Gift shops, guests, and gratitude: What you need to sell at your hotel

hotel gift shopAs a hotel manager, it’s likely that you’ve thought of virtually everything when it comes to ensuring the ultimate guest experience at your property. You’ve upgraded the bedroom linens to ones that feature a high thread count and all-natural fibers, you’ve included a complimentary breakfast buffet complete with organic coffee and fresh-baked muffins in your lobby, and you’ve trained your staff on how to provide immaculate service to everyone who walks through the door.

However, if you don’t have a fully stocked gift shop on-site, you may be inadvertently reducing revenue and causing undue inconvenience to your guests at the same time. While a gift shop is often recognized as the place where customers can go to pick up touristy trinkets and fun, random novelties for their friends and family back home, they are also a way to secure forgotten provisions and hygiene essentials when they’re traveling, too. 

Nobody likes to discover that they’re hundreds (or even thousands!) of miles away from home without a tube of toothpaste or a spare pair of socks on their person. Even worse, trying to navigate an unfamiliar city can be daunting, especially if they just want to retire to their quarters and relax after a long day of vacationing or tedious business conferences. Whether you already have a gift shop in place, or you’ve been considering adding one, here are some much-needed things you’ll want to include in it for sale.

Basic hygiene products

While many hotels may decide to offer certain hygiene products at no cost to their guests, this can start to add up and affect your bottom line. That said, even if you do elect to provide free toothbrushes and extra bars of soap at your front desk, you don’t want to overlook the benefits of including these items in your gift shop, either. From luxury shampoos and conditioners to razors and deodorant, these items will meet guest demand and put them at ease if they do happen to forget anything at home.

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Locally made goods

One thing that many hotel managers and owners tend to forget is the value of forging long-term relationships with local artisans and creatives. Not only can this help you support small businesses, but it can also appeal to those guests who want to bring back something special or one-of-a-kind to commemorate their trip. Inventory options can include handmade jewelry, locally made treats and sweets, and even limited-edition and signed photography of your region.

Collectibles and souvenirs

If your property is upscale, then it’s understandable to want to maintain a certain image that aligns well with your brand. In that case, you may want to focus on quality over quantity when it comes to the items you sell at your gift shop. That said, there is merit in selling something that can only be described politely as kitsch. In other words, don’t shy away from including novelty coffee mugs, quaint magnets, charming keychains, and other similar trinkets in your hotel gift shop. The popularity of these souvenirs just might surprise you!

Specialty apparel

As any hotel guest can readily attest, very little is more discouraging than opening their luggage, only to discover that they forgot to pack their pajamas or an extra undershirt. For these valued customers, you may want to consider keeping not only branded apparel on-site, but also basic garments, too. High-quality yet simple clothing, like comfortable lounge shirts and equally well-made bottoms, will meet the needs of your guests – but will still be something they can wear again and again once their travels do come to an end.

Snack foods and impulse buys

Finally, you’ll want to be sure to include an assortment of so-called impulse purchases at your hotel gift shop. These include items such as packs of gum, crossword puzzle books, and magazines. Of course, you’ll want to also include other products, like familiar snack foods and treats. These will appeal to the guests who may not be looking for a full meal to enjoy in the evening, but still want a little pick-me-up before bed. Soft drinks, candy bars, and single-serve bags of chips will hit the spot and help increase revenue at your property, as well.

Trying to ensure the ultimate guest experience at your property can be challenging, especially when you’re trying to appeal to a wide variety of customers. However, while you would never even consider skimping on the basic amenities that set your property apart from your competitors, you may be selling yourself short by overlooking the value of an on-site gift shop. By including one in your property, and stocking it with these five types of inventory, you can help ensure that the needs of your guests are met in every way possible during their stay.


Tags: Collectibles, gift shops, souvenirs


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