Getting a Good Nights Sleep on the Road

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There have been a lot of news stories lately about the amazing powers of sleep. We all know that experts (and your mother) said you should get eight hours of sleep every night. There is new research that found if you don’t get those recommended eight hours of sleep, you can even sabotage your efforts to lose weight.

Sleeping in your own bed with your own pillow is so conducive to a good nights sleep that business travelers will take the last flight home to avoid sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings. Airline passengers will often carry on their own pillows or use precious baggage space to bring them along. Regardless, you will end up sleeping in a hotel room with someone else providing the bed and pillows. That’s where hotels can really deliver great customer service by providing a personalized, comfortable sleep environment for their guests that will bring them back time and time again.

The Westin hotels were the first to offer guests “heavenly beds.” Marriott followed suit, and now many brands provide a king-size bed with an ultra-comfortable pillow-top mattress. We recently stayed at Marriott Shellbourne in Dublin, Ireland, and the Marriott Edinburgh Airport Hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland. Each scored a big “10” on the beds with fluffy and luxuriously soft bed linens with double-sheeted comforters. At both locations, the beds were topped with a variety of pillows—feather and foam, large and small. There were even a few harder decorative pillows just right for giving lower back support when sitting at the desk chair.

We stayed a week at both hotels, and then had to fly back to Dublin to catch our flight back to the States the next morning. We chose the Dublin Airport Hilton, since I am a Priority Club member and they had a complimentary shuttle to the airport. Sadly, our last night was a disappointment. We had to get up early to catch our flight, and really needed a comfortable bed to get us to sleep fast. Instead of another night in heaven we had to deal with a double bed (supposed to be a King per their website) with a hard mattress that felt like it was filled with straw, creaking springs, and hard, small pillows. Add no air conditioning to freshen the air and windows that didn’t open and you had the perfect storm for a poor night’s sleep. After being pampered for 12 straight nights, we ended our trip on a less than happy note.

Hospitality is knowing what your customers want, and also know what your competition provides. There are different levels of hotels, but in the hospitality industry, happy customers generate repeat business and free referrals. Offering a good nights sleep will keep your customers smiling, spending more money while in the hotel and returning to spend again.

Mary Nestor-Harper, SPHR, is a freelance writer, blogger, and consultant. Based in Savannah, GA, her work has appeared in "Training" magazine, "Training & Development" magazine, "Supervision," "Pulse" and "The Savannah Morning News." You can read her blogs at, and on the web at

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