Discovering the housekeeping difference

July 3, 2018

You know hotel housekeeping can be quite a challenge. You also know care and consistency around housekeeping is what builds a property’s reputation in the eyes of guests. When housekeeping gets overlooked, hotels typically feel a bottom-line impact. Like any other operational task that’s vital to the everyday success of a business, effective housekeeping demands proper planning and the right equipment.

From maintaining the pristine appearance of guest rooms to making sure pool and exercise areas have an endless supply of towels, every housekeeping team should be guided by a clear strategy. One industry expert emphasizes the importance of ongoing training. “Housekeeping is really all about the basics and really knowing those basics well,” said Rick Takach, CEO and chairman of hotel management company Vesta Hospitality. “As long as your team is very well-trained, that’s your best way to make sure things are running smoothly and you’re getting your rooms done as quick as possible.”

Just as important are the tools of the trade. For more than three decades, Royal Basket Trucks has produced carts, trucks, and containers that support the critical work of housekeeping. Today, Royal Basket offers a full line of products for collecting, sorting, and transporting in a variety of environments.

To experience the difference of Royal Basket, choose from a variety of colors, sizes, and divided sections for optimal organization and increased efficiency. Royal Basket also offers non-marking casters to spare specialty floors from damage. Every cart is built to order, made in Wisconsin, and ships on a short timeline.

Turn to the innovative options of Royal Basket, and give your housekeeping staff the support that goes with every successful strategy.

P&G Pro Line® – the complete carpet care system that delivers amazing results

April 27, 2018

Keep your carpets looking their best with P&G’s complete high-performance Pro Line Carpet Care System. It’s safe and effective and cleans your carpets in three simple steps using only five products – half the number of products that other carpet cleaning systems use. This means you can reduce your operational costs and improve your staff’s efficiency.

The P&G Pro Line Carpet Care System provides…

Powerful Spot Removers to Minimize Re-Work

Whenever soiling occurs, it is important to remove spots, spills, gum or other sticky residue as soon as possible to prevent the spot from becoming a permanent stain. P&G Pro Line offers a selection of specially formulated spot removers that target hard-to-remove stains, like coffee, rust, wine and bodily fluids.

 A Bonnet Cleaner to Minimize the Need for Extraction

This type of carpet cleaning, considered a “lighter” cleaning, employs a rotary carpet shampoo machine and a special carpet cleaning pad. Bonnet clean your carpets weekly or monthly to clean top fiber sections of the carpet. Regular use of P&G Pro Line’s Bonnet/Traffic Lane Cleaner will extend time between extraction cleanings.

 A One-Step Extraction Cleaner & Deodorizer

Extraction cleaning should be done when the carpet looks heavily soiled. In extraction cleaning, hot water and cleaning agents are applied to the carpet pile at high pressure to loosen dirt. Almost simultaneously, the water, dirt and cleaning solution is removed, leaving your carpet clean and fresh. P&G Pro Line’s Extraction Cleaner saves time – it cleans and deodorizes in one step.

Hotel 101: When choosing sheets and towels, go sustainable

April 24, 2018

Sure, a fancy lobby, extensive room service menu and breathtaking views make a great first impression for guests, but what really makes them ooh-and-ahh? We’ll give you a hint, it has everything to do with the sheets and towels. Guests want to feel like they’re sleeping in silk, or washing their face with a cloud, and the best way to do that is to know exactly what to look for when it comes to choosing towels and sheets. Luckily the choice is easy with the environmentally friendly Martex Green Collection from WestPoint Hospitality.

Organic cotton towels

What really matters when you’re buying towels for your property? Well, Martex answers all of those questions for you by focusing on important elements you might not have even considered – like eco-friendly materials and company sustainability.

  • This towel collection is made from all certified organic cotton and recycled polyester. The agricultural product used with the cotton does not involve the use of harmful chemicals and the production reduces pesticides pollution compared to conventional farming techniques.
  • It focuses on eco-friendly materials by using recycled plastic bottles and strips of labels and caps, which are crushed, cleaned and turned into fibers.
  • The unique Dryfast® technology of Martex’s towels reduces drying by up to 30%, which lowers cost and increases hotel efficiency.

Woven fiber sheets

Nobody likes a scratchy sheet; however, that doesn’t mean you need to blow your housekeeping budget by purchasing a high thread count sheet set. Instead, focus on better materials – like organic, recycled cotton, which produces a softer sheet without a higher price tag.

