This Cincinnati Tech Startup Aims to Remove the Staffing Burden of Hotel Laundry

The e-commerce platform connects hotel guests with independent dry cleaners using existing driver networks like Uber and Postmates to pick up and deliver items.
Michal Christine Escobar
Senior Editor (Hotels)
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A new tech startup is gaining traction among hotels in the Cincinnati area. Rumby, a platform that connects hotels, commercial buildings, apartments and condominiums to independent dry cleaners for quick and seamless turnaround of customer laundry, dry cleaning, shoe repair, and alterations, recently announced that it’s been seeing great traction with its B2B platform Rumby Exchange.

According to the company, nearly 60 different hotel properties currently use Rumby Exchange including hotels carrying the Marriott, Four Seasons, and Ritz-Carlton brands in cities such as Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Miami, Phoenix, and Washington, D.C. Rumby also offers a separate product for individual customers to place orders for laundry and dry-cleaning pickup and rapid service through the Rumby website. Rumby utilizes existing driver networks like Uber and Postmates to get orders picked up and delivered from independent laundry and dry-cleaning businesses.

“Rumby Exchange is offering hoteliers and property managers a solution to the inefficiencies of fulfilling customer laundry requests,” said founder and tech entrepreneur Ben Cantey.

To learn more about this start-up and what it mind mean for hoteliers, HT spoke further with Cantey.

Where did the idea for Rumby come from?
The idea of Rumby came about in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic raged and businesses shutdown. You had massive growth in on-demand delivery services with Instacart and Postmates. Laundry and dry cleaning is one of the last brick and mortar businesses to be disrupted by Software as a Service (SaaS).

What problems does it solve for hoteliers?
Staffing is a huge issue for hotels right now. Rumby removes the staffing burden of hotel laundry. Hotel staff no longer have to fulfill guest laundry orders. Guest laundry has always been considered a “black hole” with guests confused about when and how their laundry is being processed. Hotel staff are caught in the middle with angry guests calling the front desk asking: "Where is my item?” Rumby shifts the responsibility of guest laundry away from staff and into the hands of the actual dry cleaners. No longer do hotel managers have to procure and manage cleaners. Rumby takes care of that too.

How does this service work from a guest's point of view?
Rumby adds transparency to the entire guest laundry process. QR codes are placed in the room and in common areas with a brief description. Guests scan the code and go to a hotel specific checkout page to setup their laundry order and receive a tracking link. There is a laundry bag provided in the room or a closet. Guests put their name and room number on the bag and leave at the front desk. A guest can also schedule delivery and know where their clothing item is in the process.

How does this service work from a hotelier's perspective?
Drivers pickup orders from the front desk and deliver clean items back to the front desk. The hotel has access to a Rumby dashboard if there is any sort of issue. Hotels can track order status and cleaner info, guest, and driver information. There is also a 24/7 human support via chat box connecting a hotelier to a Rumby support agent. 

What kind of technology does Rumby use or integrate with?
Proprietary technology RoR framework running on AWS. Rumby builds the branded checkout page for each hotel.

Any other comments?
There is a new cohort of startups that are taking on the staffing and logistical problems hotels are desperate to solve. Rumby is part of this group that is eager to take experiences online and modernize them. Rumby is perfect for guest laundry but also for shoe repair, cleaning, and alterations. 

Hoteliers interested in implementing Rumby can sign up here: