Bashar Wali is a self-proclaimed hotel nerd with major FOMO.
During the BLLA Boutique Hotel Owners Conference, we caught up with the man whose fear of missing out has created a habit — one that’s turned into an unofficial world record: he doesn’t stay in a hotel for more than one night.
If he’s in New York City for four nights, he’ll stay at a different property every single night.
As a professional hotelier and road warrior, Bashar has a unique perspective on the sleep environment and he has thoughts on how hotels should be approaching the sleep space.
“I think we as an industry are foolish because we have lost sight of the business we’re in. We’re in the business of sleep. We are giving you a good night’s sleep. And for my properties and for my team, we have some pillars…and sleep to me, is one of the most important pillars.
And it’s the mattress, the sheets, the pillows, the alarm clock, how dark the room gets, how cool the room gets, the noise factor, the sleep button on the TV.”
Bashar is the CEO and Founder of This Assembly and Practice Hospitality.
On this episode, you’ll hear about:
- the importance of the sleep experience,
- the transition of the hotel industry’s focus from fitness and sleep to overall health and wellness, and
- how to incentivize people by being remarkable (versus overwhelming them with discounts and coupons);
- Plus, Mark asks for advice from Wali that could help with the future of Dream Camp
Connect with Bashar!
Mark Kinsley: Welcome to the Dos Marco Show. I’m Mark Kinsley here with Bashar Wali, the CEO. Now, make sure I’m saying this right, This Assembly, Practice Hospitality.
Bashar Wali: Same in the business. Two separate companies. This assembly and practice hospital, this
Mark Kinsley: assembly and practice hospitality. So I’m sitting here at the beautiful Westlake Village Inn here in Southern California, just outside of LA Thousand Oaks area, and I hear Bashar on stage talking about his.
Not staying in the same hotel, even one night after the other. So describe this to people. You’re saying if you’re in Manhattan, you check into a hotel and you’re gonna be there four nights, each of the four nights. You stay in a different property? Never the same one twice. Okay. Paint a picture for us. So,
Bashar Wali: um, I’m a hotel guy, geek through and through.
So I decided, I don’t know, 10 years ago, and I have fomo, major fomo. So I’m like, why am I staying here? I’ve already been there, done that, seen it. I’m gonna go try this other hotel. And so it began and I jumped from hotel to hotels. So in many cities I’ve run out of hotels. So I repeat now just because I’m out.
But in Manhattan it’s hard to run out. So I’ve kept count in Manhattan and it’s my bragging right, essentially 225 different hotels in the island of Manhattan, including Williams Burke. To be fair, and I wanna lie, but not counting other boroughs. Cause I’ve stayed in like Jersey City, I don’t count that as Manhattan 200 and.
Mark Kinsley: if there’s a Guinness Book of World records for this, do you think that you would be holding the record today?
Bashar Wali: I am. There is, and I’m confident I would because no one is stupid enough like I am to move around. Many people travel far more than I do live under. I mean, I travel my fair share 225,000 miles a year to date.
But people live on the road, don’t own homes, but they don’t move around hotel to hotel. So that’s the neurotic part of that. Okay. Help me understand. And I don’t care enough to, uh, prove it, I suppose. So I haven’t tried.
Mark Kinsley: So you’re saying you have fomo. That means fear of missing out just for anybody who doesn’t know.
And there may be people out there who don’t know. They know. So your fear is, I fear missing out, having potentially stayed in a property I would love, enjoy the experience. Want to know more about,
Bashar Wali: So here’s, here’s the, the argument I have with friends. So I live in Oregon and I have friends that go every spring break to Hawaii.
So I say, Why do you go to Hawaii or. you go every year. Yeah. How do you know, Have you been to cost Costa Rica? No. How do you know you’re not gonna let Costa Rica more than Hawaii? Well, we dunno. Well then why wouldn’t you try it until you decide? Then you could say, Okay, I don’t like Costa Rica. I’m gonna go Hawaii.
