The bed is back to playing a central role in the organization of the room. In this area, clientele have become demanding… very demanding. Technology has been called to the rescue to improve the life of sleepers... and that of personnel.
Night brings counsel, but counsel is also useful for guaranteeing guests a good night’s sleep. After a period of intensive development of annexed services, the hotel industry has gone back to basics. The most important of these: the bed. At the center of all the attentions, the latter pursues a double goal of maximum comfort and respect for the back, and while the two are essential, they do not necessarily go hand in hand. The quest for the perfect bed within the hotel industry is also a result of a particular situation: baby boomers are getting older, and with age back problems intensify as does the need for a truly good night’s sleep. More generally, the role of sleep in the quality of life has received increasing amounts of attention in recent years. Technology is thus being called to the rescue to develop mattress models that are increasingly ergonomic and welcoming. On both sides of the Atlantic brands began a major campaign to renew their bed ding some time ago already. The phenomenon no longer involves just upscale categories but the entire industry. “The economy segment is currently renewing its room concepts,” observes Corinne Lemoal, director of the hotel division at Simmons. “This market is increasingly concerned about the quality of their beds.” Alain Moiso of Sealy Europe also observes that “after the international chains, it is the national brands –in France or Switzerland for example – that are outfitting themselves en masse.”Because it concerns the core of the service, and nothing encourages loyalty better than a good night’s sleep, the choice of bed deserves some real consideration. Many manufacturers offer advice for helping the hotelier choose the solution that is best adapted to the property, budget and clientele. The golden rule: beware. Good back care requires morphological and medical considerations that cannot be improvised. “A lot of glorified mattresses that are impressive at first glance have been sold, but in reality they are not any good,” confirms Alain Moiso. “Looking more closely, one may observe that, they are really assemblages of different elements, mattress toppers, comforters and others, that produce a result that is far less comfortable than it looks. This is why we recommend and develop fully integrated concepts.”Regardless of the segment or country, the goal remains the same: assure perfect, firm support for the client, offering a sensation that is both soft and cushiony. Technically speaking, the challenge is to espouse the form of the body without compressing the vessels in the back, which are some of the most sensitive in the human body. To resolve this equation, two major types of mattress are produced: spring and cellular. A sure value, the first category is essentially the privileged territory of up- and mid-scale segments, chosen by 95% of international chains, while the second is a less expensive alternative that is nonetheless able to provide satisfactory comfort/health. The 2* corporate chains are particularly fond of this technology. But the most innovative brands produce these fun damental principals in new solutions for the 21st century. For example, Sensoft mattress with pocket springs by Simmons. “During sleep, the Sensoft system absorbs the slightest movement of the body and adjusts support in function of the sleeper’s changing position,” explains Corinne Lemoal. At Sealy Europe (Two leading brands Sealy and Pirelli Bedding), they rely on mattresses using the Posturepedic suspension system. Why? Springs with high carbon content. While this strategy may be different, the sought after results are the same: a material that adapts perfectly and rapidly to the body’s shape. The process has been optimized by DSS (Double support system) Posturepedic models that confer increased suspension across surfaces. More generally, the brand has launched a collection of mattresses/boxsprings called “Sealy Global Contract” that thanks to the presence of Sealy factories on each continent, offers personalized solutions for more or less firm mattresses depending on local preferences. And these preferences are increasingly demanding... “Of course there is a direct link between the progress of products available to individuals for their homes and their expectations when they stay at hotels,” underlines Alain Moiso. Thus, it becomes necessary to at least equal, if not surpass, the comfort the client is accustomed to at home. By adding a bed topper, for example, made of down or microfiber, to make it even cushier. Or by adopting a combination of natural and synthetic fibers. “Synthesized materials such as treated feathers, latex or hollow fibers often have negative connotations whereas they have highly advantageous ergonomic and therapeutic properties that ought to be combined with more natural ones such as silk or Shetland, to use the best of both worlds,” outlines Alain Moiso.At the same time the morphology of clients has evolved. We know for example that the average height is increasing from one generation to the next, and with it the length of mattresses. Today’s standard models are 190cm, but 200 and 210 cm beds are increasingly in demand. The same is true for width: Europe follows what is done in the United States, meaning 160/180 cm. And of course “king size” beds take up more space. The inflation of dimensions is essentially happening in upscale hotels where rooms are big enough to accommodate them. And now a third dimension has entered the craze for grandeur: height! “Once upon a time a very high bed was synonymous with nobility and renown. One did not “lie down” one “climbed into bed”, explains Alain Moiso. “The idea that a luxury bed should be raised well off the floor has unconsciously returned.” It is not by chance that the profession has been nicknamed this trend the “bed in majesty!” Concretely, such a demand becomes a reality through thicker box springs. “23 to 28 centimeters versus the usual 17,” specifies Corinne Lemoal.The increasingly massive quality of beds is not without its repercussions for personnel. The number of rooms remains the same, but the task at hand is increasingly difficult! And manufacturers are well aware of this. They thus compensate for the difficulty caused by the increased size (and thus weight) with other innovations that considerably simplify their work. For example by making seasonal mattress turning unnecessary. This task is not only tiresome but often overlooked at some properties... The success of the No-Flip mattress from Simmons does not contradict this, with a single all-season side that acts like a micro-climate and adapts to all temperatures. Thus, there is no longer any need to flip the mattress, resulting in significantly less wasted time and energy for housekeeping. To all this may be added concerns about hygiene and security (fire, bacteria, fungicide), as well as the product’s durability: “it must be kept in mind that an average of 200 liters of water is poured on a hotel mattress each year,” reminds Alain Moiso. So the question of resistance over time is no small detail in the selection process...Over the past three years, the universe of the night has had a new rising star: the comforter. Having first reigned at home, in the past three years it has been gaining ground in the hotel sector, under the impulsion of certain clientele who prefer it over traditional sheets. Its modern image fits the burgeoning room concepts that are bursting forth at this time. The last example to date: the Ibis brand has just reaffirmed its will to outfit all the airconditioned rooms in its network with them. Aware of the potential and the remaining growth margin, the brand Lestra has made comforters for hotels a specialty. Its credo: the soft nest aspect and added value in terms of hygiene (protected by a cover, the comforter is protected from the exterior).In the same concern for optimization, annexed accessories, meaning all that goes on the bed, are also strong. “In the upscale segment, there may be up to eight pillows on a mattress,” observes Alain Moiso. “There is a logic of luxury and cocooning.” Moreover, the pillows play an essential role that complements the mattress in the backache battle. “They must not compress the neck. This is why we are selling an increasing number of rectangular pillows, known as American pillows, which assure better support and are very aesthetic.”Because it concerns the core of the service, and nothing encourages loyalty better than a good night’s sleep, the choice of bed deserves some real consideration. Many manufacturers offer advice for helping the hotelier choose the solution that is best adapted to the property, budget and clientele. The golden rule: beware. Good back care requires morphological and medical considerations that cannot be improvised. “A lot of glorified mattresses that are impressive at first glance have been sold, but in reality they are not any good,” confirms Alain Moiso. “Looking more closely, one may observe that, they are really assemblages of different elements, mattress toppers, comforters and others, that produce a result that is far less comfortable than it looks. This is why we recommend and develop fully integrated concepts.”
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