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The Bedrock of Guest Experience

Bedding in hotel rooms have come a long way from being just a commodity to the wellness product. An area which was not given its due initially is now one of the prime segments to win over loyalty customers through customisation. Kathryn B K speaks to few from the industry to know more about the transformation, customisation and new trends in bedding.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017, 11:56 Hrs  [IST]

Pullman Deluxe Room King Bed


Every hotel aspires to be different and unique from the other. Each hotel goes to great extents to be innovative and create a brand image for the hotel. But what hotels fail to realise is to get the primary elements right first, which will generate a good impact on the guests. One such basic rule is to get the bedding in a hotel room right.

Bedding is one of the paramount aspects of a hotel as a guest spends maximum time in a hotel to rest or relax. Guests travel a lot when they are on a holiday and the least they can ask from the hotel is a restful, good night’s sleep. Earlier, beds, mattresses, pillows, sheets, duvets were all mere essential commodities of a hotel room, but today hospitality has evolved overtime over the years and sleeping solutions in a hotel room has transformed into a wellness product today.

Guests today are well aware of what is available in the market; they are themselves accustomed to a certain quality of sleep and expect the same from the hotel they are staying at, informs Santosh Bhatt, Corporate Housekeeping, Lords Hotels & Resorts.

Apart from having immense knowledge about the products in the market, guests are health conscious and know the benefits of a good sleep. So, its time hotels too pay attention to bedding – a simple yet an important feature of a hotel.

Abhilash Kumar, Rooms Division Manager at Pullman Novotel New Delhi Aerocity says, “Consumers’ busy lifestyles and today’s greater understanding that sleep enhances lives and health including goals like weight loss, mean that more brands are responding to the consumer pursuit of quality sleep. Quality sleep is also increasingly seen as a hotel’s unique selling point.”

Kishore Vijay Shetty, Zonal Sales Manager - Institutional Sales, Livanto Mattresses perceives that the entire mattress category has been seeing this transition in the past few years. He says, “The hospitality industry has become more understanding of the clients’ increasing need for luxury and comfort during sleep-time. This is especially true for the business class hotels with their elite clientele and a need for comprehensive relaxation within their demanding work schedules.”

Higher quality of raw materials lead to better products and ultimately an enhanced guest experience. Vendors are constantly innovating and integrating better methods and strategies as economy is also crucial while supplying to the hospitality industry, says Shetty.



Customisation
Customisation is the current trend and the way forward in the hospitality industry. Every traveller likes special personalised treatment. This helps guests to engage more with the hotel thus, creating patrons for a lifetime.

Mostly travellers and tourists prefer to be in his/her own comfort zone and expect the hotel to deliver it. And if the hotel is successful in providing it, the traveller is sure to return to the same hotel in the future, recommend the hotel to family members, friends and relatives and also put up a positive review online.

A hotel room is utilised the most to rest/sleep and so, bedding is one area where customisation will never go unnoticed by the guests. Kumar pointed out that according to a 2014 Gallup survey, more than half of guests who stay in the highest-priced properties said they would pay more for an improved bed and most prioritised a comfortable bed.

Shilpi Khanna, Director of Rooms, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar says, “Properties today extend customisation to understand guest preferences. It could be varying from either making it too soft by placing additional overlays or feather toppers on the bed, or ensuring that the mattress is sufficiently firm for a guest.”

For patrons, JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar maintains notes on their preference of mattresses, duvets, quilts and which side of the bed the guest is accustomed to sleep on so that the turndown service is given accordingly. The hotel has seen a surge in requests for pillow tops and foam mattresses over the years.

Lords Plaza brand of hotels maintains in-room menu of pillows which the guest can choose, from a choice of very soft or even hard and also based on the size, they can choose from big to small pillows. The mattresses are turned around as well as flipped regularly to maintain its uniformity. The wear out are also frequently checked for. For guests suffering with back pain there are orthopedic mattresses which offer a better sleeping posture and hence good sleep. There are latex covered mattresses which too are requested by guests.

Sealy India generally gets demands from the hotels for modifying the bed base to meet the total height requirement which is crucial for the designer. Sealy has multiple options even in the bed base and the height can be adjusted by using castors, glides which are available in different heights.

Vinod Khatri, National Manager – Contract Sales, Sealy India says, “We design different specifications keeping in mind the requirement shared by the hotels in the likes of firm cushion, firm plush and ultra plush. Sealy offers various options under its collection of UniCased, UniSided and Double Sided technology to cater a wide demand placed by the hotels.”

Depending on the budgets and target clientele, hotels typically ask for various customisations in terms of comfort layers for the mattresses and quality of fibre filling in the soft furnishings, says Shetty. “We, at Livanto Mattresses (Accord Furnishings), are capable of any number of required customisations like bonnel, non-spring mattresses, pillow-top, etc.”

Current Trends

Hospitality industry is among those who have to adapt to change and adopt current trends rapidly to keep going or it may collapse soon. Adopting contemporary trends in the bedding area would welcome guests to a new and renovated space.

Over the years sleeping solutions have gone through a massive make-over and has evolved. “Historically mattresses were made of cotton. Today pocket spring mattresses are considered the norm. Mattresses with a minimum of 600 pocket springs are considered far more superior to any other open coil or continuous coil mattress. So these are advancements that came through research and development and there is science applied to these mattress designs,” says Bhatt.

Livanto


Marriott allow guests to select their choice of mattress, as they make a stay booking. Khanna informs that customers can choose from a varied list of options available while booking their stay with a Marriott property. Traditional foam mattress, pillow top mattresses, memory foam, and water bed are a few types of mattresses that are available to customers today.

For ages the colours used for beds, mattresses, pillows, quilts are white and that has not changed much even today. It is human tendency to relate white colour to cleanliness and neatness.

“Traditionally mattresses have always been light coloured – beige or white; it allows using both white and dark coloured linens over them. Hotels typically use only white linens and hence a light background works best. The material used will vary depending on the type of mattress,” says Khanna.

Calmer or lighter colours are usually preferred, be it mattresses, covers or pillows as light colours help identify stains even when they are minor or indecipherable, states Bhatt.

Hotels today are primarily trending towards pocketed spring mattresses, observes Shetty. “Hotels prefer to purchase the bed bases from the mattress manufacturers so as to avoid any incongruity in the sizes and also to extract better bulk rates from their vendors. Microfibre pillows have replaced recycled fibre pillows as the most popular product across all hotel categories. This is primarily because of the enhanced comfort to the guests and the inherent longevity of the product. Waterproof mattress protectors are slowly becoming more and more popular in the hospitality industry as these offer significantly better protection than the quilted ones.”

With all these changes that have occurred over all these years for sleeping solutions in hotel rooms, it is a good opportunity for hotels to utilise bedding to convert guests into loyal customers. The essentiality of bedding is evident and it has definitely transformed from being just a necessity in a hotel room to a wellness product.

kathryn.bk@saffronsynergies.in

 
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