YES. Martin Johnstone, finance director, Lester Hotels: I believe that boutique hotels should look to outsourcing their laundry operations. Space and labour costs are a key issue these days and there are ample linen companies providing a luxury bespoke service at realistic and very competitive prices. NO. Les Marshall, sales and marketing director, Miele Professional: Having your own laundry [operation] means that you are in complete control of quality - you don't have to rely on external suppliers and you can also make sure that your washing cycles are suitable for what you want to offer your guests. Opting for an in-house laundry doesn't mean you need a lot of space; machines can be stacked and can take up as little as a 1 sq m footprint. Controlling your own laundry also means you can choose machines that can cut costs in the long term. MAYBE. Jalal Al-Yawer, founder, Hotel Xanadu, Ealing, London: There are many financial variables but generally speaking, outsourcing laundry will be cheaper and will save space. However, there are other considerations. By doing laundry in-house you can choose your own stock and have full control over quality. You can do 'emergency washes' if you need more table cloths for a function. You can wash other items such as uniforms. Furthermore, the laundry team can work flexible hours and save time on counting items outsourced.
YES. Robert Adams, MD, White Knight Laundry Services: Outsourcing is more cost effective; no labour costs, capital investment, depreciation or sizeable utility costs. Modern laundries have advanced technology and economies of scale that on-premises laundries can't compete with. The finish quality is higher too. Plus it's a variable cost model; you're only incurring costs for occupied rooms. MAYBE. Stephen Hodgkins, business development manager, Girbau UK: Installing an on-premise laundry gives the boutique hotelier 100% control over quality and stock availability, and will deliver cost savings of at least 20%. It requires sufficient space and skilled staff. Bed and table linen require a higher standard of finishing and folding, so a logical first step may be to install a towel laundry. Russell Kett, chairman, HVS London: Laundry comes down to space versus quality versus cost. If there is an external supplier that can offer the required quality of finish at a decent price, then it's always better to do this rather than tying up valuable real estate with expensive machinery that needs people to operate it.