All signs point to green. As the rest of the hospitality industry hones in on implementing sustainable initiatives, laundry is doing the same.
“A trend we have seen in laundry is that this area is going green and becoming sustainable,” said Bryan Austin, general manager at The Sebastian Vail, A Timbers Resort. This, of course, makes sense as sustainable products both help save the environment and help cut down on operational costs. But, it’s not just about buying laundry products that cut down on energy use—buying sustainable products is also about the relationship with the guest.
“For example, we have seen a trend of educating guests in sustainability and increasing energy-efficient appliances such as laundry appliances and services,” said Austin.
“In terms of energy efficiency at Timbers’ Castello di Casole, we started the ‘Go Green Program’ to save the environment,” said Federico Galligani, general manager at Castello di Casole, A Timbers Resort, echoing Austin’s sentiments. “This initiative has received a huge recognition among our guests.”
Sustainability also goes hand in hand with another trend that hospitality has committed to—wellness. “There has been a heavy focus on wellness—really focusing on health-conscious travelers and all aspects of health, body and spirit,” said Austin.
Heather Balsley, SVP, Americas brands and marketing with IHG, agreed. “Even Hotels offers a same-day laundry service for guests’ workout gear so they can continue to work out in fresh clothes throughout their stay,” she explained. The service only applies to workout attire. But as hotels continue to add services to address the guest experience, that makes choosing the right laundry equipment even more important.
Matthew Whipple, director of sales, Hyatt House New Orleans/Downtown, pointed out that hotels with extended-stay guests also have to think about how guests use laundry equipment as well. “We are noticing that more family and business travelers are using coin laundry,” Whipple said. “We believe it’s because it is less expensive, convenient and assures timely service.”
Whipple predicts that laundry will fuse with technology in the future, creating an even smoother service. “We can foresee the tracking of your laundry cycle on your smartphone,” he said. “There may be alert messaging letting guests know when their laundry is complete. We also see companies eventually developing one-unit machines that both washes and dries clothes.”
And this also goes for back-of-house operations as well. Jumping on the Internet of Things (IoT), many laundry manufacturers are adding in technology that connects laundry machines to other systems in the hotel, ensuring better operations and efficiency. And, as other tech gets more advanced as well, this will only make the role of the hotel laundry easier.
“The Kempinski focus on enhancing the guest experience extends to even our ability to cater our linen requirements as per specific guest preferences. To ensure this, we typically spend two to three hours a day on daily linen collection and weekly reports,” said Nada Perovic, executive housekeeper at Kempinski Residences and Suites in Doha, which uses Knowcross’ housekeeping app, a platform that recently added a new linen and reporting feature.
“With the new linen feature…we will have the ability to reduce this time and automate the entire process. This will also enable housekeeping to cut down on paper sheets for linen counting and save us valuable time in creating daily/weekly linen reports.” It is estimated that this tech could save a 200-room hotel more than $25,000 per year in linen losses and $40,000-plus per year in direct manpower costs, according to the company.