Young bellboy at a hotel moving luggage cart to a guest room very cheerfully
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These 19 Things Could Be Gone From Hotels Forever

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Young bellboy at a hotel moving luggage cart to a guest room very cheerfully
Hispanolistic/istockphoto

Checking Out for Good

The hotel industry has gone through quite a bit of upheaval in the past couple of years, and as things start to normalize, the new normal for many hotels is fewer amenities that we’ve come to take for granted. Whether this is for better (a more sustainable practice) or worse (no more mini toiletries), these are some things you may no longer see when you next check-in. 

 

Related: Why Staying at a Hotel Beats a Vacation Rental

Shampoo, conditioner and soap bottles
HowardOates/istockphoto

Travel-Sized Toiletries

You’ve probably already seen mini toiletries being replaced with reusable wall-fixed dispensers, but now the European Union is set to ban them throughout the EU. It’s part of a wider plan to “make sure that a certain proportion of hotel products are reusable or refillable,” so grab those freebies while you still can!

 

Related: Incredible Free Amenities at Hotels Across America

Hand Holding Key card Hotel room access
VTT Studio/istockphoto

The Hotel Key

First, it was the physical key, now it looks like card keys might be disappearing in place of the mobile phone — the Hilton group is already doing this — as a digital room key card. Using Bluetooth technology or near-field communication (NFC) integrated with the property management system (PMS), it’s not just the hotel room that can be accessed, guests can also use it to enter public spaces like the gym, spa, and pool. 

 

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Little boy opens the mini bar in the room in search of snacks
Anchiy/istockphoto

Stocked Minibars

Who pays for an overpriced can of soda or candy bar from the hotel minibar unless you’ve got a bad case of the munchies (or work is picking up the tab)? Delivery services like Instacart, Uber Eats, and on-property capsule shops have not helped the minibar’s relevance for the average traveler. That said, the event management company Cvent offers up some cool ideas for minibars that might work: stocking it with snacks by a local business or filling it with the best farmers-market finds. 

Maid with fresh towels in hotel room
macniak/istockphoto

Daily Housekeeping

At the height of COVID, it made sense not to send housekeeping staff in daily, but now, some hotels like Hilton and the Marriott have continued this practice. Post-COVID, it’s a trend that’s continued. According to a report by CBS, “Marriott's policies vary by property, but housekeeping is usually offered only upon request, with all rooms cleaned automatically every sixth night. Hilton's default is no more daily cleanings at most properties unless requested. Walt Disney World reduced service to light housekeeping every other day. That entails towel replacement and trash removal but doesn't necessarily include services you might expect, like getting your bed made.” We’re honestly not sure how we feel about this. 

 

Related: Things We Used To Get For Free (But Now We Have To Pay For)


Hotel reception with bell
kadmy/istockphoto

The Human Concierge

That all-knowing staff member with golden keys to the city is most likely a computer bot or actual robot these days. A Hilton hotel in Virginia has already had a resident robot Connie that will tell you the best places to check out, and as it is powered by IBM’s Watson supercomputer AI, it’s pretty personable. At Henn na Hotel in Nagasaki, Japan, an actual robot checks you in and leads you to your room.

 

Related: Jobs That'll Soon Be Lost to Automation

Young man pushes luggage cart with suitcases, bags and backpacks to the entrance. Metall baggage trailer with luggage. UAE, Dubai - February 2020
Oksana Drobotun/istockphoto

Bellhop Services

You know when you call for help with your luggage and a helpful member of staff trots up with a luggage trolley? Now, you’ve got luggage-carrying robots. New York Yotel Hotels’ Yobot has already been put to work, and can handle about 300 luggage items a day, and all this without the threat of workplace safety issues. See it in action.  

toiletry bag with travel toiletries, small plastic bottles of hygiene products and soap,
chuck/istockphoto

Single-Use Plastics

Paper notices, single-use plastics, they’re all being phased out of hotels. As travelers vocalize a preference for sustainability practices, the industry is responding. Hotel groups like Accor have been removing individual plastic toiletry amenities and single-use plastic items since 2020. And a bill in Hawaii, HB1645, would “prohibit hotels with 50 or more beds from handing out personal care products in small plastic bottles in 2024 and 2025." 

Entering hotel room
DragonImages/istockphoto

Cookie Cutter Stays

It’s not just loyalty or elite members who’ll get recognized by hotel staff, hyper-personalization is set to be the trend moving forward, according to the hospitality-tech company Mews, where everything from marketing mailers, personal offers, the in-room experience or pillow menu will be adjusted to individual guests preferences so everyone feels like a VIP. What’s helping grow this trend is the growing popularity and use of voice-enabled AI devices like Alexa that can be programmed to do everything from supplying personal music/podcast playlists and controlling room devices to making calls on your behalf. 

Businesswoman Checking In At Hotel Reception
guvendemir/istockphoto

The Check-In Counter

Front office staff may soon be relieved of the tedious process of checking in a guest. As early as August 2020, a poll by travel-technology firm Criton found that 80% of hotel guests would download a hotel app that helped them check in, and Opinion Research Corp. found that 41% would be more likely to select a hotel that offers the convenience of advanced check-in via web or mobile device. These preferences are impacting the industry with an increasing number of tablet self-check-ins, self-check-in kiosks, and specific contactless mobile technology like FX GeM, which allows guests to check-in through their own devices with facilities to upload identity documents. 

Caucasian businessman using a keyless entry card to enter his hotel room
AzmanJaka/istockphoto

Fixed Check-In Times

While this trend has been developing over the past few years, it’s far from an industry-wide practice, for now. As of 2021, the Peninsula Hotels has done away with a fixed check-in time allowing guests a room “for one night — even if they check in at 6 a.m. on their arrival date and check out at 10 p.m. on their departure date.” Citizen M hotels, Capella properties, and InterContinental Hotels Group also have flexible check-in policies as well. 

Pretty positive woman with long hair drinks water and sitting at bed in sunny lazy morning.
Maria Korneeva/istockphoto

Lumpy Mattresses

It’s not enough to provide a pillow menu, hotels are taking things a step further to ensure guests get a good night's sleep. A focus not limited to wellness hotels, hotel brands like Virgin, Fairmont, Four Seasons and the Park Hyatt in select locations are investing in top-of-the-line mattresses like Bryte, which use artificial intelligence to adjust body support and room temperature to maintain deep sleep. But if you want to sleep even better, Swedish mattress brand Hastens (they make mattresses with hypoallergenic horsehair) has its own boutique hotel in Coimbra, Portugal where they’ve curated the sleep experience from the acoustics insulation to sleep recommendations to ensure you wake up fresh as a daisy. 

Hotel room with wifi access sign
ymgerman/istockphoto

Snail-Speed Wi-Fi

Woe betides the hotel that dares to provide slow internet. It’s no longer seen as a perk but an essential, as you would with fresh towels. According to a survey published by HighSpeedInternet.com last year, 84% of Americans consider Wi-Fi important for their short and long-term stays, and 30% consider a good internet connection “essential.” But how fast should you expect the Wi-Fi to be? According to Tom Paton of Broadband Savvy in an article by USA Today, 25 megabits per second is the minimum. Hotel brands like Marriott, Ritz-Carlton, Holiday Inn, and the Intercontinental typically provide this and more. 

Exterior of a Marriott Towneplace Suites hotel in the downtown area
Melissa Kopka/istockphoto

Free Parking

Free parking is always a perk but it’s likely to get scarcer which is not great news for travelers as the fees can be hefty — as much as $25 a day and upward — not to mention if there’s no other option except to valet parking. To get around this, parking apps like ParkMobile and ParkWhiz help to locate nearby spots, but sometimes it just pays to be boldface and ask for it to be included in your nightly rate. 

All that you need. Waitress in uniform delivering tray with food in a room of hotel. Room service. Focus on tableware
LanaStock/istockphoto

Room Service

Delivery services have made the on-property room service menus a thing of the past. Chances are the food ordered online will be cheaper, get to you faster, and be even tastier. Savvy hoteliers are not fighting the tide and pairing up with delivery apps to order through the hotel via a tablet in the room. Also, to our knowledge, you can DoorDash to your hotel room, or at least to the hotel lobby

 

Related: The Most Ordered Takeout Dishes of 2022

Traditional tips is laying on the corner of bed in hotel room for room cleaner
Olena Ivanova/istockphoto

The Tipping Envelope

Forget doing that wadded-up bill sleight of hand, tipping is going the digital route. Services like YouTip enable customers to scan and tip via a specific QR code that can be placed on an employee badge or valet stand so you know 100% of the tip goes to the individual for their outstanding towel swan. 

 


people group catering buffet food indoor, with food and beverage, Eat together.
802290022/istockphoto

Complimentary Breakfast

We’re sorry to tell you but the freebie breakfast is a thing of the past. In 2020 and 2021, many properties swapped out the free breakfast for food and drink credit or just did away with it completely, and some have yet to reinstate it. If this is a deal breaker for you, NerdWallet has singled out 8 hotel brands (e.g. Best Western, Marriott, Choice Hotels) that have not yet cut back on this amenity. 

Happy young family at restaurant
bojanstory/istockphoto

Physical Menus

We’re on the fence about this. There’s something nice about looking (not scrolling) through a menu, but thanks to the pandemic, digital QR-code enabled menus are now commonplace, and some are so sophisticated that restaurants can tell how many people are looking at their menus and for how long, according to Bloomberg. 

 


Hawaii sunset with fire torches. Hawaiian icon, lights burning at dusk at beach resort or restaurants for outdoor lighting and decoration, cozy atmosphere.
Maridav/istockphoto

Boring Excursions

The pandemic has spurred a desire for more meaningful experiences. In a survey by American Express, 62% of respondents agree they want to be more thoughtful about where and how they travel. In the same vein, the luxury travel network Virtuoso found that 75% of those polled say they are willing to pay more to travel responsibly if they know how their money is being used. What has come from this are initiatives like Good Travel with Marriott Bonvoy introduced across 100 properties in Asia Pacific that offer guests the chance to forge first-hand connections with local communities and the environment during their stay so that an extended weekend getaway isn’t just one glorified photoshoot. 

African American family signing into guest book at hotel.
Dimensions/istockphoto

The Guest Book

That dusty, leatherbound book is a relic of travel past. Aside from the privacy issues, it can cause, guests rarely have the time to pen a heartfelt note of thanks upon check-out. What’s happened instead is they take to Google Reviews, Yelp, and Tripadvisor to either rave or rant, which maybe doesn’t benefit the hotel, but it helps travelers decide where to book a night.