I should begin by coming clean. I am a self-proclaimed sleep snob. In the last few years, I transformed the bedroom of my house into a dedicated recovery room. The only technology allowed? Those items that promote transformative sleep – sound machines on each side of the bed that envelope it in white noise to block out all other sleep disturbing sound; lighting that self-adjusts from calming, dim light prior to sleep to lights that mimic daylight and slowly illuminate at dawn to rouse me from sleep. There’s also high quality, comfortable linens that sit atop an innovative Beautyrest Black® bed, the foundation of my nightly sleep experience. No alarm required. Ever. I wake up every morning, refreshed and ready to take on the day. At home, I sleep like a baby.
On the road, however, it’s a whole different ballgame. Given the time and detail I’ve invested in creating the ultimate sleep experience, this isn’t really a surprise. However, it does pose very real challenges for me that can be frustrating – and of course, others. As I see it, it also affords a real opportunity for hotels to step up their game to elevate the quality of the guest sleep experience they deliver. At a time when guest satisfaction – or not – can immediately trigger reviews, it’s certainly should be a defining priority for many.
CREATING A RECOVERY ROOM
Guest wellness continues to be a hot trend in the hospitality industry – and sleep is certainly a big factor in that equation. Experts continue to stress the importance of getting the required amount of sleep in order to avoid serious health issues down the road. But nowhere is the need for a good night’s sleep more important than when you’re a business traveler. Your work performance suffers when sleep suffers. Period.
Certainly, given the number of factors outside of a hotel’s control, designing a guest room that rivals a home bedroom is a challenging proposition. However, there are a number of details – many fairly cost-effective – that could go a long way to ensuring guests have a restful, comfortable night’s sleep when they are away from home. Here are a few ideas:
The bed remains the heart of the guestroom and a key investment toward achieving your guest sleep experience goals. Hospitality sleep solutions are different by design because they have to be. They have to stand up to years of guest use – and abuse. At Serta Simmons Bedding, our sleep technologies are designed to be commercial-grade, so they provide reliable performance and durability. They also include exceptional warranties and are backed by responsive customer service to minimize business disruptions. Bedding technology continues to evolve. The latest innovation in mattress technology is all about temperature management design – from the inside out. For example, our Beautyrest® Hospitality lineup features exclusive DualCool™ fiber technology, providing the first layer of temperature control with antimicrobial silver, to absorb and wick away moisture. Below that, AirCool® foams allow for the circulation of air, keeping heat from accumulating in the mattress. Coupled with the support and motion control delivered by our exclusive Beautyrest® Pocketed Coil®, all of this technology keeps the bed cooler, ensures lasting performance and allows guests to sleep cooler and more comfortably.
The effects of too much screen time on sleep are well documented. And while that’s not something a hotel can hope to impact, they can look at creating smart room solutions that improve the guest experience. For example, sensor-based technology can be used to immediately dim lights when a guest uses their keycard to access their room, establishing a calming, tranquil environment. The same system can also light a guest’s way in the dark to the bathroom and simulate sunrise in the morning to allow him or her to awaken refreshed and ready to take on the day. Why is lighting important? As it pertains to sleep, our body’s physical, mental and behavioral changes are regulated by our Circadian rhythm. The daily changing of light (day to night) heavily influences circadian rhythms and smart lighting can play a huge role in helping a person fall asleep, regulate sleep/mood and even wake up.
While not all sources of noise are within a hotel’s control, many are. Leaky faucets, buzzing light fixtures,
and loud HVAC equipment should be addressed immediately before guests have the opportunity to complain. Your housekeeping staff is often your first line of defense here. Adding potential sources of noise to the room checklist allows maintenance to resolve any identified issues immediately. The best time to address soundproofing, of course, is when a property is being built or remodeled. Short of that, there are a number of ways to mask or muffle noise. Here’s a quick overview of what hotel properties have done to keep the noise level down in and around guest rooms and increase guest satisfaction.
- Eliminate connecting doors between adjoining guest rooms
- Create quiet zones during specific hours to accommodate different classes of guests – families with small children, daytime sleepers like airplane crews, etc. Housekeeping won’t vacuum carpets during these established timeframes and bellman will carry bags by hand
- Install soundproof windows
- Install soundproofing technology to soundproof walls, floors, and ceilings in high-traffic public areas like restaurants, bars, and ballrooms
- Install carpet over wood or tiled floors and use sound-absorbing panels in public areas
- Sound masking systems can be installed in guest rooms, creating pleasurable white noise
- Install thicker doors with a door sweep at the bottom to seal out hallway noise
Building a quieter hotel – or making soundproofing enhancements to an existing one – does require additional investment. But losing guests because they had a horrible night sleep could prove costly in the long run.
Connected sleep and all its potential benefits is certainly on the horizon and squarely in our sights as an industry leading sleep solutions company. Given the amount of time a person spends asleep – a third of your life! – imagine what a connected bed could do and learn about you? One that adapts to you, your sleep environment – whether at home or in a hotel of your choice – and works in harmony with other connected devices to deliver the best sleep and recovery possible. A connected sleep system could track not only how you sleep, but also your heart rate and potentially other biomarkers, all while remaining hidden (no device to wear). The sensor technology exists now for hotels to create a truly personalized, innovative guest sleep experience. Are you ready to take yours to the next level?