It doesn’t matter whether you are on consecutive business trips or a short stint. The most important issue in customers’ accommodation experience is an uninterrupted night`s sleep. This is paramount as it can determine the perceived quality of the hotel. We’ll take an overview of sleep experiences in various accommodation settings within the framework of the studies carried out in this field.
Many different factors play a role in hotel selection, such as individual experiences, the location of the hotel, the facilities and services offered. However, in most in most instances, particularly for city hotels, time spent sleeping can be accounted for most of the stay. Therefore, providing a comfortable sleep environment is one of the most important topics to be considered.
It is a well-known fact that some guests might experience problems falling asleep even in the most comfortable of settings. This is a phenomenon called the first night effect – FNE related to problems in adapting to a new environment. FNE is characterized by a shortened overall sleep duration and shorter REM sleep, as well as difficulty falling asleep. Studies show that people who sleep in a new place exhibit increased activity in the left hemisphere of their brain. This part of the brain develops a kind of protection mechanism, keeping the body on alert for possible signs of danger.
So, what happens after the first night at a new setting? Studies show that sleep delays experienced on the first night in the new location improve over the following nights.
For some people, it is just the opposite with them enjoying the night`s stay as much despite the new or unfamiliar environment, in some cases finding themselves having a more restful sleep while away from home. Why is it that for some it is turning and tossing trying to sleep while others find hotel rooms ideal for better sleep? Studies show that multiple factors might be at play.
One study looked at a group of people who reported improvement in their regular insomnia symptoms while on hotel stays. Researchers then compared the group of recovery from ‘home insomnia’ with that of ‘travel insomnia’. The findings showed that the ‘travel insomnia’ group was more prevalent among business travelers than tourists. This suggests that accommodation for touristic purposes is more relaxation-oriented compared to a busy meeting agenda that might keep the mind distracted at night.
Another striking result of the studies is that daytime people, i.e. the early birds, are more likely to report insomnia symptoms in hotels than night owls. Nocturnal sleepers tend to have a more flexible sleep schedule that allows them to adapt more easily to a new environment, while day sleepers may be more susceptible to ‘jet lag’ or environmental changes as they tend to have more need to stick to regular schedules.
Studies also show that hotel satisfaction significantly affects the reported sleep quality of both groups. For customers who are more sensitive to environmental changes, it can be said that a hotel room with the right facilities in every sense, from pillow menu to sound and light insulation, can improve sleep quality and reduce interruptions.