Welcome to Life After the Marriott Travel-Sized Toiletries Change

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Marriott Travel-Sized Toiletries Are Going Away, and My Recent Experience Was Great

A little over 2 weeks ago, we covered the announcement that Marriott travel-sized toiletries would be leaving its properties. By the time of the announcement, some of their brands already had made the switch. I stayed at a Marriott Courtyard this past weekend, and I loved it. Here’s what it looked like from a customer perspective.

The Announcement From Marriott

On August 28, 2019, Marriott announced a move to eliminate the travel bottles for toiletries, aiming to help the environment and cut costs. The switch will replace them with refillable pump bottles in the shower for bath gel, shampoo & conditioner. They cited positive feedback from test markets.

People’s Reactions

For one, I was super excited about this. Others said it was a cool idea for environmental reasons. Just like Mark does, my wife loves to take home the travel-sized / throw-away bottles. Sure, these can come in handy if you’re going somewhere that won’t provide these, but how often is that? Clearly not enough to use them up. We have quite the collection at home from Marriott, Hilton & Hyatt properties. I have well over 50 bottles that haven’t been touched yet. For me, the bigger picture on the environment is worth this change.

Marriott travel-sized toiletries

Other people were not so excited. Some have called it being stingy. Others cited #Bonvoyed for the direction of the chain. I’ve even read conspiracy theories that weirdos are going to put bodily fluids into these bottles to get their jollies. And some people think it’s not sanitary, but I haven’t seen any stats to back this up.

My Experience at a Marriott Courtyard This Weekend

Marriott points for skipping housekeeping

As with many Marriott properties, they offered 250 points for skipping housekeeping. This sign and the employee told me about it during check-in. Another sign in my room said I could choose this. I stayed at a Marriott Courtyard for 2 nights this past weekend when traveling to a friend’s wedding, and I didn’t expect to be in the room much anyway.

While I always skip housekeeping on short stays, many people don’t. Some think coming back to a turn-down service is part of the hotel experience. Others just like the ‘freshly cleaned’ feeling. I question this, since I doubt most people clean their houses every day. However, the 2 areas where this really makes sense to me are if you have little kids (housekeeping needs to throw out the diapers) or are really close to a beach (you’ve tracked sand into the room). In these, I can see needing housekeeping daily.

Marriott travel size

However, something new occurred that can change this discussion. Now that there aren’t travel-sized bottles, you don’t need to get new ones. If you’re traveling with 2 adults, those bottles don’t last long. You’ll need housekeeping to come give you more. If you’re skipping housekeeping, this won’t work. You’ll need to call the front desk asking for more bottles. With the large bottles, how fast can you really run out and need housekeeping to come refill them? For me, I see another advantage in this new set-up. Skipping housekeeping for points has one less ‘what if’ negative scenario.

My Room Had Some Travel-Sized Toiletries Still

Marriott refillable pump bottles

My room at the Marriott Courtyard property had pump bottles in the shower for shampoo, conditioner & bath gel. In the original announcement, there was no mention of hand soap or lotion. I looked; they aren’t there. I was interested to see how this would play out. My room still had an individual bar of soap and a travel-sized bottle of hand lotion. Maybe these are from leftover stock they’re still phasing out. Maybe these will remain. However, they’ve already cut down 60% of the toiletry waste from my stay even while keeping these.

Marriott travel-sized toiletries

Final Thoughts

If we leave aside the conspiracy theories and discuss this realistically, this is a great move. I don’t understand the argument that ‘nice hotel’ needs to be synonymous with waste. Reducing all of this unnecessary waste in hotels is a great step forward, and I hope other brands will follow. Unless your room has a big mess, skipping the housekeeping for points is always valid in my view. Now, there’s no concern that skipping housekeeping means you can’t get new toiletries when running out. You’ve got a much bigger supply to work with AND we’re helping the environment. I see this Marriott travel-sized toiletries change as a big win.

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by any advertiser or bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser. It is not any advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

34 COMMENTS

  1. Here’s one study that shows that refillable soap dispensers are prone to bacterial contamination. While it’s not about hotel dispensers, the overall conclusions are still relevant, especially regarding refilling of dispensers which will definitely happen at hotels.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3126420/

    Hand dryers are a good example of reducing waste while increasing chances of bacterial contamination.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4778580/

    As for humans deliberately contaminating soap, there’s this: https://www.clickondetroit.com/news/unusual-substance-discovered-in-soap-dispensers-at-detroit-metro-airport-sources-say
    There were also a rash of incidents where people were licking ice cream at the store and putting it back on the shelves. People do these things.

    You asked for evidence. Here it is.

    • So with your argument we’re going to stop selling ice cream in the USA.
      You’re arguing from rarity to plurality. You’re saying that because there’s a <1% chance of a situation, we need to throw out the entire situation and work backwards. That's just not logical. There are numerous other approaches that are not illogical and don't require continuing to waste.
      Again, arguing that a minority deserves to be treated as a majority or epidemic is just not logical and not an effective use of resources.
      With your logic on this, we have to stop selling ice cream.

