The truth about what guests expect from linen

Paul Swift, Business Development Manager at Berendsen UK, highlights the importance of high linen standards in meeting guest expectations in the hotel industry.

Trends can sometimes go as quickly as they came, but one trend in the hotel industry that will continue to stand the test of time is the customer desire to enjoy an exceptional stay. What are changing, however, are consumer expectations and the elements that affect how a hotel is perceived. Guests view some items in a room as more important than others, yet one prevailing factor proven to directly impact on the guest experience for almost all is towels and bed linen.

Recent data illustrated the significance of high standards to guests, with 97 percent of customers checking the cleanliness and quality of linen during a stay, regardless of the tier of hotel. They don’t just want clean linen, they expect the gold standard and research, commissioned by Berendsen, revealed impeccable cleanliness and quality made customers feel valued.

Of the UK hotel guests that were interviewed, three-quarters said they expect towels to be washed on a daily basis and even more consider softness, fluffiness and freshness as the most important indicators of quality. Equally, size was also highlighted as important, with almost two-thirds of guests – and more than two-thirds of females – stating their preference for a large bath sheet instead of an ordinary bath towel, while half of the interviewees also expect a face cloth to be provided.

Somewhat surprisingly, the research showed thickness and weight are less likely to be considered by guests when determining quality. Less than one-quarter of respondents said weight was important and just over half said thickness was important. Meanwhile, the trend for white and non-branded items appears strong, with the majority of guests saying they preferred plain towels and linen. However, most young, affluent and business guests in high tier hotels perceived the establishment as superior if they were branded.

The research indicates that compromising on the standard of towels and bed linen could lead to a reduction in business performance, as dirty or poor quality items frequently resulted in guests leaving to stay elsewhere and not returning in the future. Furthermore, 88 percent said they would hold the hotel responsible if the quality and cleanliness failed to meet their expectations and 95 percent said they would tell other people about their negative experiences. As a result, hoteliers are working hard to cater for what guests demand.

Partnering with an established outsourced laundry and rental linen provider is helping businesses in the hospitality industry to meet the ever higher customer expectations. These providers have the capability and knowledge to ensure outstanding towel and linen standards are maintained to guarantee a positive guest experience. Equally, they reduce the stress placed on housekeeping teams as they limit the demands on labour intensive in-house laundry operations.

The research emphasises how hotels simply cannot afford to provide anything less than the gold standard if they are to build a strong, favourable reputation and convince guests to return in the future. Through working alongside a reputable and reliable linen services provider such as Berendsen, the leading provider in the UK, hotels can seize the opportunity for enhanced business performance and deliver a service that impresses guests and ensures their return in the future.