Why do you keep changing my towels, when I don’t want you to?

Dear guest, to save the environment of our planet we need to conserve water and reduce the use of detergents. We ask for your help in doing so by only changing your towels if you leave them on the floor. Therefore, if you are prepared to use your towel one more day, please hang it on the rail

Who hasn’t seen signs with similar messages in hotels around the world, even in countries with abundant access to clean and fresh water. Tell me; do you really change your own towels daily? Well, I don’t and nobody I know of either. So, honestly, why would I expect it to happen just because I’m in a hotel.

Of course, we all understand that this idea of not changing towels has very little to do with the environment. It’s about saving money on cleaning, handling of laundry and reduced wear on towels – disguised as care for the environment. Just like when the airline (SAS for example) ask us to help them save the environment by not leaving our newspapers on the seats when leaving the aircraft, but to bring them with us and shove them down a chute after leaving the aircraft. It just might be a way of reducing the time the aircraft is stuck in cleaning on the ground, speeding up turn-around time, rather for the sake of the environment. What do you think?

So, I open the soap package, wash my hands, take a shower and…. leave the towels hanging, go to work (to the beach or whatever is the cause of my visit) and come back after the cleaning staff have been around, doing their thing.

What do I see, when entering the bathroom on my return? I guess you’ve seen it too. Pristine-looking towels and a new, unbroken package of soap.

This is exactly what happened to me on 15 April in Marriott, Milano.

Dear hotels, please instruct your cleaning staff to leave my towels alone! Even though I don’t believe for a single second that your towel handling initiative has anything to do with environmental care, your environmental lip service statement would be just a little bit less annoying if your guests actually could see that the towels haven’t been changed? And please tell them that I find it utterly wasteful to throw away soaps that have been used only once or twice. I don’t do that at home either.

On the serious side of things, I bring up this example to illustrate the importance of walking the talk in everything you do these days. Paying lip service to environmental care but: 1) doing it for such obvious reasons of profitability and 2) then not even ensuring that it is evident that you actually carried it through, raises doubt about you walking the talk in other – maybe more important – aspects.

If you believe your guests are stupid enough to believe reducing towel turnover has anything to do with your environmental conscience, in which other ways do you try to fool us?

PS While you’re busy passing this on to your cleaning staff, could you please ask them not to rearrange my stuff by the sink, apparently to highlight that they have been doing their job.?I realize anyway that they have been around, because I didn’t make that bed.

Author: TheSocialSwede

Enabling People-Powered Businesses by developing leadership, motivation and collaboration for employee engagement. Now as independent, previously at IBM.

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