An essential item in every hotel room…

The Hotel industry is becoming more and more important every day, it’s expanding due to the large bloom in tourism and leisure.
With so many hotels, every little detail can be a deciding factor in whether the guest stays at one over the competition; this means the hotel has to offer the best quality products they can and also amenities for the guest to feel comfortable and at-home.
Depending on the class and type of hotel, the products they offer vary. 4/5 star hotels can offer bathing suits, luxury slippers or even electronical devices to their client. On the otherhand, hotels with 3 stars or less might not even offer an item as important and essential as slippers.

While it may seem like a trivial item, most hotel guests agree that it provides a very gratifying feeling to arrive to your new room and see a pair of slippers waiting for you to wear them.
Now, while there are still some (fewer and fewer as times passes, thankfully) hotels that continue using plastic slippers so that they don’t have to provide new ones for each customer, this has proven to be very unsanitary as it can provide a great deal of diseases.

WIth a disposable slipper you can avoid these problems, and provide the guest with a pair never worn before ones. Another great reason is because no matter how clean your hotel floor is, guests will never be comfortable to walk around barefoot, and to avoid them from slipping by just wearing socks, it’s great to be able to provide non-skid sole slippers. They’ll feel warm, soft and comfortable! And because they’re disposable you don’t have to worry about cleaning them afterwards, they can be offered to the guests as a gift (even though mosts guests take them anyway).

 

In Caractere we have many different types to offer, according to our clients needs.
From our STANDARD slippers, which is very affordable for any and every hotel, and while it’s our simplest slipper, it’s very high quality and will be liked by anyone who visits the hotel; to our PRESTIGE slippers which are the most high quality of the bunch, they have a velvet-like touch and a thicker sole than the others, they´re truly made for luxury hotels and have guests raving about them.The majority of our slippers are customizable; we give the client the chance to pick what colors they want (from the ones we carry, otherwise we can make slippers of a specific color if the client is willing to order our standard minimum quantity for special orders), the piping colors, the thickness of the sole, logo, etc.

chausson_hotel-slipper_prestige_taupe_pantofflen

 

We offer samples and free quotations, so if you’re interested don’t hesitate to call (+44 (0) 20 3608 1542) and/or e-mail us (info@caractere-paris.com) and we’ll get back to you asap!

 

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Disposable mattress protectors for hotels, hostels, B & Bs…

Get less complaints and more satisfaction – Helps combat hair that can become embedded in bed sheets or mattress, stains, dust and dirt and to ease the daily care of the rooms in hotel establishments.

“I found pubic hair on the mattress of my room” (from a review on TripAdvisor).

How many times have you seen negative reviews on trip advisor? Too many! And, often they involve only the bed. Travelers from all over the world have had unpleasant experiences in their accommodations, including luxury establishments! Travel blogs offer advice on hygiene and tell their experiences with filth and disorganization.

Our mattress protectors are placed on the mattress and you can put a sheet over them for maximum protection, this forms a layer that protects the mattress. They are also a great help to reduce costs and time, since traditional sheets and mattress protectors are expensive to wash. When using our mattress protectors, you will not risk your guests finding hairs, dust, or stains.

l_drap-housse-nuitranquille-3

 

  • Protects the mattress from signs of wear
  • Mites under control – The use of the mattress protector eliminates the presence of mites in the bed.
  • Lower risk of allergies – Reducing the presence of mites also reduces the risk of an allergic reaction to those who are sensitive to dust.
  • Less risk of receiving customer complaints and negative reviews online.
  • They help reduce the time and costs of cleaning and maintaining the laundry service.
  • They can also be used to deal with incontinence problems of the elderly and the children.
  • Semi-durable. They can last up to six weeks. After its use, you can place it in the plastic recycling container.
  • 100% recyclable
  • Mattress protectors offer excellent customer service while helping to reduce costs and time of room maintenance.

 

TYPES OF MATTRESS PROTECTORS

For hotels and B & B

The basic model – 100% water resistant. A subtle but effective protection.

NUIT TRANQUILLE model – semi-waterproof and breathable.

NUIT Ideal model 100% waterproof, breathable and silent. High technology.

Most economical models:

Plate model with elastic – 100% water resistant – not adjustable to mattress, this item includes two rubber bands that allow you to place it on mattresses or stretchers of different sizes.

Leader in the production and distribution of disposable linen in Europe, Caractere Paris offers a wide variety of models and sizes, having to adapt to the different types of mattresses found in France, Spain, Germany and Italy.

Inspired by our experience with international clients, the next article will be about the different ways of calling bed linen and will be titled: “Linen in Five Languages. Five Different Ways to Sleep” Till next time!

