According to a Washington Post article, the rescession resulted in changes to what consumers became accustomed to in their hotel room. Many chains put the brakes on bountiful in-room accouterments. Suddenly, shampoo was in, conditioner was out and the bath gel and shampoo combo appeared in many showers. And forget about needle and thread and shoe mitts.

Now, though, the hotel business is reviving as people start to travel again and the competition for guests is fierce. By offering new and varied extras in their rooms, hotels are differentiating themselves from each other.

As stated in the article, hotel guests are like celebrities: They love their swag. And not just any swag, but brand-name swag. Which is why the Marriotts and Hyatts of the world have stopped tagging their toiletries with their own names in favor of L’Occitane, Molton Brown and other spa lines. Even midrange and boutique hotels have gotten into the act. Guests can get blissful with Bliss products at Starwood’s Aloft hotels and others. Bath and Body Works work their magic at the newly renovated Holiday Inns. Morgans Hotel Group boasts Apothia products.

“People have more trust in a product that they may be somewhat familiar with,” said Prem Devadas, president of Salamander Hospitality, which owns several hotels. “When you put your logo on the bottle, they don’t know what the product is.”

Not that there’s always an unlimited supply of these aromatic delights.

“In the early ’90s, the bathroom was full of stuff,” said Lara Weiss, global director for sales for K Hotels, a marketing company representing independently owned hotels worldwide. “You almost had too much of it. Travelers just put it in their purse. It was an expense.”

Some boutique hotels, such as the Affinia Liaison Capitol Hill, now put their shampoo and conditioner in dispensers attached to the shower wall. “It clearly presents cost savings in a hotel and also leads to a reduction in the amount of waste,” said Jeff Gurtman, vice president of strategy for Dana Communications in Hopewell, N.J., a marketing agency for several global hotel chains.

Also, don’t always expect a bathtub. The powers-that-be have ruled that travelers, especially business travelers, don’t have time for a soak in the bubbles. At the Tryp by Wyndham brand’s first hotel in New York, set to open this summer, three-quarters of the rooms will have only showers with European-style hand-held shower heads.

While fancier bath products have made their way into the hotel room, shower caps, sewing kits, mouthwash, shoe mitts, shoehorns and other “nonessential” items are making an exit. But here’s a secret: They haven’t left the building. If you call the front desk or housekeeping and ask nicely, someone will probably make a special delivery to your room.

Usually, you can get what you need for free, but some hotels charge for certain products. Kimpton Hotels, for instance, has a “Forgot it? We’ve Got It” program. Many items, such as toothpaste, a sewing kit, a hairdryer, a curling iron and a humidifier (even fashion tape?!) are free. Others, inexplicably, are not. Mouthwash, a nail file, nail clippers and dental floss will set you back $2. Deodorant and hair spray will cost you $3.

Continue reading this article and learn about changes in minibars and how technology is taking over guest rooms.