But then there’s also Ecuador and there is Belize and there is. So I’m, I’m, Look, if the whole world was like me, I don’t wanna live on this planet. So it takes all kinds, There are creatures of comfort that is not me. My,
Mark Kinsley: my wife to that would say, Well, I like to go back to places. No, I can unwind. I understand what’s gonna happen.
There’s a time for an adventurous vacation. There’s a time for my relaxing vacation where I know her birthday. Everything’s located. Listen, I am no
Bashar Wali: dummy. I’ve been married for a long time. I do not do this to my wife or my family. My ass would be gone a long time ago. This is only self-induced, self-inflicted damage on my own.
I don’t do it to others. Now, if we travel as colleagues, I might make you do it, cuz then not only do I get to see my hotel, but I get to. So like we do this whole thing,
Mark Kinsley: So, Okay. So as a person, and this is a mattress industry show, so as a person who’s very focused on sleep and sleep environments and the mattress and the sheets and the pillow and the whole experience, paint a picture of your general assessment of the sleep experience that hotels offer, the in, in your experience, the properties you stayed at, or maybe some that stand
Bashar Wali: out.
I, I think we as an industry are foolish because we have. Of the business we’re in, we’re in the business of sleep. We are giving you a good night’s sleep. And for my properties and for my team, we have some pillars. I hate that term, but fine. We’ll go with it for now. And sleep to me, is one of the most important pillars.
And it’s the mattress, the sheets, the pillows, the alarm clock, how dark the room gets, how cool the room gets, the noise factor, the sleep button on the tv. Like there are a hundred things that make for a perfect sleep experience, and we ignore ’em because we’re more focused on giving you. Crazy item in the mini bar that’s gonna shock and eye you when at the end of the day, sleep is at the epicenter of what we do.
And wellness is the new term in our industry. No longer fitness and sleep is again at the heart of wellness. You don’t have a good night’s sleep, forget anything else you might do, cuz you’re literally shortening your life. So I’m pleased that we as an industry are starting to think about it more and focus on it more.
And this mattress conversation, I’ve always been puzzled, you know, hotel makes the investment in a mattress. Every five years, three to five is what I tell people you should do. Some people wait 10 years. I’m like, Are you crazy? Three to five years, you’ve gotta change your mattresses. So in the beginning we’d say let’s, let’s call it a five year investment.
The difference between a good mattress and a great mattress, relatively speaking in dollars is not that big. So why are you skimping out on something that you’re only gonna change every five years? That is truly at the bottom, at the heart of what you sell. So I always tell. I don’t, the mattresses I use in my three and a half star hotel are the mattresses they use in the suites only at the six star hotels because the price difference isn’t that big.
And what a great amenity to give guests. So people fail miserably at it. As an industry we
Mark Kinsley: fail miserably at. So one of the things I did coming in here is because I’m a newbie, uh, to BLLA which is the Boutique Lifestyle Leaders Association. So I’m, I’m new to this and I’m new to the hotel industry as a whole.
Mm-hmm. . So I wanted to learn about it. So we did a research. 400 people, uh, across the US national sample. So it gives you a 90% confidence interval who had stayed in a boutique hotel for three nights during the past 12 months. Now a lot of them had stayed at other styles of property. This is what surprised me.
I’m gonna tell you what didn’t surprise me. What didn’t surprise me was the reason that people wanted to stay at a boutique hotel. A lot of it was driven around, it was more unique and fun, and it was in a great location, not. surprising. . . After that, we asked the question, out of these 20 items, force rank, what’s most important to you when you stay at the hotel?
So once they’re on property, what mattered? The number one item? I felt like they were just serving this up onto silver platter. The number one item was the mattress, and the number two item was quality of sleep. Mm-hmm. , I mean, the coffee maker was way down. The fitness facility was way down. The mini bar was way
Bashar Wali: down.
