Hotel guests expect high quality toiletries, with the establishment getting added points for sustainability. A trend, that Victoria Burrows discovers, hotels are increasingly embracing.

For many hotel guests, deliciously scented in-room amenities are an extra little treat to look forward to when travelling. Certainly in mid-range to luxury hotels, guests expect to be able to pamper themselves with a selection of high quality toiletries. In Asia, what defines “high quality” is slowly but increasingly being associated with sustainability – of both what’s inside the bottle and the packaging itself.

“With more than 35 years of experience in the hotel cosmetics industry, we can clearly say that bathroom amenities have a huge impact on hotel guest satisfaction,” says Shacy Lim, general manager Asia Pacific at ADA Pacific Direct, part of ADA, the first German manufacturer to produce natural, eco-friendly cosmetics with bio-degradable ingredients for the hotel industry.

“Perhaps the impact is not as obvious as the hotel’s design, food and beverage, and service. But amenities can increase the perceived value of the guest experience by making a clear statement how much the hotel cares for the well-being of their guests.”

ADA’s range of Naturals hotel products includes shower gel, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion in 30ml and 150ml bottles, as well as a 15g square plant soap, and accessories. The collection also includes the eco-friendly and economical 300ml dispenser system for liquid soap, shampoo, hair & body, and body lotion.

Naturals by ADA Pacific Direct

Lim says that dispensers are gaining a foothold even in upscale hotels as they combine luxury products with environmental awareness. Dispenser solutions are convenient, with one filling lasting for up to four weeks, and they bring substantial savings – up to 40 percent compared with single portions, she says. They are also eco-friendly as they reduce the wasting of product and the cartridges are recyclable.

Natural skincare and cosmetics company Pevonia has the Spa at Home Amenities collection for hotels, spas and salons. The four naturally green, cruelty-free, and eco-friendly products in this collection (replenishing shampoo, repairing conditioner, stress-away shower gel and softening body moisturiser) are available in 30ml, 100ml, 250ml and 5,000ml bottles, as well as single or double dispensers designed for bottles of 380ml. In Asia, Pevonia supplies their products to Japan.

Vice president of marketing for Pevonia International, Maritza Rodriguez, says that hotels are increasingly being encouraged to embrace sustainability, and in-room amenities are one area in which this can be addressed.

“The ‘green up’ initiative in hotels, coupled with more eco-savvy guests, means the demand is there for a quality product which is enjoyable to use, branded as a luxury product, and is natural and eco-friendly,” she says. “Meeting the growing call of guests for eco-friendly and natural ingredients and recyclable packaging ticks another box on the guest satisfaction register.”

Another brand which keeps nature at the heart of their products is France-based L’Occitane. In Asia, L’Occitane works with 5-star hotel partners including Four Seasons Hong Kong, Singapore and Macau. Will Allen, B2B manager of L’Occitane (Far East), says hoteliers and other clients are increasingly checking a brand’s credentials.

“There is more focus on formulation quality, for sure,” says Allen. “Clients are asking educated questions on this subject. It’s increasingly important to be able to provide reassurance on one’s eco credentials. We follow a very strict charter to ensure that we maximise the use of high quality, traceable, natural ingredients.”

High quality ingredients also ensure long-term success of a brand, according to Allen.

“Those brands that enjoy enduring success are rooted in high quality formulations. Those that rely purely on packaging are much more transient,” he says.

High quality and eco-conscious products help ensure the success of a brand also because these qualities have global appeal. While there are some regional specificities – guests enjoying products with the traditional scents of Asia, such as lemon grass or ginger, for example ­– amenities companies report that success in one region generally means success in another.

“While sense of place can be very important, there is also a certain universality to successful amenity products,” says Allen. “We find that products which are successful in one market tend to be appealing in others, too.”

Rodriguez, however, points out that regionality does have an impact on the choice of amenities in Japan. “Attractive items for our Japanese customers are the ones which are difficult to buy in Japan but are popular overseas,” she says.

Ultimately, hoteliers should choose guest amenities that fit their own brand, as well, of course, as their own budget.

“Amenities in Asian hotels are not very different from other parts of the world as these hotels cater for international travellers as well as Asian guests. Also, from our experience, guests do not have special expectations in regards to body care products,” says Lim. “We advise our hotel clients to choose an amenities line that reflects their identity, be it luxury or a particular lifestyle. Each line has a differentiating positioning and offers hotels a unique amenity solution – whether they are looking for classic, heritage, quirky-contemporary, spa-therapeutic or eco-friendly.”