Can you really judge a hotel or resort by its towels? A recent survey by Xeros, creator of an ultra-low water laundry system, reveals that quality of towels plays a huge role in guest experiences at hotels and resorts.

“Savvy hoteliers should consider rethinking the role of towels in their overall brand story,” says Jonathan Benjamin, global president for laundry at Xeros. “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.”

Survey results show that guests are very opinionated when it comes to the quality of towels they use during hotel visits, especially cleanliness and softness, which ranked as the top criteria.

Quality of Towels

The study revealed that 94 percent of all respondents believe that the quality of towels is important for overall customer satisfaction. In addition, the survey found that 73 percent believe that the quality of towels will influence their decision to return to a hotel brand for future visits, while 84 percent believe towel quality influences brand perception.

Cleanliness of Towels         

When asked about towel attributes, cleanliness was identified as the most important attribute followed by the softness of towels. Surprisingly, high thread counts, the attribute that is generally associated with expensive luxury towels, came in last.

Online Reviews 

Customers love to read hotel reviews when making travel plans. The study showed that 77 percent of travelers usually or always reference online reviews before selecting a hotel. One third of the respondents said that they would write a negative review on an online site if they were not satisfied with the towels. And many respondents said that they have already written a negative review due to poor towel quality.

Environmental Consciousness

Environmental concerns also play a major role in hotel selection. Customers care about the environment, with 85 percent of respondents saying they reuse towels because they are concerned about the environment; 77 percent said that when choosing a hotel, they actively search for places that have eco-friendly laundry facilities.