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How Can RFID Help to Improve Hotel Minibar Operation?
Can the technology increase productivity?
It would be possible to put a passive high-frequency (HF) transponder on the bottom of each bottle and item within a minibar and then install an RFID reader in the unit, with a separate antenna under each area where an item was placed. If a guest picked up an item, its tag would no longer be read. If he or she then put it back, the tag would again be read. This setup would be superior to systems that charge a guest as soon as an item is picked up, even if a guest decides on a different item and replaces the first.
A company called Minibar Solutions makes an RFID-enabled Minibar. The company claims that the unit lowers labor costs by 50 percent, while also enabling a user to capture revenue that is often lost if a guest checks out without being charged for a minibar purchase.
Incidentally, I have noticed that many hotels in the United States are eliminating minibars due to the labor involved and the amount of lost revenue from failing to charge guests. RFID just might save the minibar.
—Mark Roberti, Founder and Editor, RFID Journal
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