The cleanliness and quality of hotel laundry can greatly influence a guest’s experience and perception of an establishment. A grand reception or Michelin starred restaurant may seduce a visitor but these high standards must permeate through to the grass roots of a hotel.
Hotel laundry demonstrates the care and attention given to quality and cleanliness across the brand. It is therefore a huge responsibility to decide whether to outsource laundry, to process it ‘in house’ or to do a bit of both.
‘In House’ Hotel Laundry
An ‘in house’ laundry provides the hotelier with greater control over quality and negates paying high rental costs. Savings can be made on washing and purchasing. Having invested in the process, staff may take more care with ‘in house’ linen. Guests could have the option to purchase hotel linen extending the brand to the domestic market. The laundry could operate as a business in its own right providing another revenue stream.
Draw backs of ‘in house’ laundry processing include the buying and accommodation of equipment – could the space be used more effectively for more commercial purposes? Choosing the correct equipment and maintaining it demands some industry knowledge. Staff training costs should be considered, as well as providing a dedicated laundry staff. Doing stock takes and replacing and renewing all damaged linen are the hotelier’s responsibility.
Outsourcing Hotel Laundry
Alternatively, outsourcing hotel laundry may be a more practical option. More specialist equipment can be employed for a quicker turn around and more professional finish. Maintaining and financing new equipment is the responsibility of the provider. Stock takes will be taken on by the provider. Linen is replaced – depending on the agreement with the supplier.
There are however, reasons why outsourcing may not be the desired choice for hoteliers. The quality and choice of linen may not meet the standards of the hotel – time should be factored in by management to ensure quality is maintained. Rental charges may be high. Replacement of damaged or old linen may not be guaranteed and charges for it may be passed on to the hotelier. Abused linen will more than likely be charged for. Staff may not have the same respect for the linen than if they had processed it themselves ‘in house’. The hotelier will have little control over ethical or environmental factors of laundry processing apart from the initial choice of the particular provider.
If outsourcing laundry, it is important to choose a provider wisely and ensure that requirements are met in the contract. These requirements should be regularly reviewed by the hotelier and renegotiated if the terms of the contract are not being met or have been compromised. It is advisable to speak to pre-existing customers in order to gauge a laundry’s reputation and quality.
The decision to process laundry ‘in house’ or to outsource it is of course down to the individual hotelier or hotel chain and this decision depends heavily on costs, stock, accommodation, quality control factors and environmental and ethical considerations. The other option is to combine ‘in house’ laundry and outsourcing to suit the hotelier’s specific requirements and resources.