  • The weave of the Martex Green sheet, according to Real Simple, affects exactly how it will feel to your guests. Its fibers are woven from recycled bottles, which results in a softer product and helps reduce over 71,666 cubic yards of landfill space.
  • A high thread count doesn’t necessarily mean a high-end sheet. Many suppliers weave lower quality thread into a higher count, sort of defeating the process. As a general rule, buy above a 200-thread count sheet. However, anything above 800 often doesn’t make a difference.
  • The production of Martex’s high quality sheets is entirely sustainable. The cotton is used with limited to no pesticide pollution, which equates to a more natural product and a healthier farmer. Plus, the recycled polyester makes up to 52% of all fiber used in textiles and reduces energy use by 84%, plus limits greenhouse gases by over 70%.

So, when you’re ready to reorder sheets and towels, consider a collection that blends softness and sustainability. For your guests, consider the comfort of Martex Green.

Extras that guests now expect

March 22, 2018

When it comes to booking a room at a hotel, there are a few standard and very simple things guests look for in the room description and the user reviews. Cleanliness of the room, a comfortable bed, access to the internet, a TV (with cable) in the room and bathroom amenities rank as the most important. However, those are basics that virtually every place offers. What really sets your hotel apart from every other property out there?

To increase revenue and out-sell your competitors, let’s take a closer look at the items your guests are actually looking for – and what you can add to the offering.

Free WiFi

Wireless internet alone isn’t cutting it anymore, especially for guests who are frequently traveling for business. When guests are on the go, they want to stay connected without having to pay an additional fee.

Beyond just free, though, many business travelers also expect internet that’s both reliable and quick. According to hotel owner and CEO Rupesh Patel, who recently polled guests among his many properties, slow internet was one of the biggest complaints for guests and not just for executives but millennials, too. A study done by Hospitality.net found that over 57% of hotel guests in the 20 – 30 age range try to stream or connect their personal devices to hotel TVs using the included Wi-Fi.

Lighting

Lighting is everything in a hotel room, especially if many of the rooms aren’t blessed with seemingly endless natural light. According to Conde Nast Traveler, bad lighting is often one of the biggest complaints for guests. Whether it’s dim lighting in the bathroom or yellow-hued fluorescent lights in the bedroom, guests crave lights that both flatter and accent the space. To mimic natural light, consider daylight or soft white bulbs, which create a warm and cozy vibe that’s still highly effective.

Seamless check in/out

Your hotel could have the most beautiful lobby, endless amenities and a breathtaking view, but a negative check in/out encounter can be what makes or breaks a guests’ overall experience. Today, many hotels are elevating their check in/out by offering self-service pods or DIY apps, which take the human interaction completely out of it. For some, the ease of going directly to your room without having to stop for a key or to give you credit card information again is a major selling point.

However, some guests, mainly baby boomers and up, still prefer that human touch. So, for these guests, they look for a lobby that’s clearly mapped out (with signs to the registration), friendly staff and a painless process (no repetitive forms to fill out or long lines).

Eco-friendly

A focus on the environment and sustainability should be top of mind for all hotels, but especially for those looking to break the millennial market.

“Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues and expect brands to not only manage their impact but communicate it,” said Diana Verde Nieto, CEO of Positive Luxury, to SCMP.

For many properties, that means preserving the lifestyle and the culture of the destination it’s in – whether that means offering farm-to-table, local cuisine in their restaurant or offering furniture that’s been handmade by a local artisan. Sustainability also means a focus on the environment, so using linens made from recycled fabrics, LED light bulbs, energy-efficient appliances (like coffee makers and mini-fridges) and refillable bathroom fixtures also make a large impact for this massive consumer base.

Scent

Nothing dirties the perception of your property quicker than a stale, stinky smell, and this will immediately affect how that guest views the cleanliness and comfort of your hotel. As bad as a dirty scent is, an overly fragrant, perfume-y aroma can be just as detrimental. You want the hotel to have a smell that’s fresh, pleasant and clean, and doesn’t deter the guest from wanting to stay. To avoid a stale scent from carpeting, rugs or linens, invest in fresh scent odor removers or air fresheners.

Competitive food & beverage offerings

Hotel restaurants are no longer the last resort for tired guests. For many properties, their restaurants hold as much acclaim or more than the actual property, thanks to an award-winning chef or highly regarded cuisine. For many guests, they want food that speaks to the destination they’re in, or that competes against the fare served at neighboring brick and mortars. Beyond just fancy restaurant food, guests want quick room service options that go above and beyond the standard burger and fries (think vegetarian options or more seasonal cuisine), plus an ease of ordering. For some properties, that means ordering directly from the TV or their phones. Even for budget properties, an included continental breakfast or proximity to a diner or breakfast space will make all the difference for hungry guests.

