By Simon Hart, National Account Manager at the Professional Division of Miele
On-premise laundry is a growing trend in the hotels sector. Miele’s own research of UK hotels last year showed that as many as 73% of those looking to change their laundry provision were considering increasing use of facilities on site, over outsourcing.
However, for those hotels who already have an on-premise laundry (OPL) in operation, the job isn’t necessarily over! Continual improvement is an important aspect of the effective running of an OPL environment. Equipment will need replacing over time and the growth of the hotel may mean that the OPL needs to expand or change what laundry services it provides.
What’s important is that the OPL delivers optimal value for money but also quality – especially if it is being used to wash bedlinen and towels which are so vital to good service, or even being trusted with guests’ precious items of clothing. There are several considerations to keep in mind when planning an OPL upgrade, from both a cost and quality perspective.
1. Make sure you look at total cost of equipment ownership
If your current laundry equipment is outdated and was paid for a long time ago, on the face of it, a new investment may seem costly. There may be a tendency to base your decision purely on price. However, it is wise to consider the total lifetime costs of the equipment you purchase – how many cycles and typical machine longevity are things to research. Look for evidence from your shortlisted suppliers. Outline what should be considered as part of the cost judgement. It’s also good to think about the environmental impact of the upgrade you have sustainability targets. For example, older equipment will invariably run longer programmes using more energy, and is also likely to be less water efficient.
2. Consider the impact that laundry quality has on service
New equipment brings new opportunities to improve quality and service for your guests. Your older equipment may have limited functions and technologies and things could well have moved on significantly in the years since that purchase was made. Considering that bedding and bedlinen is a key aspect of the guest experience it’s important to consider how you can optimise the quality and cleanliness of linens. Use your upgrade as an opportunity to build in better processes.
3. Ensure you do reliability checks and comparisons
Running an OPL means you must take responsibility for the equipment and its upkeep. For some this may be an area of dissatisfaction, exacerbated by long repair delays, such as waiting for spare parts. Make sure you consider servicing and repair options carefully during the upgrade process. This is as important as the choice of equipment itself.
In smaller hotels and guest houses, an OPL may have started life using domestic equipment. However, this comes with many potential issues, including short equipment lifecycles, longer laundry cycle times, noise and higher breakdowns due to machine quality. If the breakdown of domestic equipment is one of the reasons for the upgrade, consider moving to commercial machines which alleviate these challenges.
5. Consider best use of space
Hotels rightly see guest facilities as the priority so they will want to keep laundry space to a minimum, if possible. Consideration should therefore be made around machine footprint, which can still be small if using specially designed commercial machines such as Miele’s Little Giants. When upgrading your OPL or replacing its equipment it might seem like a smart move to get a ‘bargain’ on less expensive machines. However, the costs of frequent breakdowns, repairs, emergency outsourced laundry and replacement will come at a greater cost to the business with a potential backlash on service quality. Equally, OPL improvements are an opportunity to rethink how and where you run your OPL within the hotel and find the right equipment to match the space you choose. Selecting machines of higher quality with better specifications can help to reduce run time, complete bigger loads, increase staff efficiency and ultimately improve guest experience.