Making Linen Laundry a Seamless Part of Hotel Operations

iStock-622914836-074401-edited.jpgAs anyone in charge of hotel operations knows, the heart of your property’s success is what happens behind the scenes, such as your linen laundry systems.

If all goes well in OPL hotels, or hotels with on property laundry, guests will never give a second thought to the people and processes that make your luxurious hotel sheets and fluffy towels possible – and it’s up to you to keep it that way.

All while making sure your laundry operation is well integrated into your overall hospitality facilities management approach. You can’t afford any disconnects between what goes on upstairs in guest rooms and downstairs in the laundry.

With the impact on guest experience in mind, here are five steps and hotel housekeeping tips for making linen laundry a seamless part of hotel operations.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open

Communications is so important to seamless operations that it earned first place on the list. Good hospitality communications isn’t just about the right two-way radio network or workforce management system, it’s about breaking down silos that form among departments and gathering as much data as possible.

For staff, that means periodic opportunities to bring different groups of employees together to talk about concerns, surface patterns that can be addressed through training and foster understanding and collaboration.

For guest satisfaction in hotels, it means gathering feedback before, during and after their stays. Open-ended prompts for input from staff let guests know that their opinions and experiences matter, both along the way and at checkout.

Nipping a situation in the bud while the guest is still onsite also ensures that the first time you hear about it isn’t in your customer satisfaction questionnaire for hotels. Depending on what the issue is, your property may even earn points for your expert handling of the situation.

Don’t Skimp on Training

Delivering world-class service to your guests begins with creating world-class training for your staff, no matter what role they play in your hotel operations.

Your front desk agents make your property’s first impression on guests, but it’s the work of the housekeeping and laundry staff who help determine how guests feel about the rest of their stay. Lavishing training attention on the front of the house and offering only quick walkthroughs of equipment and procedures to the laundry staff won’t do you any favors in the long run.

Everyone should understand the role they play in the guest experience to give them context for why what they do is so important. Laundry staff who have received some hotel customer service training will be better positioned – and motivated – to handle linens with care.

And housekeeping staff who are educated about the damage that can be done and the time lost when they cut corners on checking bedding for glassware and other non-linen items will understand why successfully completing your hotel housekeeping checklist is so important.

New employee orientation and solid training are golden opportunities to set the stage for how staff can meet the standards you’ve set, so it’s key not to skimp on them. Ongoing refresher training keeps the information top-of-mind and allows for the addressing of performance or quality concerns.

Make Sure Staff Have What They Need to Do Their Jobs

Your goal is to create and keep a seamless connection between your linen laundry and the rest of your property, leading to decreased disruptions and increased productivity. One obvious but often overlooked way to keep things running smoothly is diligent inventory management.

You should know at any given time what hotel cleaning products are on hand and when you should plan to order them again. And that goes for everything from the commercial laundry detergent in your OPL to the cleaning rags used by your housekeeping staff.

If you don’t want housekeeping staff to use your precious guest-facing linens for cleaning – trust us, you don’t – you’ll need to keep them well stocked with the right materials. Not exposing guest linens to harsh cleaning chemicals will lengthen their lifecycle and reduce the amount you’re sending to the rag pile.

The same goes for the time that staff are allotted to complete certain tasks, whether it’s turning rooms or folding towels. Meeting and exceeding the high standards of you and your guests takes time, and your policies should reflect as much.

Have Enough Pars

Another key to a happy marriage between your on property laundry and the rest of your operations? Thoughtful par level management.

Having enough linens on hand at all times manages the ebb and flow of guests and keeps everyone happy: you, your staff and your guests.

For par level bliss, the magic number is four:

  • One in use the guest room
  • One in climate-controlled storage protected from harsh conditions or chemicals
  • One on its way to the laundry room or laundry service
  • One being cleaned

Shut Down Your OPL Once and For All

The most efficient and cost-effective way to achieve optimal laundry seamlessness is to remove it from your hotel operations altogether.

Letting large-scale commercial laundry services handle your linens frees up time, space and resources. You’ll not only outsource the tasks themselves, you’ll shift the burden of worrying about laundry chemicals, commercial laundry machine maintenance and ever-increasing utility costs.

Commercial services are in the business of operating as efficiently as possible, and your property benefits as they pass those savings on to you.

The right commercial laundry service partner will make sure that you and your staff are well prepared for the transition by offering upfront and ongoing training, regular service visits and the building of a strong relationship.

Get Started Today

Seamless hotel operations won’t happen overnight, and these tips are intended to deliver both short- and long-term gains. Putting even one or two into action can make a big difference.

Action items to keep in mind:

  • Schedule a staff all-hands meeting
  • Revise your customer satisfaction questionnaire
  • Form a training task force to overhaul your orientation
  • Do a full inventory of your cleaning supplies – and pars
  • Schedule a consultation with a commercial laundry service