This is part two in a series on guestroom refrigeration in hotels. Click here for part one: How guestroom refrigerators complete the 'home away from home.'
Dan Russell, SVP of operations for Red Roof Inn, is unsure if the brand plans on mandating refrigerators in every room in the future, but says there is a definite return on investment to capture from them.
"Especially in markets with frequent long-term stays, or businesses near hospitals or medical centers where people are being treated for a period of time, refrigerators can play a role in bookings," Russell said.
This is because, beyond reducing living costs by allowing guests to save on meals, many guests also need to keep medicine cool. "This is so important that we ask about medicine when booking rooms," Russell said. "Without access to refrigerators, you will certainly miss out on revenue opportunities."
Tom Smith, area VP of operations for the Hyatt Regency Orlando, considers guestroom refrigerators to have better revenue-generating capacity than minibars because they allow guests to feel comfortable using in-house food-and-beverage options. Additionally, guestroom refrigerators are a bonus for the meetings and events markets because meeting planners sometimes stock the refrigerators with specific goods.
Similarly, the Hyatt Regency Orlando offers a "Feed the Fridge" program where guests can order snacks to be stocked in their refrigerator ahead of a stay.
"The refrigerator isn't just for leftovers these days," Smith said. "They can be stocked with food for a movie night after stressful travel. It's mostly beverages being stored there, but above all it's a comfort thing."
Additionally, Smith said that comments about refrigerators are more common than some would think. "You only hear about guests storing medication when a situation goes sour and it spoils, but guests have high expectations these days," he said. "It's one more thing you have at home that you can find on the road."