And what do hotels focus on? All the things that don’t matter. Sadly, again, we’re starting to pay attention. And he asked about some of the experiences. There’s a, uh, brand Equinox, you know the fitness brand, they’re in the hotel business. They have a hotel in New York, their first hotel in the Hudson Yards, and they truly focused in on them sleep experience.
So right next to the bed there’s a button that says, I dunno, sleep well, or something like that. And you push the button, shades go down a hundred percent blackout. They a great mattress, Great sheets, great pillows. So great that, you know, you share a bed with a partner sometimes and you’re always tugging at the comforter.
They have two separate comforters. So if you’re sleeping with your wife, your spouse, your partner, you each have your own, you’re not playing that game. So you push that button, the temperature drops to 67, which is scientifically proven to be the ideal sleeping temperature. The smoke detector doesn’t have a light flashing on it.
The thermo thermostat doesn’t have a light flashing on it. So very, very, They leaned into the sleep thing heavily and it’s paying dividends cuz guess what again? It’s one out of 2 25. I remember. I talk about it. The rest just blends. Who cares what’s in the mini bar? Who? Art you have on the wall.
Fundamentally, I assume it was all good and good enough, but in this particular case, the sleep experience definitely stood
Mark Kinsley: out as a business traveler. I got to the point where I was really contemplating carrying bandaids with me to put over all the little lights that invaded my, I
Bashar Wali: carry little dots. You do?
Yeah. Yeah. Little sticker dots, and I put ’em on the, I mean, sometimes it’s hard to get to the smoke detector in the ceiling, but certainly the thermostats is easy and it is obnoxious like some of them are. Like flashlights in your eyes. It’s ridiculous. Alarm clocks everything. We don’t think about it. We haven’t thought about the sleep experience.
And like I said, it’s, it’s really, it’s a shame because at the day, at the end of the day, that’s the business we’re in. That is the business we’re in.
Mark Kinsley: The data we got also said that 71% of people, the quality of their sleep would impact their review. And, and two outta three people were leaving reviews, writing
Bashar Wali: reviews.
If I’m cranky, you’re gonna hear about it cuz I didn’t sleep. Now obviously a lot more goes into it. Elevator, whatever, all the stuff goes into it. But you know, there are, there are hotel beds literally when I go that are becking me in. Right. It feels like you’re getting hugged in it, like sitting in a race car.
If you ever sat on a race car seat, like you feel that you’re just encompassed in it versus just laying on some flat, hard, terrible, and again, I, I scratched my head and I say, How much money did you save from buying this mattress to having bought the right mattress? It’s not much in the scheme of things, over a five.
Mark Kinsley: Okay, so we talked about Manhattan and all the different sleep experiences you’ve had there. 225 different hotels. Mm-hmm. and Equinox is the one that stands out to you on the sleep experience. On the sleep experience, Yep. Uh, other sleep, sleep experiences outside of New York that bubble up to the top in terms of memory or memorable?
Bashar Wali: Uh, I’m trying to think. I’ve stayed in a lodge, a hunt, not a hunting lodge by a wildlife Lodge lodge in South Africa, and you would think you’re literally in the middle. Of wilderness sleeping in otherwise a canvas tent. I mean it’s really not a tent. It’s basically a luxury suite. And that, and maybe, you know, part of it has to do also with your psyche.
You’ve been out all day, you’re tired and come into this bed. And I remember this was literally a heavenly sleep experience. It was amazing. Again, one of those beds that Beck ands you, that’s hard to get out of. Cause it feels so good.
Mark Kinsley: That is a beautiful thing. If you wake up in the morning and you’re ready to get outta bed because your back hurts.
You didn’t have a good night’s sleep, but if you wake up and you’re like, Ah, I just wanna stay in a little bit longer. Exactly. You’re gonna trip that probably to the hotel too. Exactly, yeah, because they’re curating every single item around
Bashar Wali: you. Now, meanwhile, I’ll give you another interesting sleep experience.
