OperationsBack to Sleep

Back to Sleep

When hotels embark on soft good renovation projects, designers are tasked with creating new guestroom experiences that will wow guests and help properties stay ahead of their competitors. The focal point of any guestroom revamp is the bed, where weary travelers lay their heads.

“The bed is the reason why guests check into a hotel,” says Ken Koneck, public affairs manager for Valley Forge Fabrics. And if you add up all of the components—sheets, pillowcases, throws—beds account for the most “fabric real estate” in the guestroom, he adds.

For the latest trends in guestroom bedding, see what textile suppliers for the hospitality industry have to say.

Encasements protect hoteliers’ investment by extending the life of costly mattresses and boxsprings. “We’ve seen a nice spike in the encasement business,” Koneck says.

Valley Forge Fabrics offers mattress encasements and protectors made from natural eucalyptus fiber, which is not petroleum based like polyester. Koneck says the 100 percent Tencel+Plus lyocell eucalyptus face of the encasement is anti-allergen and tested to eliminate dust mites, and its waterproof polyurethane lamination keeps moisture out and protects from spills and stains. Tencel+Plus lyocell eucalyptus has wicking properties that pull heat and moisture away from the body, which regulates the guest’s core temperature and stays cool during sleep.

“People like the fact that it’s a green story, and a health and well-being story too,” he says of the product.
With thicker pillow-top mattresses, a thin mattress protector or encasement is all that is needed, says Shawn Berry, vice president of sales and marketing, hospitality, for Standard Fiber. He suggests the ZipIt encasement, which allows housekeeping staff to easily zip off the sleep surface while always keeping the mattress encapsulated.

Quick-drying fill products using down alternative materials for pillows and duvet inserts satisfy the needs of hoteliers who want a better way to protect their mattresses and pillows while reducing operational costs. “Guests expect a clean environment, but when some of the products specified are expensive to launder or just too bulky, many hotel operators just don’t bother to do it,” Berry says. “A thin, waterproof mattress protector helps keep costs down at the operator level, and guests won’t know or miss the old thicker featherbeds or mattress pads.”

Hypoallergenic products, such as breathable waterproof encasements and pillow protectors, are also on hoteliers’ radars. “Let’s face it. Guests want to sleep comfortably and not worry about dust mites, bed bugs, and what the prior guest leaves behind,” Berry says. “We all expect it to be clean when we check-in to our room. The issue is the design specifications used by several brands are behind the times, but many are looking at this closely right now.”

Berry says outdated products for the bed include the quilted bed skirt and thick feather beds and mattress pads. Bed skirts are not cleaned regularly, which adds to the allergen problem. He suggests hoteliers use a design-friendly fitted cap bed skirt that doubles as a mattress encasement, such as DreamTec’s Base Suede encasement for boxsprings.

The mattress pad was created to give comfort to the uncomfortable mattresses of the past, Berry says. Today, many of the products specified are not needed and are simply dust mite producers and breeding grounds for bacteria, he says, which impacts travelers’ sleep and wellness. “[Standard Fiber] looks at using new technologies to treat the surface fabrics to help them breathe and sleep cooler, and last longer in hotel environments, and uses design and construction techniques that minimize the impact of allergens in the basic bedding products,” Berry says.

Since housekeepers and room attendants have a higher injury rate than other hotel and service workers, health and wellness of associates continues to be a concern for hoteliers. Greg Eubanks, vice president of hospitality for Standard Textile, says products that provide solutions to the risk of lifting, pulling, and other stress-related injuries are a top priority.

“Hoteliers have previously looked to traditional fitted sheets to reduce the amount of mattress lifting required by the housekeeping staff,” he says. “However, fitted sheets have been operationally inefficient as they tend to cost more and the elastic wears out, reducing the life of the product.”

Standard Textile’s new Versatility fitted sheet combines the smooth surface, comfort and cost-effective advantages of traditional woven sheets with the durable stretch-and-recovery characteristics, extensibility, and adaptable fit formerly associated with only knitted sheets. The fabric is woven so the stretch characteristic is present in the length of the sheet where it is most needed to maximize performance and ensure a secure fit. The fabric contains no elastic or latex of any kind and holds up to industrial processing.

Since bedspreads, coverlets, bed scarves, and decorative pillows are not washed often, Eubanks says it’s hard to convince guests that products are clean even when a hotelier has an effective cleaning schedule. “The solution has been to go with an all-white bed, but that has left little style and color on the focal point of the guestroom,” Eubanks says.

Patterns and embroideries are ways to add visual excitement to the bed. Eubanks suggests the Todd-Avery Lenahan Collection for Standard Textile, which includes sheeting and jacquard woven top-of-the-bed designs for delicately colored full bedding ensembles. The ensembles combine Standard Textile’s patented Centium Core Technology with Lenahan’s elevated aesthetic.

Koneck says Valley Forge’s core product, Tencel+Plus sheets, hasn’t changed, but designers are embellishing those sheets, most often through embroidery.

“We’re seeing experimentation with bedding designs in terms of prints and bold patterns, but those are not as frequent,” Koneck says. Beds are still predominately all white, he agrees, but they might be embellished with colored embroidery and dramatic throw pillows or shams, or in some cases bold prints and designs on the corner or end of the bed where the throw goes.

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