Hotel linens are everywhere – bed sheets, pillowcases, bath/pool/spa towels, tablecloths, cloth napkins and more – and cleaning them effectively is a very important task.
Regardless of room count or brand, hotels share certain objectives – to run at peak efficiency, reduce operating costs and raise guest satisfaction to cultivate customer loyalty. This is especially true when it comes to the laundry operation. Although not customer-facing, it is just as important as every other department property-wide.
The ability to efficiently clean linens impacts hotel productivity and profitability, as well as guest satisfaction. When bed linens aren’t fresh or housekeeping takes too long to complete a service, guests are unsatisfied. Additionally, a shortage of linens, such as bath or pool towels, will adversely affect guests’ experience.
Re-imagine the role of the laundry operation within the entire hotel scheme. Equipment that is not running properly will produce second-rate work, no matter how great a team of employees is. It will also affect the hotel’s profitability. Anything below-standard will not generate valued customer loyalty.
Here are five tips to ensure your laundry operation is performing at peak efficiency.
#1 Properly Train Staff To Bolster Laundry Operation
Ensuring a property is outfitted with commercial-grade laundry equipment is crucial, but it’s just part of the equation for driving productivity. Training staff on how to properly use that equipment and understand its benefits helps a hotel run as efficiently as possible.
For a streamlined approach to employee training, hotels are encouraged to outline benchmarks, operational standards, procedures and checklists. Having such measures and resources in place allows hotels to swiftly educate new employees. Procedures to consider include weighing linens before washing to see if more towels can be added to reach maximum capacity, paying attention when selecting settings and cycles on manual machines and making sure there is a comprehensive understanding of machines with advanced controls.
Providing a hotel team with the resources to achieve professional excellence directly enhances a property’s productivity.
#2 Partner With An Experienced Distributor Network
The company you keep in your business makes a tremendous difference to your yield and profitability. A smart partnership makes a hotel property stronger.
The right laundry distributor network – one that is experienced, factory trained and committed to clients long after the initial sale of equipment – can provide comprehensive services and support for all of a hotel’s laundry needs, whether machines are new or old. For example, UniMac® laundry manufacturer’s distributor network includes a team of service technicians with over 4,500 combined years of experience. They can source genuine replacement parts through the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) at competitive prices to ensure optimum equipment efficiency. The distributors can also assist hotel clients with establishing an effective training program, providing qualified technicians and recommending the right equipment mix to meet unique on-premises laundry (OPL) needs.
The demands of running an OPL operation require the combination of high-quality equipment, a knowledgeable hotel team and the support of an experienced distributor network. Working with a distributor who understands a hotel’s individual needs will ensure that the OPL facility is performing at peak efficiency to ultimately increase the bottom line.
#3 Be Proactive With Preventative Maintenance
Benjamin Franklin’s wise words – “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – has stood the test of time. Preventive measures taken to ensure the longevity of a hotel’s laundry equipment are essential when overall guest satisfaction depends on an efficient and thorough laundry operation. Machines must be maintained to produce the best wash and dry of linens and extend the life of the equipment.
Preventive procedures include daily wiping down of the door seals of washer-extractors to remove dirt and grime, checking all visible hoses, removing lint from tumble dryers and checking for debris, such as remote controls, silverware and toiletries that get entangled with linens.
Conducting preventative maintenance can also help avoid costly repairs and equipment downtime. The answer is clear – address a smaller issue before it turns into something larger.
#4 Know When To Replace Equipment
Don’t wait for equipment to break down before replacing it. When the laundry operation is not running as it’s supposed to, the impact is felt immediately throughout the entire hotel. A lack of quality service, such as delayed completion of housekeeping services, no pool or spa towels or a shortage of napkins in the restaurant, will impact customer satisfaction.
Although equipment replacement might seem like a large financial commitment up front, the monetary rewards, thanks to utility efficiencies and increased staff productivity, are quite substantial. Following an asset management evaluation, TMI Hospitality, which has 180 properties in its portfolio, realized that investing in a single new UniMac tumble dryer would pay for itself in approximately 10 months of operation and that washer-extractors would add more savings to their bottom line -- up to nearly $1,793 in annual water-related costs and over $3,800 in yearly gas and labor charges.
#5 Use Factory-Certified Trained Technicians
When a hotel is experiencing problems with its laundry equipment, it’s crucial to seek out the assistance of a factory-certified technician, one who has been trained by the equipment manufacturer.
Factory-trained service technicians deliver prompt, professional service and possess in-depth knowledge about the product. Working with a trained technician will also ensure that laundry equipment is serviced quickly, professionally and to the right specifications.
Machines repaired by accredited technicians can also boost labor efficiency. It is estimated that equipment costs reflect between eight and 12 percent of a hotel’s total laundry budget, and labor represents 45 to 50 percent of the budget. Machines with advanced controls that are serviced by factory-trained technicians allow staff to retrieve machine service logs, receive error notifications, assess performance reports and monitor output during high-occupancy periods.
Hotels that use high-quality, industrial-strength equipment can reduce expenses by saving on water usage and gas consumption, and can also boost labor efficiencies to record levels. The cycle is continuous – wash, rinse, dry, repeat – so the time is now to implement a smart, strategic laundry solution that elevates a hotel’s entire operation.