The Ice Hotel. The original Ice Hotel, two hours north of the Arctic Circle in northern Sweden, you literally sleep on a slap of ice and you have basically a, I don’t know, a pad, and then you are sleeping on top of a reindeer, um, reindeer skin for warmth. That was a miserable sleeping experience. And again, I’m saying put a nice mattress on the bed.
Who cares? Fine. I’m in the ice room. Why are you making me suffer? Put a nice mattress on my bed. Now
Mark Kinsley: we’re cra we’re crazy in the mattress industry about cooler sleep. Yeah. And it got into where it’s the cooling war. Yeah. Yeah. I’m like, no. There’s a point at which it’s way too cold and you feel like you’re sleeping on a block of bias.
Okay. I have to ask you about your hat. Your hat’s a spiritual guide. It’s not. Nothing
Bashar Wali: in particular.
Mark Kinsley: Well, you could be though. The spiritual guide. people. You’re like the patron saint of all hotel of
Bashar Wali: hotels. There you go. I’m the spiritual guide for hotel experiences. .
Mark Kinsley: I love it. Okay. Talk to us about some other just wild experiences even outside of the sleep focus of the conversation that just stand out to you.
Bashar Wali: experiences. I mean, I’ve stayed again because of my neurotic behavior. Um, everywhere I go, I tried to clean ice hotel, definitely to do it. One of the more interesting experiences pre Covid just recently in the last few years, uh, in Amsterdam. Like port district, there is an actual crane. An actual crane.
And imagine taking a shipping container and cutting it up in three pieces and putting it inside the crane on top of each other. And each one is a hotel room. Wait, are they lifted off the ground? Yeah. Yeah. They’re inside the crane. Up top and three rooms. Each one is a room. And I slept in one of those.
That was a pretty amazing, and the crane sways in the middle of the night and it CREs. It squeaks, but had to check the box. So that was a pretty crazy hotel experience. And they may say it rocks you. Yeah, exactly. It rock you to squeak except it’s squeaking a little and making noises, which is not that interesting.
But anyway, it was, it was, it was
Mark Kinsley: a great experience. So that, this is incredible. Do you have a YouTube channel or Instagram or anything like that? Instagram,
Bashar Wali: I, I post a lot on Instagram. Uh, what’s, it’s my full name, The Shawa. And, uh, I, you know, I happen to like memes, so I, I feel, uh, honored. I think that you’re sitting on your couch board scrolling through your phone, and I make you laugh out loud.
And that’s my job in life. No, no monetization, no marketing, no nothing. So
Mark Kinsley: it would just be fun to follow your journey though, to see what you think about every place you stay. You know, I, I heard you during the panel talking about this idea and, and we have a lot of independent retailers that, you know, help families find furniture and mattresses, appliances, the whole thing.
And I heard you talking about this idea. creating loyalty. You were responding to a question, creating loyalty and being remarkable versus incentivizing people with, with coupons,
Bashar Wali: bribing them. With bribing them coupons and points and whatever. If I’m in your shop, in your hotel, in your, like, find a way to earn my loyalty and the way to earn people’s loyalty is treat them like individual humans.
Show them they matter. I’m yours for life. It’s not about points, it’s not about things. It really is. Making sure that you make me feel
Mark Kinsley: special. Let me tell you, whatever. It’s that I’m, I’ll tell you a quick story. So my favor, I’m at a, a boutique property, uh, at the base of, of Gondola One and Veil. Mm-hmm.
And there was like Pepto-Bismol on the wall and beside the shower. And we just told ’em, Hey, if you can get that cleaned up, that’d be great. And so we came back and they hadn’t cleaned it up second time came back, Hey, just get it cleaned up. No big deal. So that now they have strawberries for us and they’re, they’re saying, Thank you.
