Why Hotels Should Encourage Guests to Reuse Their Towels

Why Hotels should encourage guests to reuse their towels

These days, it is wise to assume consumers in all types of industries are interested in energy efficiency — and in supporting brands that share the same principles. Whether it’s for environmental reasons like reducing waste, or economic ones like eliminating costly consumption, almost everyone favors the idea of controlling the excessive use of our planet’s valuable resources.

Because the costs of electricity and gas, specifically, are much higher than water costs in the United States, these tend to be the resources companies focus on conserving. It can be difficult, then, to motivate these same companies to turn their attention to water conservation as well. Fortunately, in the last decade or so, we have seen one area of business rise up to make a change in their daily water habits: the hospitality industry.

Why Are Hotels Concerned With Water Conservation?

If you picked a hotel at random to book for the night, there is a good chance your room would feature a small card or brochure suggesting you reuse your bath towel, if possible. What is the motivation behind this movement, and why does it seem like almost every hotel is doing it? There are a few possible incentives.

Financial: The prices of all natural resources go up regularly, thanks to inflation and other factors, water being among them. Eventually, everyone is going to need to start taking a look at how to be more efficient to keep administrative costs down while utility bills rise.

From cleaner oceans to improved drinking water, there are many motivators for minimizing waste and damage

Environmental: At the core of many energy- and water-efficiency conversations is the desire to ensure a better tomorrow for future generations. From cleaner oceans to improved drinking water, there are many motivators for minimizing waste and drainage for the sake of humankind in the long run. In their marketing materials for encouraging guests to reuse towels, many hotels will include verbiage that speaks to these ambitions.

Governmental: While saving money and the environment are undoubtedly crucial to government agencies, there is also the fact that 40 out of 50 state water managers predict water shortages in parts of their states in the next 10 years. To propose eco-friendly solutions relating to protecting the American people, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set water-conserving programs in motion, which many companies and households have embraced.

Now, you may still have doubts. Are these motivators enough to make a real change? Even though the sample size of time is still small, there is evidence the hard conservation work of hotels is paying off across the nation.

How Do Hotels Impact National Water Usage?

Every structure in the American framework, from average households to giant corporate office buildings, plays a role in the consumption of resources nationwide. Every faction balances productive use and unnecessary waste in its own way. Out of the total water usage in the United States, the EPA estimates the commercial and institutional sector takes up 17 percent. Fifteen percent of water use in these facilities occurs within hotels and similar places of lodging.

Where do these withdrawals happen most? It’s not swimming pools or kitchens that use up the most substantial amount of water, but rather, restrooms are the most prominent culprit. As you can’t expect guests to stop using the toilet, one might think water usage in hotels is a problematic phenomenon to address, but tied for second place for most water usage are laundry and landscaping. The first of these is something everyone, including guests, can pitch in on.

The EPA has a goal to help hotels gain a competitive edge in the ever-increasingly eco-friendly marketplace while also reducing their contribution to climate change. Since 2006, the WaterSense program has helped Americans save 2.1 trillion gallons of water and 284 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, and it doesn’t show any signs of stopping anytime soon.

To further these efforts in the hospitality sector, WaterSense offers solutions hotel designers and managers can take a look at to improve water usage in restrooms and landscaping as well, such as water-efficient fixtures and irrigation systems. They even recommend particular washer and dryer appliances to help reduce water waste in their laundry departments, thanks to their H2Otel Challenge launched back in 2014, but the most popular solution for encouraging hotels to minimize their water consumption lies in promoting reuse of hotel towels among guests.

If you own or manage a hotel, this is good news! Encouraging the reuse of towels is low-cost and requires minimal restructuring of your current procedures, so you’ll be able to start saving money and water in no time.

What Are the Benefits of Reusing Hotel Towels?

Let’s take a moment to visualize those water savings and what they might mean to your bank account. Washing your towels and linens less can impact your business, especially the financial side of it, in a few different ways:

  • Fewer loads of laundry directly translate to less water consumption.
  • A reduced pile of total laundry can mean you’ll be able to run smaller towel laundry loads for a much more efficient clean.
  • A reduced pile of total laundry can mean you'll be able to run smaller towel laundry loads for a much more efficient clean

  • Less laundry to do also means a reduction in sewer, energy and labor costs for savings you may never see the end of.
  • Taking environmentally conscious steps toward reducing waste looks appealing to potential consumers, so your change in philosophy could give you an edge over your competitors, leading to higher guest return rates and new business.

If saving resources and saving money aren’t convincing enough as to why you should consider this approach, there are plenty of different reasons to embark on a water-conservation journey with your towel and linen laundering. Here are a few.

Towel lifespan: It’s not just about fewer washings. Towels can experience a lot of wear and tear during the gathering, hamper-stuffing, drying, folding, storing and relocating they have to go through every time they get rewashed. Bath towels only truly require washing after three uses for hygienic purposes, and you may decide to impose laundry after three days of hotel stay, but even then, you are cutting down two-thirds of the regular use your towels are enduring.

Bath towels only truly require washing after three uses for hygienic purposes

Convenience for guests: If your guest has hung up their bath towel after its first use, they will know exactly where their towel is the next time they need to use it. Feeling like everything is where you left it in a hotel bathroom can perhaps be a small luxury that adds a homey feel to a hotel experience. But if some guests prefer the full pampering experience and would rather have their space reorganized daily, they can always opt to have your housekeeping staff launder their towels as usual.

