Memory Foam vs Traditional Beds and the Hotel Business

A Hypnos Bed Product. Textiles by Edinburgh Weavers. Image source: http://www.hotelspeconline.com/

The beds in high spec 4*/5*  hotels are very comfortable (usually), but with the domestic market flood of mattresses manufactured using foam/or latex/or temperature sensitive pressure relieving material(s), we wondered why it is that the major hospitality outlets do not appear to have followed the trend and made the switch; continually installing the traditionally made, pocket sprung mattress mattresses on divan style bases. We investigated this further.

Hypnos Contract Beds did not take up our offer to visit their factory in Castle Donnington as part of our research, but did offer their view about memory foam vs traditional in an insightful comment to the TSS Ed via LinkedIn. Note: Hypnos Contract Beds is a supplier to many of the world’s international hotel chains, here follows their consumerism style comment on the subject:

In their quest to provide the ultimate comfortable night’s sleep for their guests, hotel chains are increasingly recognising the benefits that pocket sprung mattresses with natural fillings offer over foam related products in terms of moisture control and heat management – foam can neither wick away, nor transport away body moisture as efficiently as natural and other sustainable fibres. It is also inefficient at supportive motion separation unlike pocket springs, which respond individually to movement of the sleeping guest and it can lose 25% of its hardness in as little as the first three months of use under constant compression. Foam is also largely unrecyclable with much of it ending in landfill at the end of its serviceable life. Pocket springs, natural fibres and polyesters can all be 100% recycled at the end of their life. Foam also requires the addition of many chemicals to reach the stringent fire retardant standards required for hospitality.

James Cox, Founder and CEO of Simba Sleep – Image source Furniture News online

Another East Midland’s based factory is London-based mattress brand Simba Sleep. Founder and CEO, James Cox was on one of his business trips abroad when we requested to visit the behind the scenes operations so our Ed was, again, denied a tour. In an already published interview of Feb 2017 by online  Furniture News  Cox had said “The bed market has been monopolised by the big players for too long. We want to change that, and improve the way people sleep.

The Simba Hybrid® is a blend of pocket springs and memory foam, and, along with one of its main competitors, Eve Sleep (the Eve mattress is of foam construction of four synthetic layers and a ‘breathable’ top layer) are selling online and at furniture stores; SIMBA at John Lewis in fact. Simba Sleep state that they DO sell to commercial buyers, but have not discussed their #B2B operations with us in any depth.

Simba Sleep’s promotional speak is all about how the product provides a comfortable sleep experience, also how its form and function withstands other physical activities that tends to take place in bed (cheeky☺) – and in regard to the former (not the latter ☺) published reviews on the company’s website from domestic buyers are glowing.

(Note: Duvalay manufacture bespoke mattresses both traditionally and using memory foam technology)

 

After comparing the bias of two big players in the Bed business, Hypnos Contract Beds and Simba Sleep, our answer to the question raised in the first paragraph comes from information on the website of Duvalay Trade  who state:

  • Mattresses used in rented accommodation that are let to the public, Hotels, holiday homes, houses, flats and bed sits need to comply to BS7177: 2009 and A1:2011 medium hazard
  • Mattresses used in private accommodation needs to comply to BS7177:2008 and A1:2011 low hazard

Therefore, we conclude that it is probable that many of the foam/or latex/or temperature sensitive pressure relieving material(s) used in the manufacture of mattress-in-a-box brands without the added chemicals do not comply to BS7177: 2009 and A1:2011  so cannot, for fire safety reasons, be placed on beds in hotel rooms or anywhere else where rooms are let to the paying public (best we all check our mattresses are complying with the domestic recommendations too). There are downloadable flammability information guides available for contract and domestic sectors here

So we have suddenly established that the popular memory foam type brands concentrate on targeting the private consumer as this is their customer base, they do this by offering a product trial with a get their money back offer and promoting product through offering product in exchange for a review or by getting a cheery vlogger onboard perhaps who videos the ‘What’s in the Box’ reveal on opening! Companies like family owned company SleepBear who manufacture latex versions, for example.

We talked with Creative Agency 42 Group  who worked with a mattress in a box challenger brand (identity withheld). While they say this is a ‘fascinating industry’ and acknowledge that ‘product costs are low and branding is everything’ They say that ‘the market is at or beyond saturation point.’ 

Conclusion

Obviously traditional mattress manufacture and their use of natural fibres still has to comply to the same universal safety regulations, and that the finished product makes it easier to meet those quality control standards, therefore, the only reason really that hotels and hoteliers continue to install pocket sprung mattresses and divan style beds. ‘Safety first’! This March has been  National Bed Month and there’s plenty of promotional tweeting going about all things sleep and bed related; though we’ve had to dig a bit to find a simple answer to a simple question.

The National Bed Federation (nbf) provides support to the trade with marketing, training and regulatory advice, also, bed buying tips for consumers. Both Hypnos and Duvalay who we have featured in this article appear on the approved member’s list.

The Sleep Council 

 

Finally, we’re left wondering if bedbugs/dust mites harbour inside latex/foam constructed mattresses in the same way they tend to in traditionally manufactured mattresses. But that’s a topic for another time! Thanks for reading.

 

 

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