Saturday, October 21, 2017

Road test your guest’s sleep experience

Have you ever taken a nap in one of your guest beds? Have you wrapped yourself in the bedding to get a first-hand sense of your guest’s sleep experience? If your answer is no, then you should make it a priority…

Overwhelm your senses and test run that luxury sleep experience; the one you emphatically tell your guests you provide. With roughly a third of our lives spent in bed (far more in hotel-time as there is nothing more luxurious than taking extended hotel naps), a bed is arguably the most important element in an accommodation guest room.

According to a 2014 Gallup survey, more than half of guests who stay in the highest-priced properties would pay more for a better bed. Among the respondents, a comfortable bed was most often named the number one feature of a hotel room, more than any other amenity, including internet access and helpful employees.

Perhaps it is time to admit that creating the ultimate guest sleep experience has the potential to make or break an accommodation provider, especially when it comes to inspiring return visits. So, it is terribly important to weigh up all the elements that inspire a luxury experience; try your guest beds, find your ‘sweet sleep spot’, identify the perfect blend of price, comfort, and durability.

Once you have tried your guest beds, what if you decide they need a makeover? Do not worry, achieving a perfectly coiffed bed can be an easy and affordable fix. As well as a necessary one because managing to produce a genuinely luxurious guest sleep is without doubt the first critical step towards accommodating an experience that will boost revenue.

Let’s face it, most establishments whatever their price-point do know how to put together a clean and comfortable bed: if they fail at this, their online reviews would scream “don’t stay here!” but what lifts a meh hotel sleep experience to a wow factor? The answer is very simple: clever linens and bedding choices.

An ultra-plush bed gives an ‘I want to snuggle here forever’ reaction, and this is only achieved by making excellent purchases. So, what we can learn from the most luxurious hotel bedroom suites and what those managers choose? We know these types of establishments tend to:

  • Provide lush pillows and lots of them! From feather and micro-fibre to oversized pillows, euro and decorative pillows, offer choice because every guest understands the value of a great pillow and every guest is different. Why not go all the way and introduce a pillow menu?
  • Have superbly comfortable mattresses, or add a quality topper. Luxury hotels rarely skimp on this. They aim to invest in quality mattresses that provide the best support for a healthful and comfortable rest and add a plush mattress topper.
  • Make it white. A familiar luxury hotel designer’s look is the “halo effect”, they tend to use all-white bed linens to produce an oasis and focal point in the room and most of all, it looks fresh and clean. They may top it off with a bed runner, blankets, throws and cushions to complete the crisp white look, or they may add colour, texture and personality with various accessories.
  • Triple sheet; many of the best hotels use three sheets. The third sheet simplifies the look and gives a feeling of luxury as well as freshness. The benefit is buttery, soft sleep.
  •  Use high thread count sheets. The minimum standard is 300 count.
  •  Top it all off with an exquisite turndown service. They use perfect mood lighting and turn back the sheets to make sure their guests have the sweetest dreams.

In short, luxury accommodation providers construct layers of crisp, clean sheets; sumptuous, soft, fluffy pillows; plush, absorbent towels, warm snuggly blankets, textured throws, and cushions – generally, luxury accommodations do bedding and linen well. So, what are the essential qualities of perfect luxury bedding?

  •  Breathability: guests do not want a sweaty sleep. The breathability of bed linen matters.  A key ingredient to ensure sleep comfort is to use fabrics that have minimal hypothermic action to reduce hot and cold sweats.
  •  Thread count matters but it should not be the only reason you purchase certain sheets. Focus should also be on the weight of the fabric and what yarns are used. Thin, basic yarns do not last as long as thick, strong yarns so you must use linen that is specifically designed for commercial use.
  •  Spotlessly clean, fresh linen must be provided with no compromise. Make sure you buy quality linen that will launder well and always organise for top-notch, highly recommended laundering.
  •  Layer linens and always offer a warming choice with soft, quality blankets or duvets/doonas.

What’s on trend?

Eco-guests: alongside luxury, there is a massive responsibility to improve sustainability across every aspect of your business. Luxury and eco-friendly do not always go hand-in-hand but with eco-guests being a huge industry trend, you must consider the environmental footprint of your luxury linens.

  •  A major problem is that all hotel linen is washed frequently and to get that pristine, luxurious white linen look, the use of a strong detergent in a hot wash is the most effective way.
  •  To reduce the washing frequency, most hotels, motels and apartments remind guests to reuse their towels and some hotels offer bargain eco-stays, where linen only gets changed every third night. Some hotels also use linen change cards or reminders, and linen is only washed between guests unless otherwise requested by the guest.
  •  Bed skirts are out, in favour of utilising the under-bed space. With guest rooms getting smaller, especially in cities, space is never wasted. Exploiting the simple clean lines of the bed, minimal bedding and cleverly utilised space is the answer.
  •  Custom headboards are in: make your headboard an inspiring focal point and utility space! Use the architecture of the bed and make it ultra tech with gadgets, lighting, phone, tablet, and USB connectors.

Hotels designers are busy creating custom, oversized headboards to serve as a dramatic focus of attention and they are tending to be more three-dimensional. The trend in high-end properties still includes romance and drama using plush and luxurious upholstered headboards but now they are adding technology.

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