Successfully protecting your hotel linen inventory doesn’t require armed guards or bank vault-level security systems, though you may be tempted.
Experts estimate that hotels can lose 15 to 20 percent of their precious linen inventory every year to premature loss or discards. It doesn’t take long for those losses to add up, meaning literally millions of dollars in waste across the entire industry.
Fortunately, there are best practices for protecting your hotel linen inventory, some of which you and your staff can put into place today.
Start by Investing in Durable Linens
Thanks to ongoing developments in fibers and fabrics, you no longer have to choose between luxury and durability when it comes to your hotel sheets and towels.
New product offerings offer the lushness your guests have come to expect as well as the ability to stand up to repeated laundry handling by hotel laundry equipment.
If you’ve made the savvy switch to a hospitality laundry vendor, you can enlist their help in selecting the best hotel linen supply for your property. They see a lot of linen every day – literally tons every year – and they’ll be most knowledgeable about what will meet your unique needs.
Have an Ample Supply of Cleaning Products for Staff and Guests
If you think your staff and guests wouldn’t dare use your fabulously fluffy towels to sop up spilled coffee or other messes, you’re wrong.
The most effective way to protect your guest linens from prematurely becoming cleaning rags is to provide enough alternatives to both staff and guests. Have a robust ragout program that constantly feeds your housekeeping staff, and consider reusable cleaning materials or sponges in guest rooms, especially if you have in-room kitchens or room service.
Maintain the Recommended Par Levels
If you’re squeaking by with just the right amount of pars, you may think you’re saving money on having to replenish your hotel linen supply, but the truth is that you’re prematurely wearing out your current stock.
Luxury hotel bedding and quality towels need to rest between uses and cycles through commercial laundry equipment. If you don’t give them a break, you’re putting unnecessary strain on the fabric and shortening their lifecycle.
The recommended par level for hotel bed sheets is four:
- One in use in the guest room
- One in climate-controlled storage to be used next
- One dirty that just came out of a room
- One in the laundry
Know When It’s Time to Take Linen Out of Circulation
Sheets and towels that are greying, fraying, irreparably stained or damaged should be pulled out of guest-facing circulation as soon as possible. That’s not just because guests will be less than impressed but because you’re continuing to pay to clean products that have reached the end of their lifecycle.
Make sure your housekeeping staff is trained to keep a watchful eye out for damage and that you have a process for removing stained or damaged materials.
Have a Linen Reclamation Program in Place
Not all stains will doom your sheets and towels to the cleaning rag pile, and if you work with the right laundry vendor, they’ll be able to remove some stains through a separate wash with a specialized commercial laundry detergent to reclaim them.
Have staff isolate stained materials so they can be specially handled before they’re discarded.
Make a Plan to Start Today
Protecting your hotel linen inventory requires an investment in time, money and training resources, but the alternative – premature linen losses – is even more costly.
While some best practices require some lead time to implement, others can be put in place today. The upfront costs will save money in the long run, giving you more to invest in the guest experience.