Demand Directs Development—How Hotels Can Use Their Existing Purchasing Power to Spur Cost-Saving Development

    By John Brady, Founder of

    We’ve all heard the phrase “consumers vote with their wallets,” but many hotels forget that they too can shape the industries that help them run. Indeed, hospitality professionals exert outsized purchasing power because, regardless of whether you run a hotel, motel, or small CABBI inn, your business is akin to a small city. With that purchasing power comes the ability to call for designs, technologies, and programs that better fit your business’s needs.

    In the world of consumables, this means that hotels have the ability to drive changes which increase efficiencies, decrease waste, reduce overall costs, or simply fit better with the unique and welcoming atmosphere you work so hard to cultivate. While our businesses are becoming more eco-friendly than ever, we still consume our fair share of single use products in our day-to-day business (think soaps, cleaning materials, and even trash bags).

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    As hotels have adapted to new regulations, so too have businesses that support hotel operations. In response to increased demand for products compatible with shower dispensers following California’s plastic bottle ban, shower product manufacturers have increased the number of soaps, lotions, and lathers that can be used with large dispensers. In response to hoteliers’ need for a way to convey amenities to guests in a pandemic-friendly manner, manufacturers designed automated robots to keep guests safe (while these designs were already in the works, the pandemic helped increase the prevalence of these technologies). In response to unpleasant odors which develop when trash is left sitting, manufacturers developed odor locking trash bags. All of these innovations originated as ideas to address an issue and were eventually backed by an industry who saw the benefits of each design.  Further, in each of these cases, hoteliers demanded solutions to problems and voted to solve the issue by purchasing these products.

    What Does This Mean for Your Business?

    Given their outsized impact on commercial commodity production, hotels are in a unique position to use their purchasing power to influence designs and save time, save money, and reduce waste. For example, by switching to a wall dispenser for soaps, hotels can save an estimated $10,512 per year in operational costs and reduce the amount of bottles in landfills by up to 200 bottles per refill. In the case of robots, some companies estimate that using robots in the workplace can increase customer satisfaction so much that using a robot in a hotel can pay itself off in 2–3 months based solely on increased guest review scores. So, it’s clear that leveraging your business’s purchasing power pays off, but how can you get started?

    First, look for issues that shouldn’t merely be there. Does your door open too often automatically and let out warm air unnecessarily? Are there little things you can do to make the guest experience more welcoming or efficient? Do your staff struggle with trash bags that do not fit properly in your trash cans, forcing them to take time to try to tie them off and spend more time later cleaning up the mess after they inevitably slip?

    Once you’ve identified your problems, start looking for potential solutions. Look for existing suppliers who have addressed the issues, but don’t ignore small innovators who are just starting out as sometimes, it takes a new perspective to address lingering problems. Explore potential “life-hacks” which can help with the issue, but beware of those which can make processes slower, dangerous, or more difficult in the long run. Finally, look for products which keep it simple and do one or two tasks well, rather than products which offer to solve all of your problems, but end up doing so poorly. Sometimes, this search can be time consuming, but, as noted earlier, the sheer scale of hospitality operations can make a small initial effort pay off significantly in the long term. is a startup company which has designed cinchable trash bags for commercial use. These bags are designed to reduce installation time, create a cleaner look when installed in trash cans, and to help ensure a no-slip experience to make removal quick and easy for staff. To learn more about this product and how you can help use your purchasing power to get it into your trash cans, contact John Brady at

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