And you, what do you take from hotels? Is Taking Hotels’ Bathrobes Stealing?

Some people like to take many things from hotels and some people forget things they brought with them. They’ve taken everything from a grand piano, various antique watches, a stone pig, a heavy marble fireplace, even a live lobster. They have left a dead goat, a scared hamster. a cinerary urn, various dentures, wigs of different colours, a parrot, parakeets, prosthetic legs, a glass eye, pyjamas, men and women’s underwear.  Once, a bondage kit, including a whip, was left in a hotel in London by a guest who loved English discipline.

With the items and the abandoned hardware left in these hotels, they could create various museums of the bizarre.

The balance leans towards the side of the people who take an unimportant souvenir home with them while passing through the hotel. Most choose as many of the amenities as they can that the hotel offers.

Who has not ever thrown into their suitcase: bottle of shampoo, sewing kit, comb, toothbrush, matchbox, pencil, a pen or one of those indescribable showering hats that they will never use? Or that same beautiful ashtray that you already have at home? You don’t feel guilty though, your kleptomania is moderate. The hotels leave those amenities there for the guests to freely take. No, the hair dryer is not an amenity. Nor is the bathrobe.

The electronic gadgets and the batteries of the remotes are real hits. In some hotels, dishes and fairly complete cutlery sets, with monograms shining for the world to see, are considered ‘collectables’. I know a specialist surgeon who, in addition to being hands-on in the operating room, is an artist at juggling cups and tankards. His already vast collection is filled from hotels, bars and restaurants on 5 continents.

Even the doting and sinuous Katy Perry acknowledges having made mischief. “I take the pillows, I’m like the princess and the pea. I like to sleep squishy” she declared on one occasion.

 The rogue’s adventures also includes refilling bottles from the minibar with water or tea. Changing old and faded duvet covers from home with the new ones of the hotel, (just changing the cover and stating that they haven’t touched it) There are people with screwdrivers who take the door knobs, towel rails, hair dryers, toilet roll holders, lamps, bulbs, stereos and TVs. Nightstands that fly away along with their Gideon’s bibles; and bibles even say on the pages inside of them “Thou shalt not steal”.

The common spaces are not spared either. According to British newspaper, “The Daily Telegraph”, a London hotel spent a fortune on floral decorations and motifs. Many were ‘borrowed’ and made into makeshift birthday or anniversary gifts by forgetful husbands.

Where does taking a souvenir end and the body of a crime begin? The towel, that obscure object of desire (although they are almost always white), marks the border between what the hotel considers normal and the guest considers a memento from the visit. Hundreds of thousands of items disappear every year from hotels across the world, which is a huge cost for the big hotel chains, especially as it helped to raise the price of cotton for manufacture of the linen..

The measures to prevent it are varied. From electronic minibars that register the items being taken out and automatically add it to the bill, to small microchips in all the towels, sheets and bathrobes.

In a hotel in Tokyo, they have this notice to all the guests, “Guests, please do not steal these towels. If that’s not the case, please don’t read this note.” Other places are more subtle and announce in the bathroom: “If you are interested in our bathrobes, you can purchase a new one at reception for 50 euros. If you prefer to take one that has been used, we will charge it to your account.” The more imaginative hotels go as far as stamping their towels and putting labels on ashtrays like this:
“Stolen courtesy of (hotel name)”.

And you, what do you take from hotels?

A day in Paradise or how to work in a 5 stars hotel

Hotel room in West LondonThey are the cornerstones of the 5 star hotel in West London. This is certainly the view of the head housekeeper, Marieta Polska, the Director of the housekeeping section of the palace. “Without them, there’s no hotel and even less luxury.”

Start of the day: 7 am. Clients are departing or arriving, others continue their stay in one of the 153 rooms and suites where the rate varies between £300 and £3,500 per night.

The head housekeeper gives the instructions for the day. The golden rule: everything must be perfect. Here, the household are technicians. The furniture is made of precious wood; there are marble floors… “We use specific products for each of these materials,” explains George Brown, the Manager of the hotel.

“On the mirrors or tiles in the bathroom, no smears. On the sheets, no folds! Doing the housework at home is one thing but in a hotel with 5 stars, it is very much another!” said Marieta Polska. “There may also be special instructions, adds the Director. For example: spread rose petals on the bed; place a gift; a bottle of champagne; remove alcohol from the minibar and replace toiletries with other products according to customer’s request.”

pillow for hotelFrancesca, one of the four nannies of the establishment, on the subject of pillows: “Some do not want pillows, others want more. Once, a client requested 12!

