What Is The Best Practice Par Level?

1 September 2021

It’s a common industry standard that the par level for hotel bed linens should be 3;

  • 1 set in use in the guest room
  • 1 set being processed at the laundry
  • 1 set in housekeeping closets

But many are asking, is the third set really necessary?

While many can get by with a par level of 2 for cost-cutting purposes, best practice would suggest a par level of 3, in reality, is much more cost-effective in several ways – from shorter linen life to customer satisfaction and service delays.

Reason #1: Sheeting Needs A REST

One reason for the day on the shelf is to allow the sheeting to recover from the laundering and drying process.

It is all in the structure of the cotton fibre. Much of its strength comes from its water content. When the water content is removed from the sheet, the fibre becomes weaker and more brittle, losing up to 20% of its strength. Dried-out cotton not only feels harsher to touch, but it is also more vulnerable to breakage, abrasion, tearing, fraying and other damage which would end its useful life. That would mean replacing the sheet more frequently, thus driving up costs.

Shorter turns between the laundry and guest room calls for more frequent washings. If items are to be put back on the bed the same day they are laundered, they would have to be dried on higher heat settings in order to meet the tight schedule. All this speeds up the deterioration of the sheet even more — and the vicious cycle continues.

Fortunately, there’s a simple solution. Another feature of cotton fibre is that it’s hydrophilic, meaning that it attracts water from the atmosphere. Simply leaving it to rest on the closet shelf for at least 24 hours allows it to rehydrate and regain its strength.

Reason #2: Increased Laundry Costs

A lower par level means that sheets must be washed more frequently. Degradation of the quality of sheets is just one of the associated costs. The property will also require more labor because the staff must wash several smaller loads instead of one larger one. Energy and water usage will also increase, as well as the consumption of cleaning chemicals.

As accommodation providers, we must factor in all costs associated with reducing par levels to ensure we are ultimately saving money in the long run.

Reason #3: Customer Service Failures

A fast turnaround between laundry and guest’s rooms does not allow for the inevitable issues that crop up out of nowhere. In an industry where service and sleep are what we sell, guests have high expectations and a small glitch in our procedures can have a snowball effect into rooms not being ready for guests as they arrive. If closets remain fully stocked while another set of sheets is being laundered, you have a one-day buffer to solve any issue that may arise due to equipment or resource.

So, is the third set really necessary? Well, some may still beg to differ but in view of doing what we do best (selling sleep & service) in the most cost-effective and manageable way, 3 par sheeting seems the way to go.

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