The “Hocance” boom stimulates the trade in used hotel equipment

With overseas travel all but wiped out by the pandemic, many Koreans are choosing to splurge on a one or two night stay at a luxury hotel. While trying to make the most of their hotel experiences, from free drinks in a lounge to access to an indoor pool or gym, some even try to recoup some of their expenses by reselling items. toilet.

Yoon, a 33-year-old office worker in Seoul, recently spent a night at Josun Palace, a newly opened upscale hotel in Seoul’s Gangnam district. The first thing she did after entering her room, which costs between 330,000 won ($ 275) and over 500,000 won ($ 420) a night, was to find six miniature bottles with the logo of the house. European luxury brand Byredo.

“I put the goods in a separate bag to keep them neat and clean so that (potential buyers) don’t think they have been used,” she said.

Yoon’s souvenir package from Josun’s Palace, consisting of shampoo, conditioner, face wash, body wash, body lotion, each weighing 40 ml and a bar of soap, was sold for 30,000 won at an online second-hand market Joonggonara.

“A 225 ml of Byredo body lotion sells for between 70,000 and 80,000 won in local department stores, so it was a real bargain,” she said.

A quick search of popular second-hand marketplaces shows that Yoon isn’t the only one exchanging hotel gifts.

The number of ads on Joonggonara selling skin care products in hotels has risen sharply, from 550 in 2019 to 950 in 2021, according to the data.

Lim, a 28-year-old office worker in Daegu, also recently tried reselling hotel toiletries during her frequent business trips to Jeju.

“I travel to Jeju for business five to six times a year. As I stay alone at the hotel, I cannot use all the free care products. Seeing a lot of leftover lotion and shampoo, I think it would be best to sell these high end items online, ”she said.

Some hotels have taken steps to limit giveaways.

Sol Beach Hotels and Resorts in Gangwon Province and South Jeolla Province, for example, do not give out another set of toiletries from cosmetics maker Aveda to guests staying two nights in a row, a declared the chain.

“For customers staying two days in a row, we don’t replace products with new ones on the second day because the first set is enough for two days and some people take them out to sell online,” an official said. of the hotel chain. noted.

Along with the resale trend has been the increasing popularity of “heck” in recent years. Combining the English word “hotel” and the French word for “vacation”, it is a Korean neologism referring to vacations mainly inside a hotel, in the same city or in an other city.

According to Good Choice, a local accommodation and flight booking app operated by Withinnovation, the transaction value of hotel reservations increased 25% last year compared to the previous year.

However, luxury hotel gifts may not be available in the coming months as hotels come under increasing pressure to reduce the use of disposables.

The Environment Department has advised hotels with 50 or more rooms not to offer bath products with plastic packaging from this year, as part of a nationwide campaign to reduce disposables, this year. which led to the ban on the use of paper cups, plastic straws and stirrers. in cafes and other restaurants.

Restrictions on the use of plastic in hotels and other types of accommodation will receive legal support from 2024, as part of the ministry’s plan to revise related laws.

Some hotels have already removed disposable equipment, but many are cautious given the current pandemic conditions.

Lotte Hotel, part of the Lotte Group, has already replaced the recyclable dispensers of hair and body products offered at its L7 and Lotte City hotels in Seoul.

The Shilla Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Seoul and global hotel chain Marriott International also plan to stop offering beauty products in plastic packaging, officials told the Korea Herald.

Starting in late February, every room at the Four Seasons Hotel Seoul will be stocked with toiletries from premium fragrance brand Diptyque in recyclable containers, an official said.

Marriott International said that while it is committed to reducing plastics, it is exercising caution as customers worry about potential virus transmissions via shared items.

“The exact date for the plan’s implementation has not been determined, but (Marriot International) will soon begin removing plastic products from its hotels around the world,” an official said.

By Choi Jae-hee ([email protected])


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