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Sleep as the Main Driver for More than Just Guest Satisfaction
By Jeroen Gulickx
Many years of searching for the best possible sleep is one thing that keeps hoteliers awake at night. Teams have applied a process driven method, based on data and data collection, called Six Sigma http://www.isixsigma.com/new-to-six-sigma/getting-started/what-six-sigma/ to many hotels and organizations. The teams were, and are still attempting to understand the correlation between making a choice of a hotel and actually booking the hotel.
What are the reasons, and as a hotelier, how can we influence those reasons, as understanding the process of getting to the decision is more interesting perhaps than the actual booking. Why? Well, because those are the guests that will return - they are the ones who have made a conscious decision about the hotel.
So with regards to sleep, which really should be the main driver for a stay at a hotel; what does a good sleep entail, and why is it needed so much?
What Keeps the Average Guest Awake?
About a third of a person's life is spent in bed. On average, that is about 8 hours a day. Good rest and recharging is needed to lead the hectic and complicated lives that humans choose to live these days. Whether you are an executive traveller or one on a leisurely trip, sleep is key.
Analyzing sleep is not such a great mystery and also quite easily done, with many scientific methods. The polysomnogram and the multiple sleep latency test are just a couple of examples. They are carried out in a closed of environment by doctors and specialists with the help of sensors, wires and monitors, to collect data like blood oxygen levels and breathing events. The results are not far from what you would expect; what impacts on our sleep are those events before sleep, like what the guest has been eating and drinking; noise levels, surroundings and the actual bed we sleep in. So what is the hotel's solution for offering better sleep?
There is no point discussing noise, as every hotel room has its own noises - flushing toilets, squeaky doors and floors. And what about the other guests with the mobile wake up clock next door, the high heels on the wooden floor up stairs, and the neighbor singing ‘Simply the best' by Tina Turner in the shower, and finally your partner in the same bed. Anything over 40 decibels keeps us awake, or disrupts our sleep.
The surroundings can be slightly more controlled by the hotel, those being related to light, temperature and increasingly, focus on space and design, intended to make the guest feel comfortable. Light and design, sure, but in my years of collecting data, temperature was in the top 10 of the guest complaint list. Even though specialists recommend a cool room (under 19 degrees Celsius), temperature is still a very personal choice. The reason temperature was so high is because we are all so extremely different, and very often the room is too warm. A too warm room results in irregular and reduced sleep, mainly because at night our body temperature also sinks to the lowest.
Scientific testing of sleep in a hotel room is therefore probably not so often tested; there are simply too many external factors. Still, we learn from our data that deep sleep is needed, and we try and learn more about how we can deliver on sleep to the hotel guest.
Market research by J.D. Power in 2012 about overall hotel industry ratings shows that hotels need to start paying more attention to the complaints, as overall scores are dropping year on year. This was revealed in Forbes magazine, and on top of the above findings, prevention of the problem is one of the components that increases overall guest satisfaction.
Following the research from Six Sigma, doctors and hospitals and J.D. Power's market survey, it is clear that it is time for hotels to take sleep to the next level and assist in a person's health by providing one of the solutions that really delivers guest satisfaction; a bed that works. As a guest, you spend most of your time there, so it needs to be comfortable, and exceed your expectation!
The relationship between the guest and the bed is a personal matter and while hotels are looking for the best solutions, here are some facts and thoughts:
No more data is needed, guests don't care; they just want sleep - that's what they pay for.
There is an opportunity here to directly impact the delivery to the guest without back doors or great marketing tools by simply giving them a promise.....a great sleep in a great bed.
About the Author
Jeroen Gulickx is originally from Holland, where he obtained two business degrees. Later in life he also certified as black belt in Six Sigma. He is Managing Director and founder of Mocinno International, a hospitality consulting company that started in 2005, focused on delivering incremental revenues for hotels, spa's and also hotel suppliers. Jeroen is well travelled and has extensive experience in the luxury travel segment. The main capabilities vary from streamlining cost and operational models, strategy yielding, business development, and marketing to digital marketing. Mocinno International works with a network of highly experienced, energetic and yet innovative people, based in key locations.
Jeroen leads Mocinno originated projects and the highly skilled team and International partners and agents in many key locations.
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