Efficiency for cleaning staff: Simplifying your hotel towel-changing policy might be a relief that will speed up turnover times during peak business seasons for your room-cleaning staff. If a towel is hanging up, rather than lying bunched on the floor, in a room where the guests will be staying another night, your cleaning staff can leave it untouched. Similarly, you can encourage guests to reuse their bedsheets, as people rarely change their sheets every day at home. Your cleaning staff can then spend more time on the rooms where you expect new guests to check in.

As promising as all these benefits are, you may have gathered that, ultimately, it is not entirely up to you whether your guests choose to participate in a reusable towel initiative or not. Somehow, you will have to market your new program, and do so in a way that will yield the best results.

How Can You Encourage Your Guests to Reuse Their Towels?

Among the throngs of hotel chains, there are countless approaches to promoting your towel reuse system to guests in a way that excites them and motivates them to take part. Here are three of the most common techniques:

  • Provide literature that emphasizes the reduced environmental impact you desire for the hotel.
  • Indicate it is hotel policy, and guests must comply.
  • Tell guests everyone else is doing it, so they should too!

Of the three methods above, the one that has been universally most successful may surprise you. Rather than coercion or turning guests’ attention to saving the planet, numerous studies of hotel guest behaviors reveal a majority approach has led to the most turnover studies of hotel guest behaviors.

Hotel guests accepted change in their hotel habits much more readily when management told them most guests opt to reuse their towels, implying they would be the odd man out for leaving their towels on the floor. And, truthfully, you wouldn’t even be that far off to imply such a thing.

In 2014, 49.8 percent of surveyed hotel guests claimed they always reuse their towels

In 2014, when the momentum of reusing towels was in full swing in hotels all across the nation, 49.8 percent of surveyed hotel guests claimed they always reuse their towels, while another 38.8 percent claimed to reuse towels under the right circumstances. Only a mere 11 percent of guests refuse to reuse a towel, making those who do reuse them the vast majority.

Using this strategy to your advantage when marketing to your guests will surely help them see the benefit of reusing their towels and helping you reduce your carbon footprint as well, and realize big-time savings.

What Are Some Other Ways to Make Your Hotel Towels More Efficient?

Curious if there are other ways to reduce the costs associated with your hotel towels? Look no further, because Towel Super Center has you covered with all the best towel tips.

Wash efficiently: Make sure you start by washing and drying your towels separately from other linens and laundry types for the best clean possible. To save on energy costs, stay away from washing loads with hot water, as heat can actually damage your towels and drive up that electricity bill immensely. For a low-cost alternative to expensive fabric softeners, white vinegar can be your best friend for giving your towels extra fluff and preventing odors or fading. Any of these strategies can help your towels last for ages.

Don’t over-dry: Drying towels for too long can hurt the fibers of your towels, while also escalating your energy bill. Another tip is to always dry towels on low heat. If you have a way to line-dry, you can eliminate your dryer costs in this area entirely, and airing them out can keep mold away. Additionally, cut costs of drying by not using dryer sheets. You can add vinegar to the wash or use reusable dryer balls for that added softness without the continually added expense of fabric softeners.

Store kindly and cycle regularly: Folding and storing unused towels in a closet helps prevent them from collecting dust and keep them fresh for the next use. You don’t want musty towels to sit in hampers for too long, where moisture and mildew can strike unexpectedly, for example, in towels you have cleaned and maybe not thoroughly dried. Letting them breathe regularly by having your towels on rotation will allow you to extend the lifespan of your towels for added durability and lower replacement costs over time.

Use 100 percent cotton towels: For hotel use, 100 percent cotton is an excellent towel choice. Low-maintenance towels can mean enormous time and resource savings for you. Cotton towels also have a luxurious, plush feel that doesn’t go away, even after multiple loads of washing. They are highly durable and affordable enough for any budget to handle. Hotel cotton towels can have all the advantages of high-quality towels without added costs, helping you save money.

Buy and replace towels in bulk: Buying your towels in massive quantities can help you cover all your bases at a discounted rate. If you have to deal with towel loss often, you don’t want replacement costs to get you down. Stock up on the higher number of towels you need to operate your hotel successfully without feeling any extra burden. At Towel Super Center, we can help you get started on wholesale-priced bulk towels for the deepest discount on the market.

Buying the right towels, having the right amount on hand and treating them correctly can help you create the most energy-efficient towel procedures for your hotel. As your business thrives in explosive tourism seasons, you don’t want the costs of your hotel towels to be on your list of things to worry about. Thankfully, Towel Super Center is here to make it easy for you.

How Can Towel Super Center Help?

In the coming years, it will only become more and more standard for hotel guests to reuse their towels for the sake of improving water and energy efficiency. At Towel Super Center, we extend a warm thank you to all hotel and lodging facilities aiming to make the future brighter.

If more money savings can help further the cause, we are here to offer a variety of towel blends, types and sizes for all of your bulk hotel towel needs with only the highest-quality towel products. Throw in our speedy shipping and delivery services, and your guests will be eager to feel, enjoy, use — and reuse — your brand-new towels over and over again.

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