By Steve Craig, Pro Resort Housekeeping — On April 19, a colleague sent me this message and link:
“This article was in the VRMA newsletter as an education piece provided on the VRMA blog. If you have time, I would love to hear your thoughts on this. – 18 Tips for Washing Linens, by Susan Sternthal. InnStyle“
Well, I read the article- twice- and I must admit I am distressed that the professional association for vacation rental managers would waste their time printing such an article. Let me tell you why the article bothered me so much:
- First, let me say that I am not a member of VRMA, so this fact alone may cause anyone who reads this to discount what I have to say.
- But the purpose of the above, this article was not intended for professionally managed vacation rentals. It was written for those of us who process linens we personally own in our personal houses – when we have unlimited time to follow these guidelines.
- The only possible relation to vacation rental industry would be for those companies who launder the departure clean linens right in the property using the property owner’s household washer and dryer. And VRMA should never be publishing any article in support of this system because this system does not benefit the owner of the property, the company managing that property, or the rental guests.
- First, the author of this article has obviously never done a departure clean where they had to launder the linens right in the vacation rental property. Because if they had, they would realize that almost none of these tips apply to housekeepers who hate this system and whose sole goal is getting the linens done so they can get out of the property. Any property – anywhere – can be cleaned faster than the linens can be processed! That is a flat out fact that cannot be disputed. But this is not the fault of the author. Their article was just mis-used!!
- Laundering in the units is rife with issues: To keep from sitting around and waiting (especially if they are on piece rate) the housekeepers often do things like:
- Rinsing linens only because rinsing takes less time than proper washing.
- Not paying attention to stains because stained items need replacements and the entire replacement process under this system is extremely difficult to do. As a result, either the stained items are left for the guest anyway or the guest will be short their pars of linens because the housekeeper may not even report what and how many are stained.
- Guest find linens that are still damp. Why? Because in many dryers, especially stacked sets, the dryer vent throat is so clogged with lint a load takes forever to dry. In some condo projects dryers share the same venting stack and if more than one dryer in the stack is running – Ohmigawd!! I have timed loads of towels that take 70-75 minutes to dry! That is one load and the bigger the property, the more loads that are required creating an even greater need to conjure shortcuts.
- Colored terry has faded so that little matches and if replacements of stained or ruined linens were done, then the likelihood of those linens matching what the owner had provided may be quite slim.
- And there are many, many more issues I do not have the space to list here for fear of boring you!
The VRMA should be publishing articles urging small-start-up companies to NOT go to this system because it is not the easiest and most affordable system to maintain, although many think it is. Instead VRMA should be sharing detailed articles as to why this system is unacceptable, and sharing guidelines as to how to crate acceptable alternative systems.
About Steve Craig
Steve Craig is the recognized national authority on Vacation Rental Housekeeping. Steve started his adventure in housekeeping with his own cleaning company in 1984. Craig Services Management was actively servicing 13 resorts throughout the state of Florida by the time Steve sold it in 1986 and started his consulting business Pro Resort Housekeeping (email@example.com). Since that time Steve has consulted with over 220 vacation rental, vacation ownership and destination resorts throughout the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, and Great Britain. He has published over 800 articles and newsletters, including the Vacation Rental Housekeeping Professionals (VRHP) newsletter where he served as founder and director for 13 years, spoken at numerous industry conferences by NTC, ARDA, VRMA, FVRMA, CFRMA, Colorado Lodging Association, California Lodging Association and VRHP seminars, and designed and overseen installation of 17 on-premise laundries across the country. Throughout his entire career Steve has stayed abreast of cutting employee relations, legal and operational changes in the vacation rental housekeeping industry. Steve has worked directly with numerous product manufacturers to test their products and share his findings. From new product evaluations to labor laws, Steve has recognized, monitored, evaluated and shared their impacts on the vacation rental housekeeping industry with his VR View and in his VR Maintenance newsletter (www.proresort.net).