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IHMRS: Laundry Exhibitors Seeing Pent-Up Demand for Goods Among Hotels (Part 1 of 2)

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Exhibitors expressed satisfaction with foot traffic at the show. Attendance peaked at just under 24,000, up 2,800 from the 2010 event. (Photo: GLM)

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Chicago Dryer Co. exhibited a flatwork ironer and small-piece folder while sharing booth space with Pellerin Milnor. (Photo: Richard Merli)

Richard Merli |

NEW YORK – Manufacturers of laundry machinery, textiles and chemicals reported renewed interest in their products from the hotel industry at the 96th annual International Hotel, Motel+Restaurant Show (IHMRS) here in November.

Exhibitors at the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Manhattan’s West Side expressed satisfaction with increased foot traffic at the show. Attendance peaked at 23,953, up 2,800 from the previous year, including managers and executives from major hotel chains and independent properties, according to show management.

The increase in show attendance may reflect a rebound not only in New York’s economy, but also in the hotel and motel industry, following three years of recession.

There were indications at the show that the hotel industry is beginning to increase demand for on-premise laundry machinery.

“There are many pockets of pent-up demand now because spending had declined during the recession,” says Craig Madson, national account sales manager for Alliance Laundry Systems, manufacturer of laundry machinery that includes the UniMac brand.

Other manufacturers of laundry machinery echoed that view.

“It’s been a great show for us,” says Thomas Kindy, regional sales director for Chicago Dryer Co., which shared booth space with Pellerin Milnor. “People in the hotel industry have ignored their needs for the last couple of years because of the recession. Now they’re starting to make purchases again and trying to reduce operating costs in their laundries through automation. There’s been a lot of action.”

Chicago® exhibited its Comet Executive Ironer and Air Express Small-Piece Folder. Milnor exhibited a 300-G-force washer-extractor; a 60-pound-capacity washer; and a 35-pound-capacity cabinet-style washer with EP-Express control.

Although floor traffic didn’t measure up to its level of five years ago, it was still much improved from where it was in the depths of the recession, according to Joseph Leo, sales manager for equipment distributor PAC Industries. The show generated strong foot traffic in particular on the first day, he adds.

Dick Ruel, national sales manager for Maytag Commercial Laundry, described the level of interest from the hotel industry as “fantastic.”

“Sunday [Nov. 13] was the best day we have seen in several years,” says Ruel. “People who are building hotels are interested in cost savings and control for their laundry operations. The interest has been so strong that we can’t keep up with it. There’s been a real steady growth in demand for laundry machinery among hotels and institutions.”

Some manufacturers of laundry machinery suggested that it was still important for them to have a presence at the show, even if attendance figures had not quite rebounded to match those of halcyon days.

“It’s important for us to be here for the exposure to the industry,” says Pamela Simonetti, director of marketing for G.A. Braun.

Next Thursday: The show provided manufacturers an opportunity to tailor their products to the hotel industry...

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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