After COVID-19, Single-Use Toiletries Make a Comeback at Hotels and Vacation Rental Properties

After COVID-19, Single-Use Toiletries Make a Comeback at Hotels and Vacation Rental Properties

After COVID-19, single-use toiletries make a comeback at hotels and vacation rental properties

As more states reopen their economies after the coronavirus lockdown, the hospitality industry is already preparing to welcome back travelers in a post-coronavirus world. One of the main concerns that each hotel and vacation rental property should as itself is: “Is my property clean and safe for guests?”

Cleanliness will be highly emphasized on top of an existing long list of cleanliness procedures each property should already practice. The health and safety of guests is top priority. This means that properties will be reconsidering in-room amenities, such as the reinstating of the use of single-use toiletries that many hotel companies and some states have tried to vilify, passed legislation, and tried to eliminate last year. [1]

In an effort to appear progressive and to embrace feel good eco-fads, companies and legislators illogically tried to ban plastic grocery bags from grocery stores and plastic single-use toiletry bottles at hotels, without thinking through effects and consequences in cleanliness and safety. [2] Have we gotten so caught up in eco-fads, that we’ve disregarded basic sanitary and hygiene practices? The coronavirus pandemic reminds us that as much as we want to sound and appear eco-friendly, some legislative implementations can backfire and increase our risk of exposure to the spread of disease.

Let’s be clear that single-use plastics are a scourge on the environment and need to be reduced. However, the way that companies and legislators have gone about it is an example of pandering to the public by misleading with misinformation. Instead of removing small plastic bottles while simultaneously maintaining valuable traditions and customer experience, hotels enacted a cost-cutting trend under the disguise of an environmentally-friendly move. [3] Guests are beginning to see bulk dispensers mounted on the wall.

Reasons Why Single-Use Toiletries are Making a Comeback After Coronavirus Pandemic

1.       Bacteria collecting on bulk dispensers. Thepointsguy makes some eye-opening observations on why bulk bottles are not the solution for companies and legislators joining in on the eco-fad. The back side of the mounts of these bulk dispensers are a hotbed for bacteria. There are enough things that housekeepers need to wipe down each time they clean a room. Why add more things to wipe down by putting up bulk dispensers mounted on walls where the housekeeper cannot reach? As experienced hoteliers, we can tell you for certain that these hard-to-reach places are not something regularly sanitized. Even if they are regularly sanitized, the humidity of bathrooms, combined with water residue and slimy soap and shampoo collected from showers, encourage continuous bacteria growth.

2.       People are dirty. And there are more weirdos than you can imagine. Bulk toiletries claim that they are tamper proof requiring a key to open the tops. But who can certify that? Humans are great at picking locks. You’ll never know if anyone put their mouths on the dispensers and blew into them. Would you want to use the body wash after someone has done that?

3.       There will be cheaters. Do we actually know that hotels and rental hosts won’t cut costs by refilling the dispensers with other products or diluting the concentration by adding water? Do we want our guests to even wonder about these things during their stays? This does not encourage guest confidence.


What happened to guest experience as part of the tradition of a hotel (or vacation rental) stay? Why are hotels starting to deprive guests the tradition of taking home complimentary shampoo bottles as souvenir from their stays? Guests actually do (in fact) care about and enjoy the bath products provided, as part of the cost of the stay. This is one of the few remaining surprises that hotels and rental properties should not take away from guests.

Hospitality is rooted in the tradition of providing details that create positive guest experience; it’s the ability to understand the needs of guests and provide the desired comforts to make guests feel welcome, before they realize they need it. Small toiletry bottles are part of the tradition. They are associated with hospitality. They are a symbol of hospitality. Don’t deprive your guests of this tradition; keep single-use toiletries and make them biodegradable. The beauty industry has figured out ways to reduce waste in packaging. [4] Why can’t the hospitality industry find the right balance between environmental sustainability and preserving guest experience?