IHG Eliminating Miniature Bath Amenities Globally

Posted by Jimmy Gould on


IHG has today announced that they’ll switch entirely to bulk-size bathroom amenities by 2021.

This will apply to all 17 IHG brands, ranging from InterContinental to Holiday Inn Express. IHG is one of the world’s largest hotel groups, with around 5,600 properties that have around 843,000 guest rooms.

IHG says that this will remove 200 million miniature bottles from their properties every year. This is part of a larger sustainability agenda intended to reduce plastic waste, and it makes IHG the first global hotel company to commit all brands to removing bathroom miniatures in favor of bulk-size amenities.

IHG’s CEO, Keith Barr, had the following to say regarding this:

“It’s more important than ever that companies challenge themselves to operate responsibly – we know it’s what our guests, owners, colleagues, investors and suppliers rightly expect. Switching to larger-size amenities across more than 5,600 hotels around the world is a big step in the right direction and will allow us to significantly reduce our waste footprint and environmental impact as we make the change.

We’ve already made great strides in this area, with almost a third of our estate already adopting the change and we’re proud to lead our industry by making this a brand standard for every single IHG hotel. We’re passionate about sustainability and we’ll continue to explore ways to make a positive difference to the environment and our local communities.”

This move follows IHG committing to removing plastic straws from their properties by the end of 2019, which is something we’ve seen at a lot of companies.

IHG notes that many of their brands already offer bulk-size toiletries, and they’re well received by guests:

  • Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas offers bathroom products in refillable ceramic dispensers across its entire luxury estate, whilst Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is already moving to larger-size amenities

  • IHG’s voco Hotels, EVEN Hotels, and avid hotels brands have all offered bulk-size amenities since launch, working closely with suppliers to offer dispensers and products that retain a quality feel

  • More than 1,000 Holiday Inn Express hotels in the Americas have already been implementing the change, alongside a number of Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites properties in the region

My take on bulk-size toiletries

I have to be honest, this is an area where I’ve evolved over time. In general I’ve not been a fan of hotel groups switching to bulk-size amenities, since it seemed to me mostly like a cost cutting measure.

While I do think it cuts cost, the reality is that it’s also the right thing to do. Toiletry miniatures are so wasteful and unnecessary, even if they are something that some people love about hotels.

So while I’m in favor of this nowadays, I do have a few hopes for IHG (and any other hotel brand that chooses to go this direction):

  • Please don’t introduce worse toiletries just because the labeling might not be as obvious

  • Please make sure housekeepers clean the containers properly

  • Please make sure the containers work correctly, which I’ve found to be a major issue (like a pump being broken)

Bottom line

IHG is the first global hotel group to announce that they’re eliminating miniature toiletries globally, though I’d be willing to bet that the competition will follow shortly, and before you know it, single use toiletries will be a thing of the past.

I know some people will miss taking home some toiletries from some of the better brands out there, but I also can’t blame IHG for this. It’s the right move, ultimately.

What do you make of IHG eliminating miniature toiletries globally?