Reimagining Hotel Turndown Service

NATIONAL REPORT—Turndown service. Whether viewed as a high-value amenity or a “do not disturb-worthy” interruption, it has been a staple of luxury travel dating back to the 18th century, when the wealthy made long journeys across Europe—or “Grand Tours.”[1] Whether staying in a hotel or the cabin of a ship, butlers and maids ensured sleeping quarters and dressing areas were ready for their masters or mistresses to retire to bed. In the 19th century, the first luxury hotels offered the service for those traveling alone.[2]

Understanding the power of this evening extra touch on guest satisfaction, hotels in all categories are creating distinctive turndown experiences, from spa bath options to gourmet snacks to unique nightcaps. But in the era of wellness, we believe hotel turndown service should have a singular focus—to help guests experience the benefits of exactly what they are paying for—a comfortable, restorative night’s sleep. And by taking advantage of technology, that experience can happen automatically, seamlessly delivering a guest’s preferred turndown amenities without any perceived intrusion from housekeeping staff.

The Experience

The vision is to create a sleep sanctuary designed to deliver an exceptional night’s rest. The experience could look like this:

  • At 9 p.m., the temperature in the guestroom drops to the ideal sleep temperature programmed, using smart thermostat technology
  • The lights in the room change to amber/red and automatically go to their dimmest setting
  • The thermostat automatically turns on the fan to circulate cooler air to allow pulled back sheets to get cooler
  • At 10 p.m. (or a time determined by the guest) two in-room smart noise masking machines turn on to create a noise blanket over the mattress
  • Additional amenities like a sleep mask or lavender-scented pillow spray are available next to the bed to promote relaxation
  • If a guest wakes in the night to use the restroom, sensor technology could turn on dim floor lights to safely illuminate the way
  • At 6 a.m. (or time determined by the guest) the sound-masking devices slowly shut off and drapes or window treatments change from room darkening to gently and slowly allowing natural blue light to filter into the room to rouse the guest from sleep

A Connected Sleep Concierge

Leveraging existing guest profiles and loyalty apps, hotels have the ability to create a virtual sleep concierge service to deliver a personalized experience with every stay. The platform could, for example, prompt guests to select from a menu of available amenities to promote relaxation and restful sleep upon making a reservation. This could include selecting the number and firmness of pillows, the type of linens, calming tea, pillow scents, sleep mask or noise masking devices. Desired preferences could be saved so that the room can be prepared with all selected amenities upon their arrival. The app could also take advantage of near-field technology to immediately execute room temperature and lighting preference upon entering the guestroom. It could also be used to prompt reminders to select existing or new amenities. The sensor technology exists now for hotels to create a truly personalized, innovative guest sleep experience and reimagine a new brand-defining turndown service model.

Connected sleep technology and all its potential wellness benefits can certainly enhance the experience hotels offer. Smart devices, together with personalized amenities, can create an adaptive sleep environment that delivers the best sleep and recovery possible. Making that virtual, integrated turndown experience unique and memorable could not only improve guest satisfaction but strengthen loyalty. We believe it’s time to put amenities that don’t promote a restful night’s sleep to bed.

[1] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/comment/hotel-turndown-service/

[2] https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/comment/hotel-turndown-service/

—JD Velilla, head of sleep experience, Serta Simmons Bedding

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