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How to defy the ‘first night effect’ in your hotel

Articles | Hotel - 28.02.2018

When a guest comes to stay with you they have hopes of a fantastic night’s sleep in the most luxurious surroundings, away from the hustle bustle of their daily lives. Of course, as a hotelier you want to live up to that expectation and treat your guests to an unforgettable stay. 

But what if the quality of their sleep is out of your control? 

From their warm welcome and in-room arrival, to the quality of their room and your customer service, your business is built upon providing a faultless experience. You create an environment that is centred upon a great night’s sleep, but research suggest that the quality of your guest’s sleep isn’t actually dependent on the quality of your service at all. 

Science suggests that when a person is sleeping in a new environment they suffer from ‘first night effect’ which refers to disturbed sleep due to being in a new place. It is suggested that the brain unconsciously remains more alert when in new surroundings which is why people often don’t sleep well on their first-night away from home. 

As the night’s roll-on, scientists believe that guests will adapt to their new environment and sleep better, but when guests are only staying with you for one or two nights this could impact their experience of your hotel… which doesn’t seem fair at all, does it?

We’re not here to argue with science, but we do have some recommendations that you may want to take on board to ensure your guests sleep easy and leave feeling well rested from their stay with you.

It was all so quiet 

Noise is the biggest disturbance to a person’s sleep, are you confident that your rooms are caverns of peace and tranquillity? Do ever receive feedback from guests that noise from outside, or next door, or in the corridors disturbed them? 

Do all you can to sound-proof your rooms, even if that’s just providing ear plugs, so that noise isn’t one of the factors alerting their brain to the new environment! 

In the dark of the night… 

Most people will sleep more deeply and for longer if their rooms are kept dark from street lights, car lights or the rising sun. Do you have nice thick curtains or blackout blinds in your rooms? If not how about providing eye masks at least to keep your guests sleeping soundly?

Lay your head and catch some zzzz’s 

Pillows can also have an impact on the quality of a person’s sleep so be sure to provide extras so that your guests can tailor the bed to their usual set-up at home. Did you know that people require different types of pillows dependent on whether they sleep on the front, back or side? 

Offer plenty, and varieties of pillow types and sizes if you can, so that guests can feel at home. 

SHOP OUR RANGE OF PILLOWS >

Soothing scents 

Aromatherapy scented pillow sprays, plug-in air fresheners, candles, bubble baths and incense sticks will all create a soothing environment for your guests, helping them wind-down before they head off to sleep. 

The best scents to aid a deep sleep are said to be: Lavender, Chamomile, Bergamot, Jasmine, Rose. 

Remember, this won’t be every guest’s cup of tea, so you may want to offer these as in-room amenities rather than create a fully scented hotel! 

SHOP OUR RANGE OF SCENTED DIFFUSERS >

Sleepy sounds 

Some people opt for restful sounds to help them to drift off so why not provide this for your guests? A bedtime playlist could be quirky extra that your guests will remember! Whether it’s a chill music playlist, or an in-room app like ‘Calm’ which provides a selection of soothing sounds like natural noises, short stories and meditation, this technique could help your guests to nod off no problem. 

Do not disturb 

If all else fails, and despite your best efforts, the first night effect strikes, then make sure your guests won’t be disturbed if they’re in need of a lie-in or afternoon nap. Provide do not disturb signs and their room can be their home-away-from-home to settle in to and rest up.


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