Meanwhile, there has been a surge in last-minute booking, exacerbating the volatility of the market – and making it nigh on impossible to predict requirements for linen. The combination of staffing issues and irregular capacity is adding to the problems laundries are facing.
On a positive note, Kevin Godley of Clean noted that laundries are better prepared this year than they had been in summer 2021, when business went from zero to 100% almost overnight. However, he added a proviso: “Success this summer will only be achieved if laundries and hotels work together in partnership to overcome these ongoing challenges of irregular occupancies, recruitment shortages and availability of linen.”
It was agreed that better communications between laundries and hotels could help reduce the issue of sharp peaks and fast declines in linen requirements. However, there may be a need to invest in more linen – as one delegate pointed out, for a hotel, the cost of investment is likely to be less than the cost if they had no linen.
Sustainability is an ongoing issue and one that hotels and laundries must tackle together. TSA’s ‘Infinite Textiles’ scheme, which looks to extend the life of linens and then recycle instead of sending them to landfill, was welcomed by the hospitality industry. Meanwhile there was also consensus to move away from single use plastic to wrap clean linens: with discussions well underway, the initiative is expected to be agreed shortly.
Another question brought to the table was, should there be set sizing for linen? Currently there are very different types and sizes of linen, depending either on what the hotel wants or what the laundries supply. Would a simplified bedlinen sizing structure help? It was agreed that the topic would be investigated further at the next Round Table.
“The Round Table discussions were candid, sincere and have moved us forward,” says David Stevens. “We all agree on the need to work in closer cooperation if we are to survive and thrive. This was round one and it has sown seeds and set up a map for future progress.”
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