Measure It - Save It
If you don’t measure it, you won’t save it. When it comes to labour in a hotel, almost every position should be based on occupancy metrics. One of the departments most commonly overlooked is the laundry department. We all have metrics for how many rooms a room attendant should clean in a day, but how much laundry should a laundry attendant do?
This number is more variable hotel to hotel than one might think. First, we’ll assume your laundry equipment is big enough for the job. However, you also need to look at what the guest expectation is for the hotel. If you are dealing with a non-luxury property where guests don’t expect their linen to be ironed, this will save you some substantial time. Another, and perhaps the most important factor that varies property to property, is your room type mix and leisure/corporate dynamic. The more leisure guests you have, the more linen will be used. If you have a property that has predominantly two queen rooms, in a leisure market, you will be doing a considerable amount more laundry than the opposite.
Now that you know where you fit in, it’s time to establish what an efficient laundry department looks like to you. The easiest solution is to use a metric based on a set amount of time allocated per occupied room in the hotel. This number should not change often, however, you may find you change the number from time to time due to seasonality (IE. more leisure travel in the summer). So how does this work?
To simplify and average results, your budgeted number should be done on a weekly basis. When you are making your schedule the week before, you want to forecast how many rooms you believe will be sold in the week. Within this schedule you will want to schedule shifts that are “on call” so you have the flexibility to increase your capacity on the week if needed (or cut back if needed). You will also want to ensure you have an adequate PAR level so your hotel can survive a missed laundry day or shift without operations crippling.
It is best practice to schedule a laundry shift every day during set hours as this position may end up being your flex position in many ways. IE they may be required to do daily common area cleaning (set a allocated time to this and deduct it from your budgeted laundry hours), however, they may get called up to help for breakfast or some emergency help in housekeeping. It’s always a good idea to have this primary day time position cross trained. After this shift is set everyday, it’s time to layer on with strictly laundry shifts. These shifts can come on in the afternoon or evening. Attracting laundry staff in evening shifts is usually quite popular as many individuals are looking for part time evening jobs.
OK this is all fine and dandy, but what’s the number!? Well, we find it to be anywhere from 5 to 8 minutes per occupied guest room for a standard non extended stay property. If gauging extended stay, you would deduct your extended stay room from your calculation and assign them your own metric, ie 2 minutes per occupied extended stay guest room. What does this all look like?
Lets say you use 6 minutes per guest room.
Assume you're going to average 100 guest rooms per night. (100 x 7 days a week ) = 700 occupied rooms, (700 occupied rooms x 6 minutes per occupied room) = 4200 minutes. (4200 minutes / 60 minutes) = 70 hours.
You now have 70 hours to play with in your week. Schedule appropriately so you are putting more people on your peak laundry days and the minimums on your non-peak days. When you’re done your week, check to see if you hit your metrics. Now you have something to work towards and a schedule that makes sense. If this seems to complicated, well there is software that automates all these calculations for this as well. Hey, I guess not everything in hospitality is exciting…