Sure. And the third. Uh, they were waiting on us to come in and it’s almost like they were communicating with each other and they followed us to our room, Mr. Kinsley, and they were so nice and helpful and the Pepto Bimal was still there. Still that point doesn’t matter. I loved him. I’m like, they’re trying so hard.
They’re just missing this. That’s funny. So, so it is paying attention to the details. When you coach people up, how do you make sure they’re, they’re treating people like individuals?
Bashar Wali: Part of being boutique and independent is the idea that there are no rules. Like there are, there is no script. You don’t have to say hello in a certain way.
You just have to make Chris someone feels special and welcome. So we just tell people, be yourself, be your authentic self. Sometimes it doesn’t work, but most of the times you tell people to be that it will work well for you. So it’s, it’s, that’s really the simplest advice I can give is be your authentic self and encourage your teammates or employees to be.
Some self because people want to do business with people they like. And if I relate to you, I like you, I’m we gonna do business together. It’s not about being some robot that’s being taught to say something the way the corporate office wants. Mm-hmm. . I think
Mark Kinsley: sometimes when people are new and you know, we deal with a lot of churn in our industry’s same.
Same. So maybe learn the rules and then be yourself, you know,
Bashar Wali: fundamentally I can teach you the steps, but I can’t teach you how to. Yeah, I can force you to say things a certain way, but it’s gonna come across, create an environment that celebrates and respects those people and they’ll be, they’ll thrive and show their respect to others and kumbaya.
Right? I mean, that’s ultimately how it works. It’s like at home, like the same way you wanna treat your, your family, you should be treating your employees the same way and they’ll treat your customers the same way.
Mark Kinsley: I remember a friend of mine, his snowboard instructor, and when he started, they said, We can’t teach you how to talk to people.
We can teach you how to snowboard. Exactly. Exactly. So, We have Dream Camps, which are these executive retreats. Very experiential, about 30 people. And then we have Sleep Summit. Sleep summit’s gonna take place in Bentonville, Arkansas. Is there a good spot in Bentonville where you should be looking to the future?
Bashar Wali: Uh, I am coincidentally working on a project in Bentonville, Arkansas, an independence hotel, uh, ground up. So it’s gonna take us probably a couple plus years to get it off the ground. But in the interim, there’s a lot of great hotels there. 21 c being. Really nice hotel with great arts. But yeah, we’re excited about Manville and, uh, can’t wait to be a part of this.
Mark Kinsley: Okay. So here’s another, I’m, I’m kind of putting you on the spot since you’ve been to so many properties. Sure. So one of the things we want to do with Dream Camp is make sure that people get off the plane and they go to the location and there’s walkability or there’s access to nature. That’s why we had Dream Camp in Bentonville, cuz you can take the, you know, an Uber to downtown and all of a sudden you don’t have to be in a car anymore.
Sure. And you have access to mountain biking trails. So it’s very wellness focused in a way. Sure. But you have, you know, conference facilities and things like that. Can you think of any properties domestically that kind of fit that bill where you can get there and all kind of have that shared experience and being outside quite a little?
Bashar Wali: I mean, there’s so many, I to think about it a little bit, but there’s so many places. It really is. It’s about the place of where you want to be, whether you want to be beach or mountain or whatever. Well, I’d have to think about it some more. You put me on the spot. Yeah. I can’t think of any right away. But, um, you know, I think about Denver being at sort of the footsteps of everywhere and you can easily access the outdoors.
Boise, Idaho, uh, Sun Valley, Idaho, Great place. I mean, think about being in Sun Valley. Yeah. Um, but so yeah, a lot of great places and a lot of these destinations, mountain towns, resort town, um, that give you access to the
Mark Kinsley: outdoors and great places to go. So. Okay. Talk to us real quickly. Trends in travel. C many things shut down your industry completely, fundamentally changed.
