The only constant is change. If there's an industry that this mantra applies to best it's hotel management. Keeping up with the constant demands of the ever-so-fickle traveler is a real challenge. You can never know for certain if making a decision based on consumer trends will lead to success or failure until after you've made it. Take, for example, the rise in popularity of hotel pantries. In lieu of vending machines, many managers have fit these mini convenience markets into the design of their lobby so guests can easily grab a snack during their stay. But should your hotel jump on board? Will vending machines no longer be a viable option for hotels? Below are the pros and cons of both approaches to snacks and beverages to help you decide which is best for your hotel.
Vending Machines at Hotels
If you're trying to decide if getting vending machines for your hotel is a good option, here are the pros and cons of vending services.
Vending Machines are Free
That's right. Full-service vending machines don't cost anything. Vending companies will install and service equipment free of charge.
There's no interior design or construction needed for setup. So long as you have an empty space that's big enough and a working electrical outlet, vending equipment can be installed easily.
Most vending companies will pay customers a portion of the revenue generated from the machine(s), provided there are enough sales.
Vending machines sometimes come with baggage. Stealing money, not dispensing the item you selected, and just simply not working altogether are some common service issues associated with vending equipment.
Can be Unattractive
If you're operating a new hotel or one that recently had some design upgrades, vending machines can stick out like a sore thumb. Especially if you end up with a vending company that doesn't have newer equipment.
A hotel pantry can offer dozens of products to guests, whereas a vending machine is rather limited.
There's no denying that a nicely designed hotel pantry looks good, further enhancing the overall appeal of your hotel lobby.
No Service Issues
Aside from an occasional issue with a cooler compressor, there are not service problems associated with a pantry. That means no guests getting upset over lost money.
Even though you can make commissions through vending machines, selling items through a pantry at a high enough markup can yield a significant profit.
Installing a hotel pantry is not cheap. The shelving and counters need to be purchased and setup.
Managing a pantry can take a lot of time. You'll need to buy your own product and merchandise it if you don't use a service that can help.
Unlike vending machines, which are pretty simple to install, a pantry is a larger ordeal and you'll likely need to okay by upper management or ownership.