Australia – the last bastion of the hotel mini soap

Ecomenities hotel waste


It’s rare to see mini soaps in Europe, the US or Asia these days.  The rest of the world seems to have embraced the bulk soap dispenser in hotels and accommodation, but many Australian providers are hanging onto their mini soaps in the mistaken belief that they are more up-market and sophisticated, and their guests would be horrified to see a dispenser in their hotel bathroom.

As a hotel owner and a provider of hotel soap dispensers, I have the advantage of being on both sides of the fence in the hotel soap arena.  At Ecomenities, we still find many hoteliers are reluctant to let go of their mini soaps, telling us that they see any sort of bulk dispenser system as ‘cheap’ and ‘low quality’. Akin to the local swimming pool or public toilet.

Cheap, they are not.  I recently saw a plastic soap dispenser (public toilet style) in our local hardware store that was $30. Get one each for shampoo, condition and body wash and you’re up for $90. Fully plastic, requiring screwing to attach to the wall and extremely ugly. And of course, you could shove any old low quality soap in there.

As a hotel owner we increasingly hear from our guests how much they love our soap and the dispensers.  ‘They had some great shower products‘, ‘they had beautiful smells from the Aussie bush‘ and ‘…range of beautifully scented toiletries …’, to quote just a few.  Guests are embracing the soap dispensers and love that they are great quality, are able to read the clear label (a common complaint about mini soaps),that they are superb quality products, and that we have clearly made a commitment to reduce our waste.

And from a hotel management point of view, having soap in a bracket up on the wall is just fantastic.  We recently had our busiest summer on record and were full to bursting for weeks on end. The soap dispensers made cleaning bathrooms quicker, reduced our waste, gave us one less room item to think about, plus they look great and provide our guests with a luxury Australian-made experience. (On average, in a double room the body wash needs filling every 21 days, the shampoo every 35 days and the conditioner every 55 days).

Luxury hotels around the world are embracing the soap dispenser and brands such as IHG (Intercontinental Hotel Group) are committed to phasing out mini soaps.

Traveler surveys consistently list sustainability in the top 5 most important things traveler are looking for. (Cleanliness and technology are also always listed). They give accommodation the thumbs up when they are clearly taking steps to reduce their waste, and not just green washing.

Reducing waste is a no brainer and getting rid of mini soaps is one easy step.

Don’t be afraid of changing to a soap dispenser. Show your guests that they will have a better experience and help the environment at the same time – and they will love you all the more for it!