The Rise of Lobby Markets and Unattended Retail

Transforming Hospitality: The Rise of Lobby Markets and Unattended Retail


At Boost inc, we believe that an empty lobby isn’t just uninviting—it’s a missed opportunity.

Today, we’re seeing a transformation, where hotel lobbies evolve into vibrant, engaging spaces that do more than just welcome guests. They’re becoming centres of convenience and personalisation, powered by automated solutions like lobby markets. This isn’t just a change; it’s a revolution in hospitality, enhancing guest satisfaction and reducing operational costs.

The End of the Minibar Era

As the Washington Post article recently claimed “The death of the hotel minibar” isn’t just a bold claim—it’s a reflection of changing consumer preferences and the evolution of guest needs. Traditional minibars offer limited choices and high prices, which no longer align with what modern travellers want. They seek variety, affordability, and accessibility—qualities perfectly encapsulated in new lobby market solutions. With industry studies showing that 96% are investing in contactless technology and recognize the cost benefits of lobby markets, and 73% of guests prefer hotels with self-service options, the shift is not just logical but necessary.

The Power of Self-Service Technology

A significant trend highlighted by the recent Oracle Hospitality and Skift study, “Hospitality in 2025: Automated, Intelligent… and More Personal,” underscores the growing demand for self-service technology in the hospitality industry:

Traveller Preferences for Self-Service Technology:

  • 73% prefer using their mobile device for hotel management tasks like check-in/out, payments, and ordering food.
  • 73% are more inclined to stay at hotels with self-service tech to minimise contact.
  • 38% desire a fully self-service model, with staff available only upon request.
  • 39% want to order room service via phone or chatbot.
  • 49% seek contactless payment options, with only 5% interested in crypto payments.

These insights were gathered from a survey of 5,266 consumers and 633 hotel executives worldwide in the spring of 2022.

Boost inc’s Innovative Solutions

At Boost inc, we’re not just participants in this industry shift; we’re leaders. Our range of automated retail technologies is setting new standards in the market:

  • Smart Vending Machines: Designed for high-traffic needs, offering fresh, quality selections.
  • Micro Market checkout terminals: A blend of traditional and digital retail, providing a seamless shopping experience.
  • Smart Refrigerators and Freezers: Ensuring that fresh food is always at hand.
  • Coffee to Go: Customised coffee experiences that keep guests coming back.

These technologies are more than conveniences; they’re part of a larger commitment to innovation and sustainability—a commitment that sees us continuously pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in automated retail.

24/7 Hospitality. Simple.

Minishops, lobby/micro markets, or smart vending machines serve as the perfect extension of hotel guest services. These unattended solutions are completely modular and can be tailored to fit any brand, providing round-the-clock service without the constraints of traditional setups or the complexities of modern alternatives. Driven by technology and design, they place customers at the forefront, transforming idle spaces into engaging guest experiences and profitable centres.

Why Choose Minishops/Lobby Markets?

  • Enhance revenue and profit margins with complementary offerings.
  • Offer 24/7 guest satisfaction without needing extra staff.
  • Retain full control over product offerings and pricing.

A New Lease on Hospitality

The integration of our technologies in hotel lobbies is breathing new life into these spaces. Imagine a lobby that not only welcomes you with aesthetic appeal but also offers a 24/7 minishop where you can grab a delicious snack or a fresh latte from a barista coffee station. These are not futuristic fantasies but realities we’re creating in hotels around the world.

Lobby markets are designed to be more than just food stops; they’re experiences that reflect the unique character of each hotel, enhancing brand identity and guest satisfaction. They also address a crucial industry challenge—labour shortages—by providing reliable service during off-peak hours without the need for additional staff.

Sustainable and Smart

At Boost Inc., sustainability is key. Our automated solutions reduce costs, waste, and carbon footprints. Our partnership with Hofmann’s in Germany shows how smart freezers offer premium, sustainable meals with minimal waste. Additionally, our software optimizes inventory based on real-time demand, supporting efficient and guest-focused service.

The Pros and Cons of Unattended Retail Solutions

Choosing the right unattended retail solution for a hotel can be tricky. Let’s break down the pros and cons of smart vending machines and micro markets.

Smart Vending Machines


  • Versatile Placement: Can be set up virtually anywhere, making them super convenient for guests.
  • Space-Saving: They don’t require much room.
  • Plug & Play: Easy to set up and manage, with the option to outsource entirely or manage in-house for extra revenue.


  • Less Selection: Inventory is usually restricted to 80 SKUs
  • Sanitation Needs: Require frequent cleaning of commonly touched surfaces, especially in our post-pandemic world.


Micro Markets


  • Variety: Can stock a wide range of items, both refrigerated and non-refrigerated.
  • Fresh Options: Offers guests access to fresh foods.
  • Comprehensive Offering: Can include food, beverages, sundries, and even gift or tourist items.
  • Cost-Efficient: Unattended micro markets don’t add extra salary costs when outsourced.
  • Flexible: Tech and equipment can fit even small spaces.
  • Revenue Stream: Can be outsourced to save costs or managed in-house to generate extra revenue.
  • Payment Flexibility: Guests can use traditional payment methods, making the process seamless and quick.


  • Space Requirements: Takes up more space than vending machines, though new tech can help reduce this.
  • Management Needs: Self-managed options require a significant investment in time and salaries for planning, stocking, and inventory management.
  • Theft Risk: Higher risk of loss due to theft if proper security measures and smart technology aren’t in place.

Future-Proofing Hospitality

As we look to the future, the role of technology in hospitality only grows more critical. Lobby markets equipped with our solutions don’t just meet current guest expectations—they anticipate future needs, setting new standards in the industry. They allow hotels to adapt quickly to changing market dynamics and consumer behaviours, ensuring that they are not just keeping up but leading the way in hospitality innovation.

In conclusion, the transformation of hotel lobbies into dynamic, automated, and personalised spaces is not just a trend but a significant shift in the hospitality landscape. At Boost inc, we are proud to lead this change, offering solutions that elevate guest experiences, reduce costs, and enhance operational efficiencies. We invite you to join us in redefining what it means to stay at a hotel, where each visit is not just a stay but a memorable experience.