THE REALITIES OF HOSPITALITY BEDDING

Over the last several years, hotel beds have become more visible than ever before. Hotel properties and the media have been buzzing with terms like Pillowtops, Plush, Heavenly, Sweet, Perfect, Ultimate and Unforgettable. What is the reality behind the buzz? Are there noticeable differences between beds, what can beds do for a property and how do guests feel about hotel beds?

It's been well-documented that hotels that commit to guest service and comfort through luxury bedding programs have experienced higher guest satisfaction scores, market share and business growth. Bedding upgrades can attract guests to hotels and delight them with an unforgettable sleep experience.

Part of the increased focus on better hotel bedding is that consumers have been buying better bedding for their homes and expect as good, if not better, comfort and quality when traveling. Higher disposable incomes combined with stressful current events have created an environment in which personal comfort is a desirable and justifiable indulgence.

The bed is important in delivery of the hotel's promise of comfort and caring to its guests. A comfortable night's sleep can go a long way toward reinforcing the hotel's position and creating satisfied guests who will recommend the property to others and return as loyal customers. Because of this, it can improve guest satisfaction, loyalty, ADR and occupancy rates, which can make for a better return on investment and an improved bottom line.

When marketed by a hotel property, a highly recognizable brand-name bed assures guests of a comfortable night's sleep. The higher the awareness and brand preference of the bed, the greater the impact that marketing can have on guests.

A trend in the hospitality industry, especially in upscale and luxury, is the request by guests to purchase hotel products they have enjoyed. This is a powerful indicator of how well the hotel has met guest expectations.

Leo Vogel is director of sales & marketing for the Contract Division of Sealy, Inc. He serves on various committees with the AH&LA, the American Hotel Foundation and various state and industry hotel associations. Vogel can be reached at 336-861-3500 or LVogel@sealy.com.

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