Your minibar has eyes – and it needs them. Almost a quarter of hotel guests have confessed to minibar pilfering of some sort, from drinking £3 Cokes and replacing them with cheap stuff from supermarkets to refilling bottles of mineral water and wine with tap water. But now your minibar is watching you via infrared sensors and will report you with its fibre-optic cables to the front desk.
The new breed of super-sleuth minibars are fitted with trays capable of identifying what has been removed by the change in weight and sufficiently sensitive to clock the removal of a feather – should that ever be necessary. Unlike earlier versions, this intelligent generation of minibar can distinguish between items removed, and items removed and replaced (unless you do it quickly – usually between 40 and 60 seconds). They also record the date and time of use, and can differentiate between employees and guests. The sell-by dates are wirelessly monitored, temperatures lowered on room occupancy, doors locked remotely at check-out time and, if there’s a difference of opinion when the minibar bill is presented, the contents can be checked remotely via a pop-up screen at the front desk.
In terms of contents, bottled water is the biggest seller, wine sales generate the most revenue, and crisps, cashew nuts and M&Ms are the top snack sellers.