Suppliers Roundtable: Keeping house

The Middle East's housekeeping providers have their say on the field's latest developments and products

Mühldorfer’s pillows are in high demand by hotel guests.
Mühldorfer’s pillows are in high demand by hotel guests.

Meet the experts

Sonja Allen, Mid-range hospitality specialist, Guest Supply.

Tamara Hribar, General manager, Hyla Electrical Equipment Trading LLC.

Vincent Vandergeeten, Sales & marketing manager, Ascolia N.V.

Elisabeth Hintermann, CEO, Mühldorfer GmbH & Co KG.

What are the latest developments in hospitality housekeeping supplies and how do these affect mid-market hotels?

SONJA ALLEN: In recent years, the Middle East mid-market segment has been slightly overlooked in favour of the luxury market. Although the day-to-day challenges between the two markets may be similar, amenity budget expectations differ quite considerably. It is, therefore, important to develop products that offer quality to the mid-market but also consider the budget constraints faced by the sector.

TAMARA HRIBAR: One of the more noticeable developments in the hospitality industry is that hoteliers are now more focused on sustainability; this focus is extending from hotel operations to the hotel supply chain. Consequently, hospitality providers, including those in the housekeeping supplies and cleaning products such as ourselves, feel a compelling urgency to address this need.

VINCENT VANDERGEETEN: The latest developments in the hospitality housekeeping supplies certainly involve sustainable solutions. There is a very strong focus on environment friendly products as they benefit hotels in terms of image and energy savings.

What is your bestselling offering for the hospitality industry?

ALLEN: For mid-range hoteliers, we believe that our new ABS 330ml and 553ml non-refillable, biodegradable, lockable dispensers, with their sleek and modern wall mounted design, will be top sellers. The ABS dispenser offers a slightly larger than average size (of 330ml vs the standard 300ml) and incorporates a zero wastage function, enabling a highly cost effective solution.

HRIBAR:  Our bestselling product is the HYLA GST, which stands for Geyser Technology. It is a top quality, multi-purpose air and room cleaning machine, made in Germany, and has been on the market for 26 years, available in over 60 countries. In the UAE, Hyla has been available for 13 years and we currently supply over 200 hotels and hotel apartments.

VANDERGEETEN: Ascolia has developed Mytea, a 0.6L kettle (just two cups). It saves water, energy and money, directly impacting a hotel’s costs. In our housekeeping trolley production, it is the Atlas range, with an anodised lightweight aluminium structure, to optimise manoeuvrability. Aluminium is about 35% lighter than metal. Housekeepers are always thanking us for focusing on providing lightweight trolleys.

ELISABETH: Our bestselling offering is the Premium Collection. The secret behind the high quality of the processed down and feathers lies in the pure, calcium-free mountain spring water of the Bavarian Forest. After being washed in the fresh spring water and dried in an airflow, the dust and germ-free feathers move on to the ultra-modern filling plant where they are used to fill the bedding.  The duvets and pillows are carefully made and finished using ecologically cultivated cotton. The luxury-look fabric is soft to the touch and meets the highest environmental standards.

What new products has your firm launched?

ALLEN: Specifically designed for the Middle East, our new mid-market amenities are due to launch in Q3. With a full range of singles and six sleek, modern branded dispenser designs under the categories of ‘traditional’, ‘experiential’, ‘millennial’, ‘contemporary’, ‘eco & spa’, we are able to offer a style to suit all mid-range hoteliers.

HRIBAR: The new Hyla EST, which is capable of removing fine dust, allergens and mites with a water filter. The vacuumed dust and dirt is no longer collected in bags but bound in water and can be disposed of with the water. This process leaves our system cleaned up to 99%. The Hyla EST also comes with a new wet cleaning attachment to remove stains and spots, providing an all-in-one solution for housekeepers.

VANDERGEETEN: Our latest product is the motorised housekeeping trolley, which is as light as a feather. This product helps to ease a difficult job and optimises the health of a housekeeping attendant. We have also realised, based on feedback, that it has extra benefits for the operator. It helps to increase staff productivity and reduce work absenteeism. We have extended this motorisation for our Balaton 800 minibar restocking trolley.

ELISABETH: Our new product line “Bio-Nature” by Mühldorfer emphasises natural materials of the highest quality, characterised mainly by the selection of the raw materials. As part of a new programme, we are using carefully chosen cotton qualities from pesticide-free farming subject to a particularly gentle process. Unbleached and uncoloured, an even Mako thread of the highest quality is the result. The cotton qualities used by Mühldorfer distinguish  themselves under ecological considerations significantly from conventionally produced textiles.

What are KEY issues for mid-market hoteliers when it comes to housekeeping supplies?

ALLEN: Housekeeping supplies are an integral part of the overall budget for any hotel, with demand for a pleasing guest experience and RevPAR being a constant challenge. It is important to listen to hoteliers and appreciate how their market needs can fluctuate. It is invaluable for Guest Supply to meet with mid-range hoteliers to understand their different needs to develop a range of amenity offerings that help them address these challenges. The new ABS dispenser offers the zero wastage function and a biodegradable replaceable cartridge, enabling hotels to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly products.

HRIBAR: Pressures on both procurement budgets and operating expenses are constant for the mid-market hotel space and we understand these challenges at Hyla. To support mid-market hotels, we have decided to offer an installment payment plan for Hyla purchases, payable up to six months. As an environment friendly, green machine, the Hyla uses water as a filter with no need for disposables so housekeeping departments can keep their operating expenses low in the long-term. Because a disposable filter is no longer needed, the Hyla achieves suction power at 730W which other vacuum cleaners can only do with 2,000W and empty dust bags. This means considerable savings in electricity costs, which is important for mid-market hotels.

VANDERGEETEN: Mid-market hoteliers focus on cost savings and we help to reduce expenses by offering complete concepts at a reasonable rate. There are many examples such as small kettles, low-powered hairdryers (1600 instead of 2000), etc. Ascolia is a very flexible company and customises products for such clients.

What other news can you share?

ALLEN: Having recently acquired Gilchrist & Soames, Guest Supply has increased its offerings for the luxury & mid-range market. Hoteliers can access our new microsite by going to the Hotelier Middle East website and clicking on BOH for more details.

VANDERGEETEN: To improve our services to clients in ME&A, Ascolia has appointed Subhrendu Satpathy as our new regional manager based in Dubai.

ELISABETH: All our customers are very welcome to visit our factory in the Bavarian Forest in Germany. Furthermore, we offer housekeeping trainings and visits into our company in Haidmühle in the Bavarian Forest, Germany.

Meet the experts

Sonja Allen, Mid-range hospitality specialist, Guest Supply

Tamara Hribar, General Manager, Hyla Electrical Equipment Trading LLC

Vincent Vandergeeten, Sales & marketing manager, Ascolia N.V

Elisabeth Hintermann,  CEO, Mühldorfer GmbH & Co KG

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