The days of hotel guests helping themselves to towels and robes when they check out could be a thing of the past as high tech gets in to the linen.
One company has come up with a way of adding miniature tags in the expensive materials which were costing hotel managements a fortune to constantly replace.
It has long been assumed, wrongly in most cases, that the smart towelling robes and plush fluffy towels were fair game for guests looking to save some cash at home.
But now beware – they may come with an electronic leash as more and more hotels are turning to new radio frequency chips to keep track of their inventory.
The RFID technology – which stands for radio frequency identification and requires an installed chip that can be read by an electronic reader – has been used by various industries for several years to organise product storage and tally shipments.
Now hotels are using the tech to monitor the whereabouts of bathrobes, bed sheets, duvet covers, bathmats, pool towels and banquet linens.
Up to 20 per cent of hotels’ stock typically go missing, estimates William Serbin of Linen Tracking Technology.
The company, which sells trackable linens, has teamed with Fluensee, an inventory tracking technology firm, to market the RFID tags to hotels.
A towel with a chip is about a dollar more than other towels, he says. Bendable and washable, the tags can be read by sensors up to six feet away.
When towels are removed from a closet, for example, a reader station can register how many, so that the closet can be restocked.