Connectivity & power

There’s nothing more frustrating than having to rearrange the heavy wooden desk, the clunky bedside table or even the bed just to charge your phone. However, many hotel rooms don’t have ample electrical outlets, which make it hard for guests to charge their devices. Not all chargers are created equal, though.

According to a study done by the American Hotel and Lodging Association, usage of smartphone docking stations fell to just 19% last year, primarily because they don’t adapt to newer technology. In addition, most guests bring their own chargers. However, nightstands with USB chargers, charge pods or outlets as well as dual-purpose alarm clocks are still popular, and help keep all of the guest’s electronics charged at once.

So, let’s go back to where we started: What really sets your hotel apart from every other property out there? Put some of these ideas into action and be sure to measure the results.

Our 2018 Expo draws record number of attendees

March 2, 2018
2018 Expo

Once again, we took our annual Global Hospitality Expo to sunny Orlando. And, once again, we exceeded expectations for a can’t-miss industry event that continues to raise the bar.

More than 300 customers and 130 suppliers joined our leaders and associates for the 2018 Global Hospitality Expo at the beautiful Loews Royal Pacific Resort. This amounted to more than 1,000 total attendees, a new Expo record. This year’s Expo theme – Just Imagine – set the stage for a week of transformational presentations and conversations, as well as a lot of networking fun.

In celebrating the warmth of Florida, this #globalexpo2018 kicked off with a Super Bowl Sunday Party at a large and lively sports bar in Universal CityWalk. For many early arrivals, the following day meant teeing up and teaming up at the second annual American Hotel Golf Classic.

The more official Expo launch came on Tuesday, at a General Session Welcome where our senior leaders outlined the latest American Hotel initiatives and improvements – from data analytics to global expansion and our plans for a digital transformation. We also introduced Accentuate, a new service where we can personalize a variety of products for customer properties. At every turn in this dynamic presentation, the emphasis was on the importance of responding to growing customer needs.

At the General Session, we also formally announced our partnership Soap Aid, an Australia-based nonprofit that recycles and redistributes hotel soap to save lives and our environment. Soap Aid’s Michael Matulick took the stage to articulate the organization’s mission and the way American Hotel can help expand its efforts to the U.S. Keynote speaker Brian Solis closed out our General Session with an engaging exploration of today’s social media culture.

On Wednesday and Thursday, our Expo highlights included:

  • VIP breakout sessions where strategies were strengthened
  • Rotating supplier presentations that delved into detail
  • Customer Hot Topic sessions where priorities were shared
  • Exclusive customer trade show that demonstrated solutions
  • Associate trade show that connected people and products

There were also marvelous Expo dinners, including an authentic Hawaiian luau, complete with fire dancing, and a special Expo Block Party at Universal CityWalk. On Wednesday, our special Casino Night went all in as a fundraiser for Soap Aid. During Expo we raised more than $35k for its amazing mission. And, of course, on Thursday the 2018 Expo Awards Dinner saluted our Heroes of Hospitality.

While snowy weather in the Midwest ended this Expo a bit early, it’s safe to say it was a smashing success. Like those that came before it, our 2018 Expo epitomized the Leahy family values of family, friendship, caring, hard work and integrity. It is a tradition that sets us apart and embodies our commitment to improving all that we do for our customers, our suppliers, and our associates.

4 hospitality trends for 2018 you need to know about

January 26, 2018

The only constant in the hospitality industry is the fact that it’s always changing. In the past few years alone, the industry has seen a major shift in how guests are booking, where they are booking and why. The competition has grown from other hotels to home share companies like Airbnb, HomeAway and VRBO, thanks to the growth (and spending) of millennial travelers. Beyond that, though, guests of all ages are seeking more from their hotel experience. They’re no longer just satisfied with a pillow to sleep on. From mobile check in to locally sourced artwork to more conversational marketing, hotels are having to constantly stay on the edge of the digital hospitality movement. Whether it’s adding in-room iPads or upgrading the way you clean, these are trends you need to adapt to in order to keep your business relevant and successful in 2018.

