JD Power & Associates, in a customer perception study conducted for the Uniform and Textile Service Association, found that both consumers and business-to-business buyers preferred to deal with companies that employ uniformed employees. Among the consumers included in the survey, majority had more confidence in the quality of the product or service provided by uniformed workers. They felt that employees who wear uniforms were more trustworthy and credible in comparison to those who do not.
Besides promoting a feeling of solidarity and teamwork amongst co-workers, a worker’s uniform represents a certain level of professionalism and dignity. It also saves time and money for employees because they don’t have to worry about what to wear and what kind of clothes to buy for work. Customers and employers also find it easier to identify the appropriate personnel when employees are in uniform. Most business setups in the hospitality sector like Hotels, Restaurants, Spas, Resorts etc have realized the importance of this identification and how image plays an important role in distinguishing them from competition. That’s why almost every one of them has now introduced different types of uniforms for different divisions of their employees.
There are four important points that hotels should consider before choosing uniforms for their employees – Fabric, Fashion, Comfort, Fit and Employee Preference.
Natural or synthetic, the fabric or material which is used to create the uniform must be able to look good, practical and easy to maintain. The uniform design must also keep up with the times and more unconventional ideas may be experimented upon. While choosing uniforms, employee preference should always be kept in mind. It is inappropriate to just dress up a person without his/her approval.
The conventional hotel uniform usually comprised of a black tuxedo, vest, bow tie, black leather shoes and gloves for men, and a two-piece suit with matching tie for women. However, hotel uniforms have become more innovative and different styles and shades of color have been introduced over the years. Along with durability and comfort - style, variety, substance and distinctiveness are now given a lot of importance by hoteliers while choosing uniforms for their employees. That’s why more uniforms are being custom-made according to specifications provided by the hotels.
One of the main efforts while designing hotel apparel today is to blend and match the cut, material and fit of the attire with the hotel interior design, which is very important while maintaining the identity of the hotel. According to Sarah Morley, marketing manager of Ranier Pty Ltd, "Uniform designers need to work closely with management and the interior designers to ensure a close correlation between the ‘scenes’ and the staff as well as visual continuity between all positions, so that all staff and interior design themes collectively project the desired image."
The design of the hotel uniform also depends on the level of formality maintained in the hotel. In this aspect, hotel uniforms that bear a traditional, formal sophistication are of common choice. A good example of this design would be Cintas, a leading corporate uniform industry’s combination of steel blue with navy and bankers’ gray accents resulting in a very formal look of bespoke suits, with lines that are elegant and classic enough for a mega star hotel.
Lynn Linczyc, corporate director of purchasing, Loews Hotels, New York City says, “We did not want staff to look too formal or too stuffy. Garments should never intimidate the individuals wearing them or the people around them”. The mood and atmosphere of the hotel, the environment in which the hotel is located should also determine the look of uniforms. The conventional, formal attire may not be appropriate everywhere, especially for hotels located in regions with warmer climates.