Design Engineering
Showcase

Rethinking Luxury Soap

Student
Shiv-Rani Mistry
Course
Global Innovation Design
Supervisor
Dr Talya Porat
Theme
Rethinking Resources for a Finite Planet

Optimizing the desirability, feasibility and viability of single use plastic packaging solutions for Luxury Hotel toiletries. Marriott International undertook an initiative ‘to reduce landfill waste by 45%’ by 2025, by replacing single-use toiletry bottles with large soap dispensers, reducing Marriott’s global environmental footprint. Whilst Marriott International’s Select and Long Stay hotel collections have embraced the dispenser scheme, the Premium and Luxury hotel collections have been reluctant plausibly as soap dispensers fail to deliver luxury hospitality to their guests.

Soap dispensers are a feasible solution to single-use plastic toiletries, however fail to be considered luxury, as the solution focuses on the functionality of soap rather than the hotel guests experience, which ought to be the priority in the hospitality industry. Bar soap is another established solution that eliminates single-use plastic wastage and but has not been employed by hotels as guests perceive bar soap as lower value than liquid soap and abnormal to use.

The hospitality industry is human-centric, thus it should be argued that the guest experience should take precedence over sustainability when addressing single-use plastic wastage within hotels. How might we optimise these single-use plastic solutions to be desirable to hotel guests and feasible and viable for hotel operations?

 — Rethinking Luxury Soap
Summary of strategy.

Process

The aim of this project was to develop a strategy to implement bar soap as solution to single-use plastic wastage without negatively impacting the hotel guests luxury experience for all soap brands. A feasibility and viability matrix was produced through examining qualitative interviews with the Back-End employees and user journeys of housekeeping staff to ensure a generated concept would not negatively impact the efficiency of hotel operation.

Likewise, a desirability matrix was established through thematically analysing VIP status hotel guests diary studies, empathy maps and experience journeys. These guests live a lifestyle of continuous travel, where the consumption of luxury value goods or service act as affirmative commodities to protect their self-esteem and sense of belonging needs that are lost through social disconnect. The Luxury Value of a product was determined by its social, individual, functional and financial Value.

Due to the subjective nature of luxury value and desirability, iterations of generated concepts were evaluated against the desirability matrix by user test groups. Concepts that scored highest on the desirability matrix were developed to improve the score on the viability matrix to ensure the concept could be implemented by a hotel.

Outcomes

The outcome is an universal strategy that implements bar soap into luxury hotels, independent of soap brands and materials, as a solution to single-use plastic and soap toiletry packaging wastage. It is proposed that hotels should provide a larger quantity of bar soap, composed on miniature soaps bar of different product ranges from a luxury brand. The strategy changes the perceived value of a basic commodity through addressing price, quality, prestige, hedonic value through luxury branding.

Bar soaps removes the communal aspect of soap dispensers and allows guest to own individual soaps, reintroducing a ‘moment of delight’ hotel guests experience with individual toiletry bottles. The strategy targets both the Belonging and Self-Esteem Needs of VIP status guests, to deliver a luxury experience to guests in Luxury hotels that is scalable to guests of Premium, Select and Long Stay hotels.

 — Rethinking Luxury Soap
Strategy in context.

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