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Survey: Return to Clean—Industry ‘So Ready’

Laundry/linen service providers, suppliers set to meet in Atlanta at end of July

CHICAGO — It’s just a little more than two months before the laundry and linen services industry gathers in Atlanta at The Clean Show July 30-Aug. 2.

The show was originally scheduled to take place in 2021, but, as with so many events, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed Clean until this year.

And the industry is ready to get together, according to a recent American Laundry News Your Views survey.

When asked “Clean ’22—the industry’s biggest convention and exhibition—is coming in July. Do you plan to attend?” 58.6% of respondents say “yes,” while 24.1% indicate they won’t be attending the show.

Just over 17% aren’t sure if they will be at Clean.

The biggest individual factor drawing survey takers to Clean? Equipment and supply exhibits (27.3%). Almost 15% are looking forward to networking and socializing, 7.3% want to attend educational sessions and 3.6% are eager to combine business and pleasure.

But nearly half of respondents are looking forward to taking part in “all of the above” in Atlanta.

Of laundry professionals who took the survey, 40.5% plan on attending all four days of the show, and 28.6% plan on being there for two days. Of the rest, 21.4% are going to be there for three days while only 9.5% say they’re only going for one day.

When asked “What’s your state of mind regarding Clean after its 2021 delay because of COVID-19?” the largest response from survey takers was “Excited to return” at 43.9%. Almost 37% say it will be business as usual, and 10.5% are “not really looking forward to the crowds.”

The rest, 8.8%, are “eager, but cautious.”

For respondents who aren’t planning to attend Clean, the biggest factor against going is “can’t spare the time” (36.7%). That’s followed by “can’t afford the cost” at 23.3%.

Pandemic concerns were cited by only 13.3% of survey takers, while 10% “made other plans.”

Of the 16.7% of respondents who answered “Other” for not going, answers include:

  • Do not want to go to Atlanta.
  • Summer is not the right moment for exhibitions.
  • Unsure if attendance will be significant enough.

The Clean Show will once again feature educational sessions for attendees. The topic of most interest to respondents? Healthcare processing (31.3%). That’s followed by customer service (22.9%), labor relations (18.8%), business solutions (16.7%) and safety (6.3%).

Topics suggested by survey takers include cost control, and OPL laundry operations-laundromat planning and design.

Respondents also had ideas for how The Clean Show should change in the future, including:

  • More on new technologies.
  • Needs to be every four years. Too costly and the evolution of equipment is not that dramatic. Too expensive for the manufacturers or vendors. Need to look for some new locations.
  • Don’t know. Waiting to see how the new company that owns Clean does this year, but I would like to see more extracurricular activities for the attendees, golf tournaments, tours, etc.
  • I would like to see vendors who can serve “linen distribution programs” and not just laundry-oriented vendors.
  • Ticket discount, volume discount for multiple people from same organization.
  • The Clean Show serves the needs of a very broad spectrum of folks in the cleaning space. Many of the retail operators prefer weekend access and early weekdays as this tends to better fit their schedules. Larger companies, commercial operators tend to prefer later weekdays and no weekends. Adjusting to this need, it would be good for the Clean Show to adjust its schedule and operating hours accordingly.
  • Move to every three years. Everything else is fine.
  • In addition to the Clean Show, I would pay money for someone (industry leader/influencer) to lead a tour around the Clean Show city to see new OPL laundry operations/installs and new laundromats. Sometimes real-life installs are great learning and discussion tools in addition to show floor exhibits.
  • I have mixed feelings about it being over a weekend. I’ve attended several in the past and they’ve always been Monday-Thursday.

Finally, as one respondent writes, “SO READY!”

While the Your Views survey presents a snapshot of readers’ viewpoints at a particular moment, it should not be considered scientific. Due to rounding, percentages may not add up to 100%.

Subscribers to American Laundry News e-mails are invited to take the industry survey anonymously online each quarter. All managers and administrators of institutional/OPL, cooperative, commercial and industrial laundries are encouraged to participate, as a greater number of responses will help to better define operator opinions and identify industry trends.

Survey: Return to Clean—Industry ‘So Ready’
Survey: Return to Clean—Industry ‘So Ready’

Have a question or comment? E-mail our editor Matt Poe at [email protected].