1 HM: With everything you’ve seen in 2013, how will the hotel industry fare in 2014 in terms of overall operating metrics and profits?
BB: Projections for 2014 forecast a gradual but steady market improvement. However, this slow increase may not be seen by all; properties that are not maintaining quality standards may not experience the same increase in individual metrics.
2 HM: In regard to how you handicap 2014, what specific or significant goals have you set for your company?
BB: We set goals to better match our products to what a specific hotel class might need. For example, we want to make sure that each property class, such as economy or luxury, has a machine that fits its specific needs. Beyond that, UniMac sets goals to help existing hotels increase their productivity and laundry throughout with replacement equipment.
3 HM: Most pundits predict healthy growth for the industry over the next three years, but what out there could upset this optimism?
BB: An increase in luxury or travel taxes has historically caused a decrease for the hospitality business. This is especially true for business travelers who have a set budget and wish to make it extend as far as possible. A rise in taxes may be a concern for individual regions that already have particularly high travel taxes or if there is a planned increase to pay for city improvements. Additionally, there has been a significant increase in investments in the hospitality industry. If the industry were to become less profitable due to an increase in taxes and a decrease in travel, that investment might be redistributed to a different market.
4 HM: Nothing can ruin a hotel stay—or transaction otherwise—more than bad customer service. How do you ensure your teams are delivering the best in guest satisfaction?
BB: The best way to encourage a return trip or to ensure customer satisfaction is personal contact. Additionally, the hospitality industry is constantly conducting guest satisfaction surveys because hotel staff cannot improve what they cannot measure. Specifically, we want to increase guest satisfaction by focusing on improving the most frequent complaint that crops up on those surveys—a poor night’s sleep and dirty or low-quality linens. We provide laundry operators with the tools they need to ensure that they can consistently provide clean bedding while still maintaining linen quality and comfort.
5 HM: As you lay your head down on December 31, what will your perfect industry dream be?
BB: I would like travel to be fun again. The experience is less appealing than it used to be due to long lines, unexpected delays or poor customer service. Increased customer service and attention to detail can play a significant role in reviving and revitalizing the tourism market for generations to come.