Mobile is everything

Travelers are connected to their cell phones now more than ever, and most aren’t just using it for Instagram. According to Adweek and Opera Mediaworks, over 85% of people book hotels, tours and even flights directly from their phones. Thanks to apps like Trips, Google’s Travel Assistant, guests are able to organize their hotels (and keep track of which ones they rated the highest), flag restaurants, book ubers and even get boarding passes right in their email. More than that, mobile integration is taking hospitality up a notch – by even offering mobile check in with the hotel’s app as well as the ability to customize everything in their room directly from their phones, from dimming the lights to ordering room service. To keep mobile savvy customers booking, ensure your hotel app is clean, useful, intuitive and innovative. In addition, ensure every room is outfitted with smart plugs that include USB chargers or all-purpose docking stations.

Smart rooms are key

It’s no longer just having the right plugs, it’s all about having a room that’s intuitive to the guest that’s in it. As most hotels program their TV’s to welcome you (with your name) and offer a customized itinerary based on your preferences, many are upping the game more. East Hong Kong offers guests the use of pre-programmed mobile phones complete with a data and calling plan so they can navigate the city, as well as restaurant recommendations, deals on attractions and even public transportation tips. Hilton, for example, is beta testing its first mobile-centric room, where everything is controlled with the tap of their finger on their phones. Marriott is capitalizing on the Internet of Things by offering mirrors with yoga tutorials. One thing is clear, AI (artificial intelligence) and virtual reality are going to play a big part in room design, and have the potential to make or break a hotel’s rating. According to Forbes and Ayush Sharma of Northwestern University, AI going to change the entire hospitality industry – from guest check-in to even employee management and security.

Keep it local

Millennials weren’t always the key demographic for hotels, but with this generation traveling more than any other, the need to keep up with their likes, dislikes and passions is becoming a key focus for many of the big, and smaller, brands. According to Jacob Marek, who spoke to the Boston Globe, millennials are a more curious traveler, and are always seeking experiences that go beyond the standard tour or typical hotel room. They’re looking for a connection to the destination, whether it’s a new country or city, and look for hotels that offer that local time in. Many hotels, like the Hilton in downtown Cleveland, work with local artists to commission pieces to display throughout the hotel. In addition, hotels – like Mr. C in Beverly Hills – offer customized itineraries completely related to the city, whether they be Hollywood tours or hikes up Runyon Canyon Park. Beyond just decor and the concierge, many hotels are focusing only on local food in their flagship restaurants. Millennial travelers are focused on keeping their money into the local community, which is why so many hotels are offering specialty menus based on seasonal produce in the area (like artisanal cheeses and wines in Northern California or fresh seafood in Miami). This farm to table movement, which has been a trend for years, is still a big focus many travelers look for when dining inside the hotel.  Valerie Chen, a travel writer for Travel Age West, wrote “Authenticity of the locale is paramount, as well as environmental sustainability and collaboration with the local community. Accor Hotels also extended this to non-guests, by allowing people living in the area (which is computed through their AccorLocal app) to use the hotel’s amenities.

Focus on the experiential

The next generation of hospitality and hotel design is going to focus more on experiential journeys and less on bulky and closed off spaces. Lobbies are going to offer more interactivity – from touch screens in the walls to furniture that inspires mingling and creativity. The conference rooms will no longer be just rooms, but will offer more ways to stay productive – whether that’s with the use of smart TVs, tech-forward podiums or even AI incorporation. The experiential aspect goes beyond just design, too. Guests want to feel like their decisions matter, and that they’re apart of where they stay. According to Travel Age West, keeping guests in the know about food waste, the hotel’s focus on environmental protection and sustainability, make the experience more impactful. Tying in with the focus on local, guests want to experience more with their stay – whether that’s an included activity in the destination, a meet and greet with the chef or even included Wi-Fi to keep them connected. Although the experiential component is easier for remote resorts, city and even airport hotels can adapt to the trend by giving the guest more to enjoy.

Expo in Orlando a smashing success

February 23, 2017

Each year, in late January, we host a Global Hospitality Expo that brings hospitality leaders together to share insights, explore ideas, build relationships, and make bold plans. This year was no different – except for the spectacular setting.

Yes, our 2017 Global Hospitality Expo was the first Expo to be held outside of the Chicago area. And the beautiful Hilton Bonnet Creek of Orlando proved to be a marvelous site for our 20th annual industry event.

More than 400 customers and suppliers joined our leaders and associates at this sun-drenched resort. This year’s Expo theme – Discover what’s new. Realize what’s next. – captured the essence of a hospitality industry poised for progress.

At Expo, members of our Merchandising team helped customers discover new, innovative products.