Throughout the day, the head housekeeper controls with precision the tasks that are performed. “In this business, you need the sense of detail”, she insists. Not only this… being a hotel housekeeper in a large hotel is an art. You need to have the flawless look – uniform, tight bun and light makeup – a look and a sense of discretion. “You have to keep composure and smile at any moment; even when the customer gets annoyed or requests the impossible”, adds Marieta. The highest achievement for the housekeeping staff is that clients forget that you are always around but at the same time you are always available for them, and he or she knows this. “Hotel housekeepers are in the front line,” declares Marieta Polska. “Whether a customer has a message or a requirement, it is assigned to us to deliver.

A housekeeper must be versatile, reactive and master several languages. Marieta recalls a situation where “A client, scheduled for an appointment, had a problem with the fastener on her dress. We had to find a solution in minutes.”

At 1 pm, it is the turn of the evening team to take over the service. One of its missions is called ‘The coverage service.’ During dinner, they must prepare rooms for the night. A clean bathroom, carpet slippers at the foot of the bed, a breakfast menu for the next day…

“When recruiting, we hire staff with experience, professionals who have already held positions in major hotels, says the Director.” We also take in young learners; people undergoing special training at ones of the best schools in the UK ”.

“In short, we are looking for rare gems that have a passion for the profession.” concludes the head housekeeper.

AirBnB in the UK: Trend or Necessity for BnB Owners?

Logo of Airbnb

Airbnb’s logo


 

Originally a relatively small website created to connect hosts and travellers, Airbnb expanded at an astronomical pace over the past few years. Today, the site offers its services to more than three million people per year around the globe. Some consider the growth a result of the injection of more than $120 million in venture capital a few years ago. Others consider it a product of word of mouth advertising among satisfied users. Either way, the spike in popularity means property owners have added an abundance of new listings, which now total more than 300,000 options in 192 countries. Despite recent  reporting of scandals (discussed below), Airbnb opens a world of opportunity for inn and Bed and Breakfast owners who want more exposure and clients.

A shining example of a new movement termed the “sharing economy,” AirBnb provides a direct link between the guest and the host without the need to go through an intermediary. Of course, the site takes a small commission on each transaction, a fee added in to the booking price. Airbnb co-founder Joe Gebbia spoke as a headliner of this year’s LeWeb conference in London, which focused on the sharing economy as its theme. In his own words, “the story of Airbnb is really the underdog story.” It all started when he and his flatmates decided to rent out airbeds in their living room (hence the origin of the name) to business travellers who had come to San Francisco to attend conferences. From its humble beginnings, Gebbia says he “wanted to create an experience for our guests: more than just a place to sleep. We wanted to cook breakfast in the morning, we wanted to provide a subway map for our guests, pick them up from the airport…”

In effect, the roommates formed an improvised Bed and Breakfast in their own apartment. Surprisingly, Gebbia and his other co-founder Brian Chesky managed to rake in $1,000 rather quickly. A third co-founder, Nathan Blecharczyk, joined the team and helped create the first proper website for the service, originally known as Airbedandbreakfast. To gain better name recognition, the group chose to shorten their name to Airbnb in 2009.

Worth a look: This Airbnb infographic “10 Million Guest Nights Booked” by Kelli Anderson

Once on the road to success, it was only a matter of time until Airbnb ascended the ranks of travel websites. Gebbia revealed some of the keys to his business advancing in this difficult economy: hire staff in the other countries, expand the community of hosts and plan meetups for users. For example, the site announced one such occasion in London the day before the LeWeb conference. Gebbia explained, “Entrepreneurship is about connecting two dots in a new and different way… My advice for aspiring entrepreneurs out there is to marry the problem. Find a problem that you’re so close to that you can empathise with it in a way that others can’t… You can see it so closely, that it gives you that ability to connect the two dots together” (1).

According to Dennis Jones, the CEO of the mobile phone and card transaction specialist Judo Payments, one cannot deny the role of mobile phones in people’s daily lives today. The shift from shopping in retail stores to internet-based vendors, and also from using computers to mobile phones and tablets, also coincides with a revolution in the hospitality industry. As far as parallels, Jones identifies companies like Airbnb, “driven by the sharing economy… are cutting into hotels, car sharing services, even plane sharing services” (2).

Now, a word of warning. Some bad always seems to accompany the good, right? With every decision comes the consequences. While registering for the site of course increases visibility, this practice can also incite the wrath of legal experts, especially in regions where one must license or register rooms for rent. Perhaps the most well-known episode of this sort of drama occurred this spring, when a prosecutor in the Big Apple brought apartment owner Nigel Warren before a judge for conducting unlicensed short-term room rentals. To defend their user (and in another sense, the site’s platform as a whole), Airbnb provided its own lawyers to help Warren out. Unfortunately, they lost the case, and the judge ordered the defendant to pay some $2,400 (£1,600) in fines (3).

