Hotel Online  Special Report


 What Is the Queen, Who Is Allergic to Feathers,
Sleeping On in Your Hotel?
By Arlene Sheff, December 2006

I have a question to pose to General Managers, Director of Sales and Sales Managers. I won’t direct the question to Housekeeping Managers because they already know the answer…and they have assumed that their answer is perfectly OK… although maybe it’s NOT.

So here’s my question…

If your best customer, president of a big company, a Princess or Queen (ok, a King too) came to your hotel and because of their allergy to feathers, they had all the feathers taken off the bed in YOUR hotel room…what would they be sleeping with and on?

Sounds like an easy question. But if it were an easy question and your hotel had an appropriate substitute for your feather bed, feather fluffy comforter and feather pillows, then I wouldn’t be at my whit’s end, because I just spent ANOTHER few hotel nights sleeping on a rock pile while your other ‘non allergic’ customers slept in luxury on your feather beds, with feather fluffy comforters.

If  YOU can’t answer the question as to what your hotel uses as a suitable replacement/substitution…then you should be embarrassed ---and you have a lot of homework to do. First to find out the answer to my question…then to correct the problem. I challenge you to correct the problem.

In the majority of the high end hotels where I’ve stayed over the past few years, all the fluffy feather items are pulled off the bed and I’m left with your rock hard mattress with one of your OLD (usually yellowish beige) flat felt like material blankets thrown over the top ---and if I’m lucky and I’m still in the room when your housekeeper removes the feather bedding with feathers flying everywhere…I convince them to sandwich the ugly blanket between 2 sheets – but many times they just don’t understand what I’m saying and I settle for anything just to get them out of my room. 

And you’re asking…don’t high end hotels have a profile on me as a feather allergic meeting professional – I think NOT. If they do, they don’t use it. Does your hotel have that capability? Do you actually have access to that information when your favorite meeting professional comes to plan a meeting/event in your hotel?

Do you think something is added to the rock hard mattress like a mattress pad to protect, perhaps your new mattress…think again…NOT.

So just this past week, I stayed at a high end hotel in DC, with just a sheet covering their brand new mattress – and incidentally, the sheet barely came to the end of the bed and wasn’t long enough to cover the edge of the mattress, much less tuck in. Then there was a sheet on top, then the OLD icky flat beige blanket and another sheet on top. Doesn’t sound too inviting or sleep worthy for a quite expensive hotel in DC in the winter, does it? So I asked many managers in that hotel the same question and they all flunked my test…and the worst part is that I needed the heat on in the room all night, because the flat icky blanket between the two sheets wasn’t much to keep me warm. So, now my skin is dried out from the heat being on…because NO ONE HAS EVER ASKED THIS IMPORTANT QUESTION. Or maybe it was discussed at an executive meeting and voted down due to the expense of purchasing non-feather fluffy bedding. And did someone even think of the added expense had I spilled my coffee on their brand new mattress that was only covered by a thin sheet?

When the comfy feather beds and comforters AND pillows are removed from the newly designed beds in your hotel…what does your favorite professional meeting planner…OR THE QUEEEN OF ENGLAND sleep on?

If you don’t know, I give you a mission to find out…and correct the problem – because next time I might be at YOUR hotel with my digital camera so I can share with my meeting planning classes how hotels just sometimes ‘miss the mark’. 

Here’s an ugly picture to think about...if I were taller than 5 ft., my toes at the end of that bed would have grabbed the edge of the sheet and probably twisted it up around my body during the night. Do you think your customer who is allergic to feathers deserves that type of non-comfort for the good money they pay at YOUR hotel?

I challenge you to answer my question. Your hotel just may be the one who ‘gets it right.’ Write me at

Arlene Sheff, CMP is the Sr. Meeting & Event Planner for a large corporation.
© Arlene Sheff, 2006. All Rights Reserved

Arlene Sheff, CMP



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