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Hotel, Motel Show Features Optimistic Tone (Part 1)

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Manufacturers exhibiting at the recent International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show (IHMRS) report they are benefiting from a resurgence in demand for laundry equipment, chemicals and textiles as a result of efforts to rebuild hotel/motel properties damaged during Hurricane Sandy in 2012. (Photo: Hospitality Media Group)

Richard Merli |

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.

“Central Jersey and Long Island were devastated by Hurricane Sandy, and business was down,” says Vince Burkett, director of marketing for Harbor Linen, based in Cherry Hill, N.J. “But business has rebounded this year. Floor traffic is back at the show. We’re feeling optimistic about the show this year.”

A similar sentiment was expressed by Kendra Keller, a sales executive for Frette, a manufacturer of high-end bed, bath and terry items for the hotel market. “We’re very pleased with the floor traffic this year,” she says. “This is a good show.”

Direct Machinery Sales Corp., a distributor of laundry machinery for Pellerin Milnor and Chicago Dryer Co., has gotten “steady work” replacing laundry machinery in facilities flooded by Hurricane Sandy, according to Joe Rossitto, a sales manager. “It’s not simply a matter of a quick repair when laundry systems are flooded with saltwater,” Rossitto says.

Chicago® and Milnor shared a booth at the show. Milnor exhibited a new 60-pound-capacity rigid-mount washer and a new 60-pound-capacity soft-mount washer, while Chicago® exhibited its new Cadet ironer and a towel folder. The show produced “a good quality of leads” for the companies, Rossitto says.

Speed Queen also saw “more activity and a fair amount of replacement of laundry equipment on the Jersey Shore,” especially in the spring, according to John Smith, regional sales manager for the company. Speed Queen is part of Alliance Laundry Systems, based in Ripon, Wis. The company exhibited a 60-pound-capacity washer at the show for the first time.

“This show is a little better than last year’s, which took place in the wake of the hurricane,” Smith says. “There have been surges of traffic and interest.”

UniMac, a sister company, made interactive equipment available at the show to enable visitors to better understand its OPTispray Rinsing Technology, designed to save both energy and water, and its UniLinc Control System. Designed with both washer-extractors and tumble dryers in mind, the advanced controls provide ease of use across all machines. The new systems drew strong interest from show visitors interested in cost savings and efficiencies, according to Craig Madson, national accounts sales manager.

Maytag, which exhibited a 55-pound-capacity soft-mount washer and a 75-pound-capacity dryer, also has seen an increase in demand for replacement laundry machinery among hotel and motel properties along the New Jersey shore, according to Steve Hietpas, business development manager for the company. “This has been a good show for us,” he says.

Xeros Cleaning, a United Kingdom-based company that is expanding into North America, drew strong interest at its exhibit by demonstrating its patented polymer bead technology washing process, designed for hotels and industrial laundries. The system is designed to use 70% less water, 50% less detergent and up to 50% less energy to wash linen.

The technology originally was developed from pioneering work at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. It was commercialized by Xeros, which recently opened its North American headquarters with an office in Manchester, N.H.

“Hotel property owners are interested in preserving their high-end linen and lowering their linen replacement costs,” says Xeros President Jonathan Benjamin. “People have been interested in seeing what types of cost efficiencies can be achieved. Lowering linen replacement costs and the use of water, detergent and energy are crucial in today’s hotel environment.”

Check back Wednesday for the conclusion!

About the author

Richard Merli

Richard Merli, who resides in Brooklyn, N.Y., is a former editor of American Laundry News.

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