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Outsource or in house? When it comes to your laundry operation, there are two main avenues to explore, and it’s about deciding which one will be the most productive, economical and energy efficient for your business. We speak to the experts to better understand your options.

“Keeping the process in-house can lead to cutting costs provided managers invest in equipment that promises longevity”

Kate Jones, marketing manager, Professional division of Miele

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What are the benefits of keeping your laundry process in house?

In a survey we conducted of 100 UK hotel workers, we found that 76% of hotels use offsite laundries for at least some of their washing and drying. But only 37% were highly satisfied with the quality of service and 54% with how clean it was despite hygiene quality and cleanliness being cited as the most important factor of laundry. If hotels install on-premise laundry (OPL) they can be in more control of the process, and managers will be in for a better chance of ensuring quality washes.

According to our survey, bedroom turnaround times are the biggest concern for housekeepers, showing another reason why OPL would benefit hotels. Given that outsourcing laundry includes travel time to the launderette, hotels can speed up the process by introducing OPL. Hotels also have greater freedom to wash items whenever they like and not be affected by the workflow of launderettes, meaning that they can work according to their own check-in/check-out times and get rooms ready for new guests as quickly as possible.

While installing OPL means introducing new appliances and new staff to manage it – not to mention the repairs and additional utility bills – it can lead to cutting costs provided managers invest in equipment that promises longevity.

How can hoteliers save money with an in-house operation?

Hotel managers should be thorough when checking the features of washing machines they’re planning on installing as part of their OPL. Check whether stringent quality testing processes have been carried out to establish whether you’re buying from a brand that can promise machines that last. This will also help keep lifetime costs low, as less maintenance will be required if buying from a trustworthy brand.

Water usage is also key. Hotel managers should check whether the appliance is listed on the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) Technology List, and that could mean being able to claim 100% of the cost back at the time of purchase.

 “An outsourced service, especially on a rental contract, can minimise capital expenditure as the linens are not paid for up-front”

Anna Freeman, head of UK marketing, Elis

What are the benefits of outsourcing your laundry process?

Hotels that outsource can benefit from the efficiencies and high standards of a specialist, as well as being able to free up space, time, capital and staff.

Hotels can choose their chef’s wear, linen and towels and utilise it on a rental basis, confident that an organisation with expertise in the sector will handle all their laundry requirements, collecting used items and then returning them professionally laundered to an agreed schedule.

Hotels can also benefit from high levels of expertise and investment, including, for example, discreet electronic tagging of items. This not only provides full information on the location of the linen to aid efficiency, but also enables the monitoring of the number of washes to ensure that linens are replaced when necessary.

How can they save money by outsourcing the laundry operation?

Operating an in-house laundry can be costly, and take up space and staff that could be better utilised. An outsourced service, especially on a rental contract, can minimise capital expenditure as the linens are not paid for up-front. Hoteliers can keep more control of costs, while also minimising risk.

How can hoteliers best manage an outsourcing process?

When speaking to potential providers, hoteliers should ask questions about their in-house resources and the systems they use to maximise control and minimise risk. Hoteliers can benefit from selecting a supplier that owns and staffs the whole process, including the laundry facilities and collection and delivery services, and uses the latest technology, such as RFID tagging.

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Zoe Monk

The author Zoe Monk

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