Gebbia retorts to critiques about the site’s ambiguous legal status, “When the car was introduced in 1908, people could experience a brand new way to travel that was more efficient than a horse and buggy. Can you believe that cities tried to outlaw cars in the United States? Can you imagine driving a car for a year then having to go back to a horse and buggy? The policy-makers adjusted to meet the demands of the people. We believe it’s time for our invention, and it appears the world agrees” (1).

Founders of Airbnb

Airbnb’s founders

After the news broke of Warren’s plight, similar efforts arose in Amsterdam and Quebec to limit Airbnb’s ability to conduct business. Montreal hotel industry officials estimate that sites like Airbnb cause traditional accommodations to lose a massive amount of revenue through the diversion of reservations to property owners. Daniel Weinstock, Professor of Ethics at McGill University, brings up the memory of Napster, one of the earliest sites to pioneer sharing music online. Although authorities shut down Napster a decade ago, ultimately they made their efforts in vain, as music downloads (legal and otherwise) have never been more popular (4).

To respond to concerns about whether Airbnb’s growth necessarily means bad news for the traditional hotel industry, Gebbia stuck by the potential of his website for all sorts of rental locations, from small to large format. He continued with an illustration of this concept: “If you have a pie-chart of all the available combinations in a city, it’s not like we’re taking a slice out of the pie. We’re taking the pie and making it bigger” (1). Debatable? Perhaps, but as the age-old phrase says, “if you can’t beat them, join them!”

In fact, when one thinks about it, professional guesthouses and Bed and Breakfasts on AirBnb can take advantage of the best of both worlds. They can access the site’s click traffic without having to worry about the potential for legal concerns because they’ve already registered their properties. Plus, with an established reputation, these owners will rise above the rest when it comes to quality ratings on the site. At the very least, from the perspective of the traveller,  professional offerings usually guarantee privacy and cleanliness. Anyone who backpacked around Europe as a youth and stayed in hostels knows that these details count among the most important aspects of a comfortable night’s sleep, something shared rentals popular on Airbnb can’t always offer.

Finally, the company made great strides in its attempts to reassure users on both sides of the transactions. For example, they created a 24-hour crisis management hotline, added section of safety tips to the website, and “a link to contact the CEO.” In August, 2011, Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky wrote in a blog post that the site’s “trust and safety center has ‘tips’ for choosing guests and putting up the right postings.” The company also claims a $1 million (£600,000) “host guarantee,” a form of insurance to cover property damage and theft.

Airbnb homepage

The homepage of Airbnb’s website

So, should you list your property on Airbnb or not? Peter Tompkins, who started subletting his London flat one year ago, felt that overall it has proven a positive experience. The worst case scenario in his words happens when “a book goes missing or some cutlery goes out on a picnic and doesn’t return.” On the flip side, he states, “I have not yet had a visitor I actually disliked. And they are gone after a few days – unlike a flat sharer” (5). After a few simple clicks of the mouse, your property can join the online rental frenzy that has become Airbnb. With some luck and internet-savvy skills, soon the online traffic will translate into foot traffic for your business.

Whether you decide to list your guesthouses or bed and breakfasts on Airbnb or otherwise, don’t forget to check out Caractère’s lines of disposable towels, linens, bathrobes, spa wear and much, much more on our site specialized to cater to customers in the UK, Disposable Linen!

1. Dredge, Stuart. “Airbnb co-founder: ‘We believe it’s time for our invention, and it appears the world agrees.'” The Guardian, June 5, 2013. http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/appsblog/2013/jun/05/airbnb-leweb-london-joe-gebbia

2. Zainzinger, Vanessa. “Three thought-leaders on thinking big with mobile.” RealBusiness, May 28, 2013. http://realbusiness.co.uk/article/20058-three-thought-leaders-on-thinking-big-with-mobile

3. Stevenson, David. “City Insider: Growth – it’s back and it’s online.” Travel Weekly, June 06, 2013. http://www.travelweekly.co.uk/Articles/2013/06/06/44288/city+insider+growth+-+its+back+and+its+online.html

4. “Airbnb : une concurrence déloyale?” Radio Canada, June 4, 2013. http://www.radio-canada.ca/emissions/medium_large/2012-2013/chronique.asp?idChronique=296110

5. Heyden, Tom. “Airbnb battles: Would you stay with strangers?” BBC News Magazine, February 6, 2013. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-21339891