Although hotel guests consider a warm welcome, an attractive view and quality facilities as important factors for a good stay, it’s the bed that tops their essentials list according to a survey of UK hotel workers by the professional division of Miele. However, it seems that bedding quality and cleanliness are often not living up to guest expectations.
Respondents identified bedroom and bedding cleanliness as the number one priority for their guests – beating a welcoming reception, facilities and star rating and even good value for money. In fact, 88% said the bedroom was more important than any other part of the hotel and a well-run laundry also vital to a positive guest experience in many UK establishments. Yet, despite the obvious importance of room hygiene, hotel workers identified stained bed linen as the second most likely customer cleanliness complaint.
The survey, produced for Miele by market research company Sapio, found that managing laundry operations in-house is key to maintaining the standard of the laundry, with 54% of respondents identifying ‘reliability’ as the top associated factor with an on-premise laundry (OPL). Miele has also just published a guide to help hotels consider the benefits of an OPL.
Managing day-to-day operations and consistently achieving high standards whilst meeting guest demands is the biggest pain point for hotels, and 88% of respondents were in agreement that laundry impacts the guest experience more than any other operational area.
Many hotels appear to have quality and hygiene issues related to laundry outsourcing. Currently, 76% of the hotels using offsite laundries for at least some of their washing and drying choose to send their guest bed linen and towels offsite. However, whilst hygiene quality and cleanliness were identified as the most important factors around laundry provision, only 37% were highly satisfied with the quality of service and 54% with how clean it was.
Stained bedding is the most common customer complaint, according to 18% of respondents, with make-up, bodily fluids and food and drink adding further complexities to laundry. In turn, 74% of workers found that changing the bedding is the most common reaction when dealing with a cleanliness complaint. Improving laundry quality can therefore reduce complaints and the need for bedding changes, leaving guests with a more positive perception of the hotel.
While housekeeping strive to keep rooms ship shape, guests don’t often help, leaving all sorts of strange lost property behind to clear up, including valuable documents, sex toys, false teeth and even prosthetics.
The laundry method used by a hotel can have a significant impact on the quality of laundry, and consequently, the guest experience. Whilst reliability was by far the top factor associated with an on-premise laundry, respondents also identified ‘ease of operation’ and ‘durability’ as other positive attributes of OPL.
Sam Bailey, sales and marketing director of the professional division of Miele, said: “The market research revealed a number of critical insights that hotels striving to be top of their game should be aware of – most notably how important a well-operated laundry is to the guest experience.
An on-premise laundry solution can give employees greater control over the standard of their laundry and could reduce customer complaints around the cleanliness of linen and therefore the need for bedding changes. While the main on-premise laundry challenge highlighted was a lack of space, we find that many of our customers are pleasantly surprised at how little room is actually required.”