Troubleshooting Hotel Linen Loss & Damage

hotel-linen-loss-damageAll good things must come to an end – including hotel linen – but what happens when your luxury hotel bedding, towels and pool towels leave too soon?

Some loss is inevitable and expected, but if your property is plagued by premature loss or damage, figuring out the cause can be a mystery.

Before you call in Sherlock Holmes, here are some troubleshooting tips to consider for hotel loss and damage.

Your Towels Grow Legs

This first cause is the most obvious, and during the high leisure travel season, it’s the most likely. Magically, your towels grow legs and walk off for a glamorous new life as a souvenir. While preventing this type of loss is nearly impossible, some properties have had luck with a sign in guest rooms that goes something like this:

“We appreciate that you, our honored guests, love our luxury linens, towels and bathrobes as much as we do. If you choose not to leave them for other guests to enjoy, we’ll be happy to charge your debit or credit cards upon checkout.”

Are you really going to charge them? Probably not. Are there guests who won’t believe you and will see taking your goods as a challenge? Absolutely. But is it worth it to try and deter the ones who won’t be so sure? It’s worth a go.

Not Enough Cleaning Rags

If your towels are coming back from your commercial laundry service stained, damaged or degraded, before you call to read them the riot act, take a closer look at your linens as they’re leaving your property. The damage might be happening on your end.

Do your towels smell like the cleaning chemicals housekeeping uses? Are there marks that indicate they’ve been used for cleaning? If you haven’t provided your housekeeping staff with enough rags or cleaning cloths, they’re going to turn to whatever is available to help them turn rooms, and that includes your guest towels.

If you can’t catch your linens before they leave the property, arrange to meet them at the laundry plant, where you and your laundry service provider can assess the damage together.  

Chemical Imbalance

The best way to figure out what’s damaging your linen is to rule things out, and one culprit to get an alibi for is the chemical makeup in the washers of your on-premise laundry or your commercial laundry service.

Bringing on a consultant or testing experts who specializes in laundry chemical makeup is worth the expense to make sure you’re getting everything right.

Not Enough Pars

If you feel as if you’re replacing worn-out linens at a rapid rate, it could be that you’re overtaxing your hotel linen stock. If you don’t have the recommended number of pars – four – you’re running the risk of shortening your overall linen lifecycle.

Linens need to rest between uses to fully recover from the high heat and rigors of the laundry process. Sending them back out for service before they’re ready means you won’t get as many uses from them as you could, and that means you aren’t maximizing your investment.

Linens Aren’t Up to the Task

If you have enough pars and you’re rotating your stock appropriately, it could just be that your linens aren’t up to what you’re asking of them.

This could be true if you’ve recently gotten new commercial laundry equipment onsite or if you’ve switched to a commercial laundry service. The fact is that older linens may not be able to withstand your new processes.

Or it could be that you didn’t get the right kind or quality of hotel linens to begin with. For instance, properties generally have the best luck and highest lifecycle with domestically manufactured sheets made of preshrunk, high-quality cotton.

Anything else, and you’re risking a smaller linen inventory and a larger rag pile.

Mystery: Solved

Accurately deducing what’s causing hotel linen loss and damage not only positions your property to stop it quickly, it gives you the chance to prevent it in the future. Not every problem will require outside intervention, but it’s important to recognize the ones that do. And the part you and your staff can play in a long and happy life with your linens.