Minibar operations can be expensive for both guests and hotels, and not just at luxury hotels, but also at affordable accommodations and economy properties. Today’s consumers typically overlook minibars, but Extra—a startup company that matches brands and hotels with hand-picked products—is curating minibars that provide beverages guests want at an affordable price point for both travelers and hotels.
“We’re trying to help hotels understand exactly what it is guests want,” says Gen Liston, founder and CEO of Extra. “It’s hard for hotels to know who their customers are without having a program that helps get to the bottom of what exactly moves the needle for all of their guests.”
Extra tracks what minibar items guests are purchasing and consuming, relays data and other information back to the hotel, and gives rewards points to consumers who use the minibars in multiple locations or write product reviews. Extra has found that hotel revenue drivers are mostly common areas, and finding new revenue outlets can grow profit margins and bring in repeat guests. In turn, hotels using Extra have a better understanding of guests’ preferences, and the company uses those preferences to deliver a better experience when those guests stay at other hotels.
“There’s also an opportunity to drive additional revenue through branded experiences. That’s what we want to do for our partners. We want to increase the bottom line by maximizing the impact of what they’re already doing in a smarter and more data-driven way,” Liston says.
And for the future of data-driven minibars, Liston says, “Keeping track of what people are consuming is quite challenging for our partners, but hotels can provide a positive experience by giving guests products that they’re actually interested in. We can completely change the story about the way people perceive the minibar in hotels.”