Your relationship with your hotel linen service should be a partnership, and a key element of a successful collaboration is accountability. Your service contract should set clear expectations for what they’ll provide, and when things are going well, that contract alone can be enough.
But what happens when something goes awry? If your contract or subsequent conversations don’t clarify what your options are for resolution, you’re more likely to feel frustrated and less likely to feel like you’re taking advantage of all of the benefits of outsourcing.
With that in mind, here are some best practices for holding your hotel linen service accountable.
If You Don’t Already Have a Scale, Ask for One
As we’ve mentioned before when talking about how not to get overcharged by your hotel laundry service, you should be able to track exactly how many dirty pounds you send to be laundered during pickups, as well as how many clean pounds you get back on delivery.
If your laundry vendor doesn’t provide you with an accurately calibrated scale, ask for one. They should also have a weight-monitoring system at their facility to track how much your laundry weighs at each stage of the process to make sure nothing is missing.
Take a Tour of the Laundry Facility
If your linens are coming back stained or damaged and your staff suspects that it’s happening at your laundry service’s plant, the best way to get to the bottom of the problem is to see for yourself.
Follow your linens to the facility or meet them there and monitor the sorting, washing, drying, ironing and folding. You may discover that those stubborn smudges that were attributed to greasy commercial laundry equipment at the plant are really happening because your staff is using your comfy towels for cleaning at your hotel.
Seeing is believing, and you’d be surprised what mysteries can be solved with a laundry facility tour. You’ll be able to watch the sorting process as well as inspect the equipment being used.
Hold Up Your End of the Bargain
Your hotel linen service has responsibilities to make your partnership a smooth one, of course, and so do you and your staff.
Say, based on your plant tour, you discover your staff is using your towels for cleaning. Now that you’ve identified the problem, you’re empowered to solve it. The best solution is to start a robust rag program, yesterday. Provide your staff with an ample supply of eco-friendly or ecologically minded cleaning rags, and they won’t turn to your expensive towels and linens. Since your staff already finds your towels effective, take some worn ones out of circulation and cut them into rags.
Providing cleaning products goes for guests, too. Having a coffee machine in your guest rooms or room service that brings red wine is a great perk, but accidents happen. And if you don’t provide cleaning rags or paper towels in rooms, guests, too, will turn to your towels to mop up messes.
Schedule Regular Meetings Between Your Vendor and Your Staff
Ideally, a service representative from your laundry vendor is onsite every week to check in. While you don’t need all relevant staff in each of those meetings, setting up a regular cadence of gatherings gives everyone a chance to talk about issues, ask and answer questions and build a relationship.
The more comfortable your staff members are with your service rep, the more likely they are to bring up issues quickly so they don’t snowball.
Embracing some of these accountability best practices will not only help strengthen your relationship with your hotel linen service, they’ll help you maximize your investment in outsourcing.