WEIRD WEDNESDAY: Strange Bedfellows?

Competing for business with customer service is not new to the hospitality industry, but three Holiday Inn locations in the UK announced last week an amenity that may be taking it to another level. Holiday Inn management there is trying out a new way to provide guests a good night’s sleep with the availability of human bed warmers on staff.

The free service consists of a member of the hotel staff, dressed head to foot in a fuzzy pajama-like suit, occupying a guest’s bed for five minutes. The aim is to warm the bed ahead of time, so the guest can slip into a slumber more quickly and comfortably. Provided as a trial service, the hotel will gauge customer response to this offering.

While this idea may seem downright weird to some, sleep expert Dr. Chris Idzikowski, director of the Edinburgh Sleep Centre, said the idea could help people get off to sleep. “There’s plenty of scientific evidence to show that sleep starts at the beginning of the night when body temperature starts to drop,” he said. “A warm bed — approximately 20° to 24°C [68° to 75.2°F] — is a good way to start this process whereas a cold bed would inhibit sleep. Holiday Inn’s new bed warmers service should help people achieve a good night’s sleep especially as it’s taking much longer for them to warm up when they come in from the snow.”