The owners of the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza hotels, the Intercontinental Hotel Group, has reported linen and towel outsourcing issues as laundry services grapple to keep up with limited turnaround times due to a lack of staff.
“The laundry supply chain spans staffing challenges, distribution and logistics,” Kenneth Macpherson, Chief Executive Officer of IHG Europe, the Middle East and Africa told the Financial Times.
In a bid to tackle the shortage, the group said they had to limit daily bed linen changes at some hotels for multi-night guests.
Richard Cook, general manager of the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh, said they were lacking bed sheets, towels, restaurant napkins and tablecloths, the FT reports.
Other hotel owners have limited guest check-in times to provide time for laundry to return the linen to the hotel.
Daniel Browne, the owner of Blossom & Browne’s Sycamore which washes linen for various hotels in London, told the paper: “We live on the knife edge. Everyone is under pressure.”
Blossom & Browne had to halve its 140-strong staff during the Covid-19 pandemic. It has not been able to employ enough staff to support the hotel since it reopened.
David Stevens, CEO of the Textile Services Association, which represents commercial laundry companies, said the industry lacks 4,000 of its 25,000 staff.
It comes as various industries across the UK are being affected by staff shortages and disruptions.
Boss Robert Foye said the firm was being hit by external staff shortages, especially those working among suppliers in distribution and delivery.
Mr Foye told the BBC: “These shortages, if they continue, could definitely impact Christmas. We are trying to get ahead of it, but it does depend on the situation for the entire transport and trucking industry in the UK.”