Our senior leaders kicked off the event with an engaging look at the latest American Hotel initiatives and improvements. The memorable Expo moments also included a lively keynote from Billy Beane, the one-of-a-kind Major League Baseball executive and subject of the film “Moneyball.” Other highlights of this special week included:

  • Customer and supplier breakout sessions
  • Rotating supplier presentations
  • An exclusive customer trade show
  • Vibrant product and room displays
  • Annual Expo awards dinner

This Expo also featured our First Annual Duck Derby in the resort’s lazy river. The clever fundraising race brought in $35,722, which was distributed to over 40 charities.

As in year’s past, the final night of Expo week celebrated the achievements of our supplier partners and our dedicated associates.

The 20th annual Expo, like those that came before it, is a tradition that sets us apart and embodies our commitment to improving all that we do for our customers, our suppliers, and our associates.

Create a clean impression and keep guests coming back

November 10, 2016

It makes perfect sense that, according to a recent survey by P&G Professional, 49% of restaurant and hospitality businesses believe that keeping their guests satisfied is the most important area of focus. And, of course, guest satisfaction depends on your ability to maintain a clean property.

Two-ounce travel size bottle

In hospitality, the cleanliness of guest rooms, bathrooms, towels, linens, and common areas all play a critical role in guest satisfaction. From the moment guests open the door to their room, they are making judgments on the adequacy of the accommodations. When you turn to top trusted brands to keep your property fresh and clean, you offer guests a level of assurance and confidence that will keep them coming back.

Traveling can be hard, and guests want to feel comfortable. They often want the best part of home to go with them when they travel. For example, a great way to create this home environment at an extended stay property is by using the #1 selling brand of dishwashing liquid, Dawn. For this very purpose and these very guests, Dawn recently launched a two-ounce travel size bottle. Having the familiar brand of Dawn next to the kitchen sink can be very welcoming for new guests to a hotel or resort.

Dawn suds last two times longer than the leading competitor*, so your guests can get through more dishes with less liquid. No matter what they have cooking in the kitchen, Dawn dishwashing liquid will leave dishes squeaky clean every time, giving guests the experience they are used to from home.

Providing brands that provide comfort for customers leaves a great first impression and also drives customer loyalty, keeping guests coming back year after year and even recommending the hotel to others.

*Based on cleaning ingredients vs. next leading competitor

Set your property apart with
custom embroidery

November 7, 2016

The aim of nearly every hotel or resort property, no matter how reasonable or refined, is to do everything possible to create a uniquely memorable guest experience. Of course, this is what keeps guests coming back and what spurs them to promote the joys of their stay to others.

Often, it’s the small but special details of a guest room setting that make the most lasting impression. Consider the graceful accents of embroidery. Through custom embroidery, properties like yours are able to add a tailored look and branded finish to their fine fabrics. With your property name beautifully stitched into a cozy robe or comfortable towel, guests are sure to take note.

As the premier hospitality source, we operate a state-of-the-art embroidery machine able to create custom looks, logos and messaging on virtually any fabric a property would want.

We embroider robes, slippers, towels, select sheeting products, accessory bags and more. With 8 heads, 120 needles and 120 spools of thread, our amazing machine can embroider a single design on eight different garments at the same time.

  • With up to 15 different colors possible within a single embroidery, we can embroider any logo or style
  • We can cut order time by two weeks to help customers save money and time
  • Our machine’s precise capabilities offer our luxury customers a world of possibilities

With embroidery, you can accentuate the positive and keep your name in the minds of your guests. To place an order or ask questions about our embroidery capabilities, you can simply contact your sales representative.

Tips for working smarter, not harder

August 26, 2016
  • Buy ready-to-use sheets and towels. They can be unpacked and put into service immediately, no washing needed. Because you save time, reduce water usage and energy costs, you’ll also achieve sustainability goals as well.
  • Save on laundry costs and protect the environment by using conservation signage. There are several kinds to choose from, including signs that cover sheet and towel re-use and general energy consumption.
  • Be sure to invest in No Smoking signs to keep your property’s air clean, too. This saves time in cleaning and deodorizing rooms and public spaces.
  • Keep a small tool kit on housekeeping carts, so that your housekeeping staff can fix minor problems, instead of taking a room out of service.
  • Use an Instant Erasing Pad or Magic Eraser® to save time cleaning scuff marks off of any surface.
  • Provide “light touch” housekeeping service every other day for multiple-day guests, which reduces labor as well as costs of products required to service room.
  • Use lint rollers to save time picking up lint and hair in bathrooms and rugs.
  • To leverage productivity of your housekeeping, security, maintenance, room service and other staff, use two-way radios.