In most hotels, a small sign, placed in the bathroom, invites guests to hang their towels so they do not wash and save the planet. A little reflection on this innocuous gesture.
An effective industrial process
First of all, hotels have industrial laundries facilities in the building or have contracts with such facilities. The machines used have evolved a lot in recent years. They are more efficient, use less detergent and more environmentally friendly ones, consume less water. The cycles have been optimized to reduce washing temperatures, …
But the basic rule in sustainable development, beyond reduction and optimization, or even recycling, is non-use; which could be called in lean language: waste reduction.
It is according to this principle that the hotel invite us to remove the “waste” of the daily washing of towels.
What is added value for the customer
In continuous improvement, the loss is defined in relation to the added value, or more precisely, the lack of added value in the eyes of the customer. As a hotel guest, what is the added value of my stay in a hotel: a clean, heated, quiet, with free WIFI and a warm welcome. Having clean towels every day is really not part of my need. At home I use the same towels and sheets for several days and it does not bother me. When I sleep several nights at the hotel, it is not to have clean clothes every day. The service offered must always be put in perspective with the needs, the expectations of the client.
The hoteliers put a green touch on this gesture, it exists, but they could have put a lean touch on it: “help us keep the price of the room at the same level”, which is probably also one of their motivations, but which probably would not have the same impact.
Always meet the needs of the customer, the over-quality leads to a loss of competitiveness. The sub-quality a loss of market share and customer confidence.
In addition, read the article by Eric Jaffe, he gives the results of a study that shows that the rate of re-use of the towel is even better when the message invites to imitate others.