It would be difficult to underestimate the value to human beings of having a good night’s sleep.
No matter how many worries might afflict one during the day, a restful night usually makes them seem considerably less of a problem in the morning.
Authors and poets have recorded their appreciation of the value of the experience down the centuries:
‘And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And a quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.’ …wrote the then English Poet Laureate, John Masefield in a relatively recent 20th Century example.
It is only sensible then to put such a basic human desire into effect in your accommodation business. When evaluating the status of your own establishment to guests, it is easy to underestimate the beds in favour or some seemingly more glamorous features, but one hotel or motel can seem much like another. It is surprising how often one hears the comfort of the beds and the quality of the resulting night’s sleep mentioned when listening to an account of a traveller’s experiences.
While a blissful night can make one’s worries seem quite mild the next morning, conversely, a restless night is almost certain to leave a guest grumpy and feeling rather sour – quite probably with their accommodation!
Good first impressions
However, beds can make a great impression well before night time. A comfortable looking bed, with luxurious looking pillows and bed coverings in carefully chosen colours, can delight guests as soon as they open the door to their room, and make them feel very satisfied about their choice lodgings long before it is time to retire.
In recent years in particular, hoteliers and moteliers have become more aware of what an asset their guest beds can be. Alternatively, they have become more aware of just how damaging to their business inferior quality beds are. Beds can be an asset, there is no doubt about that. Upgrading beds to a better quality is certainly worthy of serious consideration, rather than making price the major consideration.
It has been well documented that hotels that make a commitment to guest service and comfort through luxury bedding programmes have experienced high guest satisfactions scores, market share and business growth. Superior bedding can definitely attract guests to hotels and motels. A memorable sleep experience provides an additional reason for the guest to return to your premises.
Own home comparisons
One reason why bed comfort must be given serious consideration is that as quality has increased while prices have fallen in real income terms, consumers have been buying better quality beds for their own homes. They expect as good, if not better comfort and quality when travelling. Higher disposable incomes have created an environment where personal comfort is a desirable and justifiable indulgence. The higher the star-ratings of the hotel or motel, the higher will be the expectations of its guests.
Satisfy them and any extra expense in the bed purchase is likely to quickly pay off. A comfortable night’s sleep can go a long way towards reinforcing the hotel’s position and creating contented guests who will return as loyal customers and recommend the property to others. This can improve guest occupancy rates, which will almost inevitably make for a better Return on Investment and resulting profitability.
Properly marketed, a respected hotel brand name bed will be a reassurance to guests of a comfortable night’s sleep. The higher the awareness and brand preference of the bed, the greater the impact the marketing effort can have on guests.
Guests purchase programmes
There is another potential payoff that premium hotels are increasingly making use of – the requests by happy guests to purchase hotel products they have enjoyed. A guest purchase programme can be a very useful financial adjunct to the property’s core business of accommodation.
When it happens, it is also a strong indication of how well the hotel or motel has met its guests’ expectations. As well as helping to create a lasting bond with guests, the royalties received from the programme can be used to offset the capital expenditure when purchasing the beds themselves.
‘Five hours sleepeth a traveller, seven a scholar, eight a merchant, and eleven every knave’ goes a 17th Century quotation. And while it does not offer any explanation for its somewhat baffling allocation of hours of repose required by individual groups or professions, it is only one quotation of dozens written down through the ages on how treasured is the experience of a good night’s sleep.
It is actually most unlikely that many travellers in your establishment would be satisfied with only five hours slumber; far more likely in fact that it would lead to a complaint about lack of bed comfort – or simply that they will never enter your doors again.
Far safer to assume that most of your guests will be in the merchant class – or at the very least a scholar – and be satisfied only with a blissful seven or eight hours. And let’s be quite honest here – no reputable innkeeper wants a knave!