Good par level management is not a one-and-done proposition: As we’ve said, making sure you have enough pars on hand at all times means conducting inventory frequently, ordering linens to keep up with losses and being ready for high and low seasons.
Some linen loss is unavoidable – your luxury hotel sheets, towels, robes and table linens come to the natural end of their lifecycle, for instance. But some loss is preventable if you take the right steps.
How much linen loss is too much? This installment in our par level management series has stats, details and tips for maximizing your linen investment.
Linen Loss By the Numbers
The hospitality industry invests nearly two billion dollars a year in linens, with an average of $360 per room for:
- Duvet covers
- Pillow shams
That two billion dollar figure assumes that hotels have the recommended four pars on hand: one in the guest room + one that's dirty leaving the room + one in secure, climate-controlled storage + one in the laundry room or with your commercial laundry service.
Experts estimate that hotels can lose up to 20 percent of their linen inventory prematurely, making it clear why tracking and preventing the losses you can is a priority.
How Much Loss is Too Much?
In short, any loss you can prevent is too much.
There are two main categories of linen loss prevention: security and linen care.
Security tips for protecting hotel linens:
Centralize your linen storage. Having one room that’s well-lit, as well as temperature- and humidity controlled will make step two on this list (see below) easier. Linens should have their own home to themselves, far from chemicals and other items that may cause damage.
Make sure your linen storage is locked at all times. Your linens are a valuable asset and should be treated as such, from the time you purchase them to the time they head to the rag pile. Locking down your storage will give thieves one more obstacle to overcome.
Train staff not to leave laundry carts unattended. Just their presence will be a deterrent to guests who decide to help themselves.
Ask guests not to steal. It’s that easy. Some properties have success with signs in rooms that encourage guests to leave towels and robes for the next visitors to enjoy. Just being reminded that towels aren’t souvenirs is enough to stop some guests from packing more than they came with.
Thoughtful linen care is also an easy way to prevent premature linen loss by taking steps to:
Provide alternatives to guest towels for cleaning. And that goes for both staff and guests. Make sure housekeeping and facilities staff have enough rags to go around, and give guests disposable or reusable cloths for things like spills or makeup removal. The best way to fight stains is to prevent them in the first place.
Keep laundry chutes and commercial laundry equipment well-maintained. One loose edge on a laundry chute or an oily exposed part on an ironer can spell disaster if they aren’t caught before they stain or damage linens. Meticulous maintenance may cost more upfront but save in the long run.
Store and clean rags separately. Once your linens reach the end of their lifecycle and are turned over to the rag pile, they need to say goodbye to your guest-facing linen inventory for good. They should have their own storage area and cleaning cycles, and staff should be mindful of not intermingling them.
Keep Linens Longer
Like so many other things in the hospitality industry, successful par level management is a juggling act. And, like those other things, providing guest satisfaction is the reward for a job well done.