The most overlooked way to keep your hotel guests coming back time after time
In the hotel business, success depends on our guests feeling welcomed into a warm and comfortable environment. It’s all about their experience with us. Whether they enjoy their stay and will return or not – and recommend us or not – depends upon our hospitality, the very name of our industry.
Of course, it begins the moment they arrive, with a friendly and efficient welcome at the front desk. But ultimately, a hotel is about overnight accommodations – a place to rest your head.
As soon as your guests open the door to their room, they have an immediate first impression. Then, later, after they’ve unpacked and settled in, there’s another moment that’s even more important. And that’s when they are ready for bed. How well they sleep, and how comfortable they are – that’s what really creates their lasting impression about your hotel.
What’s the single most important element to creating a positive first impression, and an enduring lasting impression? Many people think it’s the room décor, or conveniently-located outlets, or wi-fi. Sure, your guests notice those things. But the truth is that it’s something else that connects with your guests on a deeper, more emotional level. Something they themselves may not even think much about, but that colors their entire experience of the room, of their stay, and of your hotel.
And that’s all about where they rest their head.
Pillows are the single most overlooked, yet most important element to creating a comfortable and welcoming experience. The humble pillow connects with your guests at a deep and visceral level.
As we lay down to sleep, everything else slips away. We wrap the blankets around us – or fling them away – toss and turn or curl up. But mostly, we rest our head down onto our pillow so our body can relax. If our pillow feels good, we’re happy. A good pillow creates a subconscious experience of comfort that spills over to the entire hotel experience.
If we sleep on a good pillow, we may not think about it much in the morning. But if we feel that we slept well, then we feel great about the bed, the room, and the whole environment. If the pillow doesn’t feel right, though, boy, do we notice.
That’s why, as a hotel professional, you need to understand that choosing the right pillows is more important than you might have assumed.
So, now that you do know that there’s more to the humble pillow, how do you choose ones that will make your guests feel pampered and comfy?
In the hospitality business, you have to be able to cater to different kinds of guests. When it comes to choosing the best pillows, there are many things to consider. People sleep differently – some are back sleepers, some are side sleepers, and some are stomach sleepers. Some folks like a very soft pillow, and others prefer a firmer one. The best pillow density depends on your sleep position. Stomach sleepers need a soft and squishy pillow to cushion the head at a comfortable angle. Back sleepers need a pillow with medium support to hold the head and neck at a neutral position without bending the spine. Side sleepers need the firmest support, to keep the spine in a straight and natural alignment.
There are lots of choices when it comes to pillow fill, too. Down or feathers? Hypoallergenic choices, like down alternative or synthetic? Memory foam? With so many different guests, with different sleep habits and different preferences, how do you choose pillows that are sure to please?
As noted above, nothing makes a great first impression than the sight of a bunch of big, fluffy pillows on the bed. This signals “opulence” and comfort. You will need to choose pillows that will hold their shape and stay plump, feel soft but provide enough support, and never feel compressed or lumpy.
You will probably want to have a few different types of pillows to appeal to different kinds of sleepers. And you’ll want to balance quality, durability and cost. Feather and down are expensive, hard to maintain, and many people are allergic to them. Here are a few of the best options to consider.
This excellent choice has a super-fine polyester fiber fill that feels like feathery down, yet is hypoallergenic. Its high thread-count cotton cover has a damask weave and is finished with corded edges to avoid fraying and wear. Soft yet supportive, it retains its volume even with heavy use. It can be fluffed up like a down pillow, scrunched, and adjusted to suit anyone. Plus, these are washable, and hold their shape. A great choice that will please a variety of sleepers.
To appeal to side sleepers, the most common sleep style, Carpenter offers this customized model. Filled with a patented micro-denier gel fiber that emulates the feel of down, this pillow offers best support for side sleepers. The fill is malleable but still supportive, with a medium density that is soft yet firm. Hypoallergenic and washable, it stays cool even in warm weather. Like the regular Carpenter Beyond Down, it fluffs up and holds its shape without flattening. The ample gusset on this model provides perfect support for side sleepers, keeping the head and neck at a natural angle.
Also good choice for side sleepers is the Debut Supreme Cluster pillow, also by Carpenter. With thousands of micro polyester cluster fibers, this down-like fill is firm, durable and cost-effective. Like Carpenter’s other models, the Debut Supreme Custer is hypoallergenic and washable, with a lush thread-count cover and self-corded edging.
Another fine option is the Ultra Down Pillow by JS Fiber. JS Fiber offers a micro denier polyester fill that mimics down, but offers its fill in different weights for the ultimate in firmness choice. The JS fiber pillows are great for any kind of sleeper.
If your guests don’t have a comfortable night’s sleep, nothing else you do for them will matter, and the only thing they’ll remember about their stay is tossing and turning. That’s no way to build guest loyalty and satisfaction. Don’t make the mistake of scrimping on your choice of pillows. A quality pillow may cost a bit more, but it’s the most effective way to convey luxury and comfort, and the best way to ensure that your guests will be back again, to rest their heads at your hotel.