  2. Another pointless activity that makes the liberla snowflakes happy.
    Whenever I encounter this I call the front desk and have them bring me the travel size items that I need.

  3. I hate shared toiletries. I don’t want urine in them.

    I just stayed at a Hilton because I don’t want Marriott’s cheapness with toiletries.

    If they want to save the planet, have both shared shampoo and individual ones at the desk. The sign that says they have a comb if you forgot one could be amended to read that they also have individual shampoo, too.

    I am going to start saving a few little containers to carry my own shampoo. I don’t want to put urine on my head. Don’t laugh, someone reported it on a travel blog before.

    • Can you link me to this?
      is there an epidemic of this, or is it “someone told me that someone heard a lady had this happen to her”? That’s all I’ve seen of this. If there really was a trend of this, there’d be evidence. Somehow, many countries have figured out how to survive this. I fail to see how people from the US can’t figure this out like many other countries have.
      If this is really happening, I look forward to the proof of this rumored trend.

      • I know it doesn’t matter, and i don’t really care, but you seem to be stuck on statistical significance… and i am not sure why. The point is not ‘is there a trend’ or ‘a majority’ of wack jobs out there… it’s ONE crazy… and he / she is not peeing in EVERY bottle, its just the ONE you pick up next. And to be frank, that crazy doesn’t just live in the USA. He lives in Amsterdam too… but let’s just assume he only lives in the US, when he travels, he stays in a HOTEL, which is the point of this thread. I am not trying to fight the points you are trying to make, you just are not playing a very strong hand, if you are looking for a study on urine content in shared toiletries… And if you dont believe that these people are out there, then you are just naive. If you believe they are only in the US, then you are prejudice. You want proof? its me. next Marriott i go to, i am going to pee in the bottle. there is your trend. pro tip??? don’t even consider the moisturizer brotha.

        • Again, evidence?
          Also, you just went “full crazy” to become the person you say you hate, just so you could…contradict some guy online you’ve never met before. Is this the world we’re living in?
          Why did I say “just the US”? Because other places have been doing this for years, and people are arguing that US brands shouldn’t follow suit. It’s statistically relevant.
          My entire point is that you’re claiming these things happen on the regular, but you have no evidence of it. If we’re going to avoid something happening, there needs to be proof of this thing we’re avoiding. Show me. Otherwise, I don’t see your point, unless you’re going to go on a crime spree just to be able to say “told you so.” I recommend not.

  4. People get into the shower in an unclean manner. They take a shower to get clean. They are touching these disgusting bottles with the dirt and bacteria of their privates. I positively 100% do not believe that these things are wiped down with anti-bacterial soap and/or wipes, or even wiped down at all for that matter. Touching the rather disgusting bacteria-laced bottles after so many others have with filthy hands covered in dirt and even fecal matter is stomach turning. For what? Don’t give me this whole ‘it’s for the environment’ thing. It’s not. It’s 100% for cost cutting. This as they charge destination fees, resort fees, service fees, and even more. All the while reducing their own costs and continuously devaluing their product and rewards program. (Gold is now 100% useless.)

    A top tier resort with these dirty bottles covered in nasty bacteria and goodness knows what else is a reason to patronize another hotel chain. I was top tier with Marriott for years, but left for Hilton and haven’t looked back once.

    • You’re telling me that the soap bottles make me dirtier after I use them than before I used them, because someone else has touched it. Is there any evidence for that? If there were, I wager these soap bottles would be banned from public restrooms where we’ve accepted them for years. Now, you’re telling me that a shower, where even fewer people have access to them than a public restroom, is somehow contaminating me, and I’m better off not taking a shower. This is Twilight Zone material. I want evidence.

  5. The change to optional housekeeping has unfortunately meant that housekeeping staff arrive at work hoping to work a full day so they can earn enough money to provide for their families only to find out that they will be sent home early because their services were declined for 250 points. I will always request daily housekeeping. I will also try to avoid chains that insist on community toiletries. It’s so unsanitary and hotels could easily provide waste cans in their guest rooms to recycle (some already do). If people are going to take small toiletry containers home, they can just as easily do so with removable larger ones and then they would be no more inclined to recycle those than they would the smaller containers, creating potentially more waste. I will try to avoid hotels providing community toiletries in the future. Sometimes the big picture is bigger than it might at first seem to be.

    • Are there any stats to this theory that people skipping room service (let’s be honest, it can’t be a majority of people) means housekeepers are sent home early, thus earning less pay?
      Are there any stats to this being unsanitary? Nearly all of Europe doesn’t use these single-use items people are obsessed with in the US, and I’ve never seen a single stat to back up this ‘unsanitary’ claim.
      Are there any stats to these theories?

