Tuck your budget in: How making the bed impacts your linen costs

  • Hospitality
  • by Jeff Courey, COO

They say it’s the little things in life that matter the most. One of the best things about staying in a hotel is that you have a wonderful housekeeping staff to clean your room, put your clothes away and provide you with fresh linens every day. One of the signature aspects of the housekeeping duty is making sure that the bed is made with a consistent surgical-like precision.

Morning starter, evening comfort

In his book, “Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life…And Maybe the World”, William H. McRaven states, “Making my bed correctly was not going to be an opportunity for praise. It was expected of me. It was my first task of the day, and doing it right was important. It demonstrated my discipline. It showed my attention to detail, and at the end of the day it would be a reminder that I had done something well, something to be proud of, no matter how small the task.” Even though it’s not the guest making their bed when they are staying at a hotel, having a well-made bed to crawl into every night provides a small reassurance of cleanliness, security and comfort.

Efficiency is key

There are a million different ways for a housekeeping staff to make a bed and a million different factors that need to go into the decision of how a hotel will standardize the task. Efficiency in room turnover rates are of critical importance for any hotel, therefore the way in which a bed is made can have a tremendous impact on room turnover-related costs. This should always be the number one factor to consider when designing the bed makeup.

Shorter the sheets, bigger the savings!

The specific way you decide to make the beds will determine the size of the linens you will have to use. Most top sheets of the same size are woven on a single width of fabric, which means that the total cost of the sheet will be dependent on how long the manufacture chooses to cut the sheet. For example, a typical Queen size mattress is 60” wide x 80” long + 14” drop. If a hotel chooses to make their bed by tucking the sheet under the mattress at least 5 inches at the foot of the bed and fold the sheet over at approximately the 70” mark along the length with a 24” fold, you would need your sheet size to be at least 113” post-wash (70” length + 14” drop + 5” tuck + 24” fold). If the hotel instead chooses to make the bed using only a 12” fold instead, you would only need to have a sheet that is approximately 100” post-wash. Since we know that the length of a sheet dictates cost given the constant in the fabric width, this could potentially result in savings on the procurement of a sheet by around 12%!

Any decision about room makeup strategy should always be done with the hotel guest experience in mind, however if you can make small changes like this without compromising the comfort of the hotel guest, the savings could end up having a huge impact on the hotel’s cash flow. It may even be worthwhile to take those savings and upgrade the quality of the hotel’s sheets to provide an even greater experience for your guest!

GCI logo Jeff Courey - Chief Operating Officer

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