TSA Autumn Conference: Industry back to 90% of pre-Covid levels

The Textile Services Association (TSA) Autumn Conference took place 18-19 October at Hilton St George’s Park, Burton Upon Trent. It was billed as an event designed to appeal to laundry leadership teams, according to TSA CEO David Stevens.

TSA chair Charlie Betteridge welcomed a record 170 delegates to the event, including new members of the association, saying: “I live for the day when I can come singing and dancing to the stage and all our problems have gone away.”

Referring to the Covid years, he likened them to experiencing three years of terrible diarrhoea “but where we are now is 90% back to where things were when Covid hit. However, it is a new normal, but in those years we learned to cope and the experience has made us more resistant”.

“Things will change. Maybe we had 10-15 years of being too comfortable. We cannot foretell the continuing effect of Ukraine, nor can we predict the effect of what is happening in Israel and Gaza. Will it affect the supply chain? Who knows?

“We do know that hospitality is still a bit down. There are lower volumes of linen coming in as hotels have trouble recruiting staff and they are conserving linen.

“We are in a good place – but it is not perfect. We will adapt and move on,” said Betteridge as he summed up three areas to watch since his comments six months ago at the Spring Conference.

  1. Inflation is the biggest enemy. Interest rates go up, this dampens investment and the economy contracts. From a hospitality point of view, when mortgages go up can people afford restaurant and hotel visits?
  2. Lots of businesses are having trouble with high interest rates. We will see bankruptcies and that will entail bad debt management.
  3. Data. This is a complex industry from machines to chemicals and utilities. What about AI? The downside is, what happens when it goes wrong? Then there is cyber security and the threat of ransom ware.

The keynote addresses were provided by Asifa Lahore, a drag artist pushing the boundaries of what it means to be LGBT, South Asian and Muslim (see story on next page) and Professor Sir Cary Cooper, 50th Anniversary Professor of Organisational Psychology and Health at the Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester. Kate Nicholls, OBE, UKHospitality and Open Forum was scheduled to make a keynote address, too, but unfortunately was unable to attend. To the delight of the delegates, recently retired footballer Izzy Christiansen, pictured right, England women’s senior international stepped up to the plate and talked about her career. If you wanted a keynote on diversify, she delivered.

CEO David Stevens filled conference in on the work that has been done to help hospitality businesses understand and prevent linen loss and abuse. A character named Pasha the pillow case has been developed to help to bring to life the story of hospitality linen throughout its entire life cycle(see story on page 13).

TSA publications ‘Valuing Linen Guide’ and ‘Safe Point Delivery CoP’ in liaison with the Hospitality Round Table group has just been released. Visit www.tsa-uk.org