  6. I feel just the opposite. This is a big loser for the guest. The only winners are the Marriott bean-counters. My experiences with these common, refillable containers has been less than great. Don’t even get me started on the sanitary issues with this concept. I might put up with them at an $89/Springhill, but not at a $500/nite St. Regis IMHO. In the weeks after the announcement, this Marriott Titanium is taking my business to Hilton and Hyatt.

    • What sanitary issues are there? I’ve lived in multiple countries, and only the US has this idea that refillable things like a ketchup bottle on the table or refillable shampoo at a hotel are unsanitary. If large amounts of other countries can figure out how to not die from germs here, I think Americans can. If there’s an actual stat that these are unsanitary, I’ve never seen it.

      • come on now… some crazy can easily pee in the refillable shampoo bottle… i mean you are already pants-less… it would take far more effort to pee in the ketchup on the table. ‘lived in multiple countries’, big deal.

        • Why did I point out I’ve lived in multiple countries? To show that numerous other countries already do this, and they don’t have a “pee in the shampoo” trend in any of those places. In order to argue that this is the problem we’re combating, you need to argue that these other countries have figured out how to avoid this but the US can’t. No one is spitting in ketchup bottles and no one is peeing in the shampoo in all of Europe, where this is already standard practice. I fail to see how the US would uniquely have this problem.

    • +1

      If Marriott actually cared about the environment, they’d put their products in biodegradable containers. Instead, they install locker room containers, which shows that this has zero to do with environmental concerns and everything to do with worsening the customer experience to save money. I’d be less unhappy if they were just upfront that they were hosing the customer to be cheap.

      • OK, so if it’s not a pure enough intention, the environmental benefits don’t count? Maybe it cuts their costs, sure. I’m happy it has environmental benefits.

        • My issue isn’t that this inadvertently offers environmental benefits. It’s that Marriott intentionally degrades the customer experience to be cheap, then lies to everyone that they’re showing great ecological stewardship. It’s the lying that gets me, not the ecological considerations. I really hate euphemisms and other lies. Just give it to us straight.

          • How does this degrade the customer experience? To argue that this degrades the customer experience, we have to argue either that those bottles are somehow hampering my hotel stay or argue that wasting is the only way to provide a good experience.
            I don’t follow this claim that this change “intentionally degrades the customer experience” because I don’t see the degradation (please explain) or that Marriott knows it’s a degradation and “intentionally” chose to employ it.
            The claims here don’t add up.

          • I don’t consider moving from personal toiletries to locker room toiletries that are often not secure to be anything but a downgrade. For it to be neutral or better, Marriott could simply use biodegradable materials for single use. They choose not to because their concerns are strictly fiscal. You don’t accidentally make decisions, so therefore Marriott is deciding this intentionally.
            Your point seems to be that either you don’t see a major difference or that ecological benefits outweigh the downgrade. I believe I see your point and respect your opinion, but don’t agree. Let them do something that costs them more money rather than less and I’ll cheerfully agree that I was wrong about this just being Marriott being cheap again.

          • But how is this a downgrade? What about your visit to a hotel suffers here? The hotel experience goes down because ______ ?

          • 99% of everything in a hotel room isn’t personalized and is subject to tampering. I don’t buy that as an argument for intentionally degrading customer experience.

        • OK, but my point is that your argument isn’t consistent. “it’s not personalized” but 99% of the things in the room aren’t personalized. “I think it downgrades the experience” but can’t show how, other than the idea that it downgrades the experience. I think your point is basically just “I don’t like it”, and I’d accept that response much better than reasoning that’s inconsistent and attempts facts without support of any. Just say you don’t like it. I find that more honest.

          • I still don’t understand the logic on how this worsens your experience, but I at least get that it’s just a personal preference, not something beyond.

  7. It’s all about virtue signaling and saving themselves money. A good example is I stayed at a Renaissance hotel in Denver 2 weeks ago. They still had the little bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Granted I don’t have a lot of hair but I used them in the hotel and then took them home and have used them off and on for the past 2 weeks. I’m just running out and I won’t go throw the little plastic bottles in the ocean and I won’t go toss them at random sea lions or whatever picture gets promoted. They will go to recycling. The added benefit for Marriott is I had fond memories of my nice stay at this hotel for the past couple of weeks off and on when I used the product.

      • So if it’s not ‘real change for the right reasons’, then it doesn’t matter that it helps the environment? The reasoning isn’t altruistic enough, ergo we shouldn’t do it? I feel like this is a strange argument to make against helping the environment.

        • It does nothing for the environment. As long as plastic bottles aren’t thrown into the ocean or a beach, and they are thrown in the trash, there is no danger. China stopping its massive industrial pollution helps the environment, not banning a tiny plastic bottle.

          • That’s just patently false. Plastics hurt the planet in more ways than just being thrown directly into the ocean.

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