From their overall experience of staying in a hotel, linen leaves a long lasting impression on guests. This makes the laundry department of any hotel responsible for ensuring the linen used for bedding or bathroom is spick and span, by managing the linen supply in-house or getting it outsourced or a mixture of both. Lucky are those housekeepers that get an onsite laundry system, which enables them to service their guests in a short span of time. Such a setup also allows them to have better control over the inventory of linen and towels. However, this advantage comes with the added responsibility of managing such operations diligently and in an eco-friendly manner to avoid wastage of chemicals, energy and labour. Here’s how you can avoid the mess with an in-house laundry department.
An inadequate linen stock will result in a longer turnaround time while cleaning up a room, which usually leads to the guests waiting in the lobby and consequently leaving a negative feedback. Besides, linen shortages take its toll on the quality of the linen, too. It is always advisable for the linen to rest for 24 hours between being washed and put again to use on the bed or in the bathroom. Too many washing cycles in a too short timespan will result in faster wear and tear. Fringed towels need to be sorted out, which again will reduce the linen par in circulation.
Having the staff entering the guest room twice in order to replenish missing linen is just extra work, which can be spend in a better way; checking rooms for example. It is advised that with a laundry in-house, three par linen in circulation should be fine. On the other hand while getting the laundry outsourced 3.5 par linen should be available.
Efficiency is the key in any operation. Ensure that you revisit the operating procedures from time to time and adjust them according to the business needs. Proper communication with the departments, which are serviced through the laundry is a must. Knowing in advance the occupancy to expect and the functions taking place in the banquets and restaurants is of importance too.
Needless to say, any breakdowns in the laundry equipment of an in-house set up will end up disrupting the entire hotel’s operations. For instance, being unable to wash, dry or iron your laundry can be an expensive error as the front office team will not be able to check guests into a clean room. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to have a preventive maintenance programme in place and adequate spare parts handy. Also, always avoid overloading the machines to avert unnecessary damages and expensive restoration exercises.
Ensuring the laundry equipment is Energy Star rated is certainly worth the while, since returns on such investments could be as quick as after three to five years of the purchase. Using the last rinse water from the previous cycle for the next washing cycle (pre-wash) is certainly worth investing in. Low temperature washing will save water, energy and time. Finally, take some time to speak to your laundry chemical suppliers, they can give you valuable insights into how to be more economical with your water and energy consumption.
About the Author: Tatjana Ahmed is the Chairwoman of the UAE Professional Housekeepers’ Group. She is also the Housekeeping Manager, Grand Hyatt Dubai and a Functional Specialist with the group.