File this one under the strangest press release I've gotten so far this week: A low-water laundry system maker surveyed more than 1,000 U.S. and U.K. consumers to find out how towels impact the quality of the hotel guest experience. And guess what? They said that it matters—a lot. In fact, 84 percent said it influences their perception of the hotel brand, and 73 percent said towel quality influences their decision to return to that hotel brand in the future.
“The results of this study illustrate that travelers care quite a bit about the towels they use during hotel visits. Cleanliness, followed by softness, is top criteria for judging the quality of a towel,” said Jonathan Benjamin, global president, laundry, at Xeros. “The quality of the towels impact guest satisfaction, brand perception, as well as customer loyalty.”
And what makes for a good towel experience? Obviously, cleanliness came in first, followed by softness. High thread counts, not so much—that attribute of expensive, luxury towels came in dead last on the list. A fresh smell helps too, but it appears they did not ask about the impact of towel origami on the guest experience, much the pity! Eighty-five percent said they reuse their hotel towels out of concern for the environment, and more than three quarters said they value eco-friendly laundry practices. So if your hotel has a sign that says they won't replace it if it's hung up, don't replace it! It sounds like I'm not the only one who gets irked by that.
But are hotel guests really all that towel crazy? Apparently, they are, with a third saying they would write a negative online review if their towels weren't up to par. And more than half said they had already dissed a property due to their unhappiness with the towels. Who are these people??
So when you do a site inspection of your next meeting hotel, pay some extra attention to the towels. As Benjamin says in the press release, "Towels are a relatively unexplored branding touch point in the customer journey and has the potential to be an emotional tipping point turning a visitor into a loyal customer." Or a happy meeting participant, apparently.