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Should I use retail or hotel-specific appliances in my hotel?

The number of small appliance brands available these days for the retail and hotel industries is limitless. While this is good for selection, it does make your job even harder when trying to choose the right brand for your property.

When talking to our clients, we get a lot of questions about the advantages and disadvantages of using retail brands v hotel specific brands. To make life easy we’ve put these points together because the chances are you’ve been having the same questions too.

Using Retail Brands in a Hotel.

Particularly in New Zealand, the trend historically has been to run down to the local Briscoes store and buy whatever kettle or hair dryer, they have on their 50% off sale. While this is handy, our clients have encountered some issues.


  • Readily available
    Since there are so many stockists of the same brands, if one store doesn’t have the appliance you want, the next department store is likely to sell it.

  • Known brands
    Retail brands are well-known to consumers, so this does mean that they know what to expect when they use them.
  • Always innovating with trends
    If you want to keep up with the latest consumer trends, then retail brands are a good option. Since retail brands design their products specifically for the consumer they are constantly looking at ways to innovate and come up with the next new thing to get consumer engagement.


  • Inconsistency:
    Since retail brands are constantly changing with the trends, it often means that while you can purchase 50 to 100 kettles the same today, when you come to buy more in 6 months to 12 months’ time, it is likely the model has been discontinued or changed meaning you won’t be able to purchase them anymore. In turn, you start getting a big smorgasbord of kettles or hairdryers in different styles and colours, which causes inconsistency to your brand and is a challenge to manage as a hotel operator.

  • Brand alignment:
    Although retail brands are known, people have very different perceptions of them. This can stem from either a good or bad experience they’ve had while using the product in their home environment. Depending on their experience, it can instantly give them the feeling that you have “cheap” or inferior quality products in your hotel.

  • Higher power consumption:
    Because the manufacturers are designing their products for a house that would typically only have 1 kettle or 1 iron, for example, they don’t think about the power consumption of that appliance because having just one has a minimal impact. However, in a hotel environment, it is dramatically different. A 100-room hotel using a 2000w retail kettle vs a 1000w hotel-specific kettle has a significantly bigger impact on power consumption.

  • Can’t be easily repaired:
    Again, because the manufacturers are looking for you to replace your appliances when they are broken or need repair, rather than fixing them, it can make the ongoing costs for a hotel operator extremely high.

While there are some advantages of using retail brands, we hope you take the operational challenges into consideration as you map out your purchasing journey. Now we’ll move on to reviewing the hotel-specific brands.

Using Hotel-Specific Brands in a Hotel:

There are now brands available that have been created specifically for hotels, and like anything, there are advantages and disadvantages. Here are some we have identified to help you during your planning process.


  • Reduced power consumption:
    Because some of the hotel-specific brands have been created by hoteliers for hoteliers, this means during the design and manufacturing phases they think about the large-scale impact of having so many appliances in one location. So, they aim to create products that use as little power as possible without affecting the overall performance of the appliance. As an example, some of the hotel-specific kettles that are available are half the wattage of retail kettles, which has a big impact on a property’s operational costs.

  • Reduce water consumption
    Again, because hotel-specific products are made for a hotel environment where there are typically only 2 guests staying in a room per night, the kettle size is often much smaller than a retail product. Take a 600ml hotel-specific kettle, for example, it is still big enough for 2 cups of coffee or tea. However, due to the fact that the guest can only fill the water to 600ml rather than up to 1.7L this saves on both water and power consumption.

  • Consistency
    The great thing is, that because hotel-specific brands aren’t running off trying to keep up with the latest domestic trends, they can design a kettle that will be on the market for 5-10 years. This means that as you need to replace the kettles in your hotel you will most likely get the exact same model as the ones you have already purchased, which makes things so much easier to manage as a hotel operator.

  • Spare parts available
    To help save the number of products hitting the landfill, some of the hotel-specific appliance manufacturers understand that you want the ability to fix your items rather than throwing them out when it breaks or loses a part. For example, the water cap on the iron, or the nozzle on the hair dryer, can often go missing in a hotel, so rather than throwing out the appliance, you can buy a replaceable part for a few dollars. It’s a quick fix, you’ve helped reduce waste and you’ve saved money too!


  • Unrecognizable brands
    The main disadvantage of hotel-specific brands is the fact they aren’t brands that your guests can relate to from a consumer brand standpoint. This means they have no perception of the investment you have made. So, if you are wanting to showcase expensive brands then hotel-specific brands may not be the best option.

So, there you have it, these are the advantages and disadvantages of retail vs hotel-specific appliance brands we find in the market. It really comes down to what you and your guests expect and what is going to be the best for your business overall.

If you’re looking for some new options for your hotel or motel, make an appointment at our Hotel-Specific Showroom, Evoque Interior Inspiration. We’d love to help you view some of the products in the flesh and get the best items for your property. Book a showroom visit here…


About the author

Reuben Beatson

Focused on making it easy for New Zealand’s Hotel & Motel industry to create those memorable guest experiences that are key to their success, I am truly passionate about the NZ hotel industry and have been working with hoteliers for over 21 years. Living the reason we exist - To create moments of delight for people every day.