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 show provided manufacturers of textiles and formulators of chemicals with an opportunity to tailor their products to the hotel industry.
Standard Textile Co. targeted the high end with a new line of sheets, dubbed “Luxury That Endures,” developed in collaboration with Todd-Avery Lenahan, a hospitality designer. Pre-laundered and room-ready, the sheets are designed to withstand the harsh environments of central laundries. A high-end visual appearance combines with a tensile strength of 117 pounds to create a more durable luxury product, according to Greg Eubanks, group vice president for hospitality sales and marketing at Standard Textile.
“The traffic and interest at our booth has been fantastic,” says Eubanks.
Several manufacturers, among them Riegel and Cintas Corp., exhibited new earth-friendly, eco-conscious products for the hotel industry.
Riegel, a division of Mount Vernon Mills, drew interest with its RieNu line of recycled polyester table linen, made from recycled plastic bottles, otherwise destined for landfills. The use of one of its table napkins eliminates three plastic bottles from landfills, the company says. Riegel offered the table linen in five colors at the show.
“We believe there’s a great deal of pent-up demand in the hotel industry,” says W.H. Rogers, vice president of Riegel. “We’re hoping that will be reflected in the new budgets for hotels in 2012.”
Cintas was among 10 exhibitors who received Editors’ Choice Awards during the opening ceremonies at the show for best new products within the categories of design, equipment and supplies, and green guest amenities. The company was recognized for its Eco Cobra Jacket, an eco-friendly garment option for bellmen, doormen and other front-door hotel professionals, and the latest product within the company’s EcoGeneration™ collection.
Cintas also drew interest with the industry’s first machine-washable tuxedo, which is partially composed of recycled polyester, made from recycled plastic bottles. The company partners with Boardroom Eco Apparel and its mills to take discarded plastic bottles and transform them into recycled fibers. The process breaks bottles down into flakes; from those flakes, a filament is extruded, which is spun into yarn. The plastic-formulated yarn is then woven into a fabric to create the tuxedos. After use, the tuxedos can be tossed into a standard washer and dryer. The company estimates that the machine-washable tuxedos can save hotels up to $1,000 per employee annually.
The hotel industry is also demanding a broader palette of colors in table linen for its facilities, according to Elizabeth Barrett, associate brand manager for Procter and Gamble, makers of the color-safe Tide Professional Laundry System. “There’s definitely a trend toward the use of more color,” says Barrett.
Ecolab, a maker of laundry chemicals, also attracted an increase in floor traffic at the show. “This show was much better than the show two years ago,” says Jim Moore, assistant vice president for corporate accounts. “We’ve met with hoteliers from all over the world.”
Mercedes Benz USA, a Daimler Company, made its first appearance at the show with an exhibit of three vans, including the Sprinter Cargo Van. The diesel-powered van offers payload capacity of up to 5,358 pounds, 547 cubic feet of cargo space, and a standing height of 6 feet 4 inches.
The IHMRS will return to New York on Nov. 10-13, 2012.