Running A Profitable Laundry Operation for Hotels

 Running A Profitable Laundry Operation for Hotels

In the hospitality industry, there are always two considerations at the forefront: how can I keep costs low, and customer satisfaction high? Almost every business decision in a hotel operations manager’s sphere is directly related to accomplishing these two goals. From sales and scheduling to staffing and maintenance, all decisions must take cost control and customer satisfaction into account.

However, there is one area that you may not have considered that can have a positive impact on both – your guest laundry room. By creating a welcoming, reliable guest laundry room with energy-efficient machines, you can offer a significant amenity to your guests, for far less money than you may think.

To the outside observer, running a laundry business might seem fairly simple: take in dirty laundry, turn out the clean laundry. It’s a simple enough concept, but the reality is that commercial launderers have to do much more than just clean laundry to be really successful.

 Expanding your customer base can be difficult in a business that depends heavily on location. Even if you have an incredibly efficient pick-up and delivery service, your customers are likely still within a certain geographic radius of your facility—leaving you with a pretty finite number of potential customers.

Obviously the first answer to that problem is to open more locations, but that’s not always possible or prudent. Expanding service offerings, however, can be a cost-effective way to both increase revenue from current customers and attract new business. Extra services could include:

  • Pick-up and delivery (if those are not already part of your business)
  • Press and fold
  • Specialty cleaning
  • Rush service
  • Fabric softner for extra care and durability
  • Specialized care for garments & linen with special materials
  • Information to gust or customer of some ‘tips’ for taking care of their personal garments

Find something that you can add without extending your staff or your budget too far and see how it works for you. If the service is high quality, you’ll impress your customer base and create opportunities for new acquisition.

In the laundry industry, it’s always better to be over-prepared, so be sure that your equipment is up-to-date on maintenance and your supply closet is never close to empty. Keep track of when machine warranties run out and look for local repair resources that could help you out in a pinch. In short: Do everything you can to avoid downtime.

Since the laundry equipment and appliances are under constant strain, they are prone to malfunctions, breakdowns, damage and subpar performance due to wear and tear, and if not addressed, that can turn out to be quite a costly problem. Luckily, the solution is simple: regular equipment maintenance and a qualified mechanic on site. This will significantly improve equipment performance and prolong its lifecycle.

Two pieces of equipment are particularly important: the ironer and garment steamer. They are the ones that produce perfectly pressed not towels and sheets for the hotel and clothes for the guests. So, in order to conserve energy, labour time and elude negative feedback from the guests, make sure these two pieces of your laundry equipment operate flawlessly at all times.

Anyone working in a hotel laundry service will say that the most important factor in making everyone’s life easier is maintaining good par level. The only way to avoid shortages and protect your investment in high-quality sheets, linens and towels is to have the right amount at all time. For hotels and resorts, in linen inventory, that number is four. One in the guest room, one in the closet to be used next, one which is dirty and removed to be washed, and one in the laundry.

Therefore, it’s crucial to conduct a regular inventory and even more frequently in a busy season, and be prepared for emergencies and the unexpected. Optimal par levels will significantly reduce stress on your linens, your staff and guests, and you’ll be able to maximize the life span of all the hotel sheets and towels by letting them recover between uses.

Renuke Coswatte

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