’t try and sell it for more than £1.20. If you’d pay for £15 for the bottle of wine in the restaurant, don’t charge more than £18 from the mini bar.

Surely it makes sense for people to not feel wary of tucking into the mini bar? Make the items in it reasonable and tempting rather than extortionate and scary, and everyone’s a winner.

 

One Response to Mini bar prices in hotels

  1. Steve Jack says:

    Your post makes sense, but then quite a few common hotel ‘policies’ seem to verge on the nonsensical to me. Why on earth can you get free wifi in many of the most down-to-earth and good-value cafes around, and yet still have to cough up extortionate amounts of money to avail yourself of such a service in an already-expensive 5-star hotel? It seems to me that the paying private guest is being made to feel like an idiot as a result of the hotels’ overwhelming desire to rip the corporate guest off in as disgraceful a fashion as possible. Such places are an insult to our intelligence and our sense of decency / fair play.

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