NEW YORK — Managers of laundries, hotels and motels took advantage of the opportunity to learn about the cost savings associated with new laundry machinery, textiles and chemical systems on display at the 98th Annual International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS).
Many product manufacturers indicated that they are benefiting from a resurgence in demand for new laundry machinery, chemicals and textiles as a result of efforts to rebuild hotel and motel properties damaged by Hurricane Sandy last October.
Attendance for the Nov. 9-12 event at the Jacob Javits Convention Center was 15,996, an increase of 11.3% over last year’s total of 14,366, according to Megan Alexander, a spokesperson for the show’s management. The increase in attendance reflects the recovery of New York’s economy following last year’s hurricane, she says.
Ecolab placed an emphasis on reduction of linen replacement costs for hotel properties. In response to research data from studies conducted with 300 customers, Ecolab improved its StainBlaster™ product line to effectively tackle the toughest stains and help to improve the quality of wash results.
“With linen replacement accounting for up to 25% of overall laundry costs, removing stains and extending linen life is essential in today’s lodging laundry operations,” says Jim Tarara, vice president of research, development and engineering for Ecolab’s Global Institutional business. “The inability to remove stains not only wastes money, but it also can impact guest satisfaction ratings and harm a brand’s reputation.”
The Ecolab StainBlaster line encompasses several proprietary products: StainBlaster Multi-Purpose, StainBlaster Destainer and StainBlaster Rust Remover.
Similarly, Procter & Gamble offered its pH-neutral chemistry, which is designed to be gentler on cotton and, therefore, extend the life of cotton products by 15%, according to Steve Spicer, senior executive of the Hospitality Division, North America.
The company’s color-safe bleach is designed to remove stains in white linen, and to also effectively remove stains while protecting color products.
Standard Textile exhibited its solution to the ongoing problem of coping with stains on bed scarfs caused by hotel guests who toss their luggage onto the bed upon their arrival. The company has developed an integrated, woven microfilament bed scarf.
The product offers both function and design “in a laundry performance product,” according to Greg Eubanks, group vice president for hospitality sales and marketing at Standard Textile, based in Cincinnati. Eubanks says the new product received “an overwhelming response” at the show.
Some exhibitors suggested that China may be losing its edge as the low-cost manufacturing center in the textile industry.
“It has become more expensive to manufacture products in China,” says Bruce Cohen, a spokesman for Boca Terry, which manufactures high-end terry products in China for the hotel industry. “Freight and labor costs are increasing, especially in the manufacturing centers of eastern China.”
Linen products manufactured in the United States enjoy an advantage in shorter delivery times for customers, according to Freddy Halfon, president of Paradise Pillow, a manufacturer of linen, comforters and pillows for hotels, hospitals and government agencies, based in Philadelphia.
“I can accept lower minimum orders from my customers and not have to fill a shipping container with goods from China,” Halfon says. “My customer enjoys a faster turnaround in delivery. Also, we don’t have to deal with any import taxes on the products.”
Technology is also playing a role in the advancement of purchasing options for hotel customers. Cintas generated considerable interest at the New York show with the introduction of its new iPad app, CintasDesign, a modeling program designed to enable hotel management to try and view up to 30 separate colors on a hotel uniform, depending upon the garment type, according to Training Manager Bob Leon.
Images can be exported to customers to enable them to visualize what the uniforms might look like on hotel staff and to personalize their uniform program. Uniform programs can be designed and forwarded to decision-makers or a purchasing committee at the hotel. The new software also allows the company to put new products online quickly.
The program may soon speed up purchasing decisions and reduce the time required to supply a hotel with uniforms or garments.
“It’s a live, living program,” Leon explains. “It’s really the next evolution of the catalog experience. Catalogs present static images. This app allows hotels to run through all of their uniform and garment options. Hotel management can now say, ‘This is what I want my people to look like.’ We think it’s going to change the entire dynamic of purchasing uniforms.”
CintasDesign was so new at IHMRS that it had not yet been introduced to customers. That may come in 2014.