How are things coming back? Corporate travel still down. Yep. Is is, uh, group travel an offsite type travel for smaller companies up?
Bashar Wali: What are you seeing? So, you know what we affectionately called revenge travel. The minute things opened we’re like, Okay, everyone is gonna get out of the house and go. And that mostly benefited, uh, resorts, drive to destinations.
And more recently, you. This incredible immense demand for Europe being satisfied when Europe opened back up and we could travel again this past summer. So I think with revenge travel behind us and kind of things coming back to normal a little bit, we we’re definitely worried about what happens with business travel.
It’s back, but not at the levels, uh, pre pandemic. And we don’t think it will ever be pre pandemic level just because people live differently now. So we’re sort of watching that carefully see what happens there. But I think this idea of, I think Americans have rediscovered. So when before you used to go to Europe or Asia or whatever, they’re saying, Wait a minute, South Dakota is a great place.
Bentonville is a great place. Mm-hmm. . So people are adding these American destinations on their radar and we’re seeing a lot more of that. So I think leisure is compensating a little bit for business, but certainly we’re still a long way away from recovering back to the pre pandemic levels, depending on what happens to office.
You have no reason to be in the office anymore, and you used to host people in New York City that came to your office that needed hotels. Well now they don’t need to come to New York City anymore. So what happens with that business travel? That’s what we’re very keenly watching for and awaiting to see what happens.
Our hope is that it’ll come back in the 80 percentile level, hoping not less. Cause if it’s less, it’ll certainly be a hit to the big business
Mark Kinsley: center of cities. One of the questions I didn’t ask during your panel was focused on this idea. Experiences. And of course if anybody stayed at uh, or popped onto Airbnb for whatever reason, to book a a property, you’ve seen local experiences.
And I started thinking about boutique properties and their ability to be more high touch. Have you seen boutique hotels invest in creating kind of the stem to stern experiences and guided experiences when guests come into town? Or is it still kind of focused on the property and the experience there?
Bashar Wali: You’re seeing more of it Definit. It’s sort of in our own shop, we call it, you know, we want you to come and we want to be base camp for adventure for you. And by the way, adventure could mean walking a city and exploring architecture. Adventure doesn’t have to be climbing mountains or biking, right. It literally could be urban adventure.
And I think with this blend of business and pleasure that we’re seeing, we’re seeing more people wanting that because the business traveled, who came airport, Uber, Hotel, office, Hotel, Uber Airport. They’re saying now I want more. Mm-hmm. . So we. How can we curate a 24 hours for you extra to encourage you to stay, which is our benefit, to extend your stay and give you a reason.
You’ve been to New York 50 times and you’ve never been here. I can’t believe it. Cuz you just come and follow your routine. So you’re seeing more and more people paying attention to it. And the term we use now is this leisure, this idea of business and pleasure kind of converging together because people just don’t travel for singular reasons anymore.
They want to do lots of things when they travel and they don’t wanna miss the opportunity on having. To Bentonville and not having gone and checked out the mountain bike trails that we have, uh, in Bentonville. So I think we’re seeing more and more of it. Again, those who are focused on the experience, they’re not in the commodity business, are definitely paying attention to it.
Others are saying, We’ve got a cool room with cool art and cool beds. Come stay, and those are the guys that are gonna be left behind.
Mark Kinsley: Yeah. Interesting. So it is gonna transition into experiences a hundred percent. I always talk about in our business, it’s not a transaction, it’s a transformation. This is your chance to be a part of somebody’s life.
Bashar Wali: You if you don’t provide that experience in a hotel construct. Think about it. You pay me a hundred bucks or a thousand bucks a night, maybe you steal a towel. That’s the extent of it. Like if I go to a store and buy a phone for a thousand dollars, I have that phone with me for a long period of time. I go to a hotel, it’s gone.
Like I have nothing. So if you don’t give me a reason to remember and celebrate what you’ve given me, you’re a commodity. And if you’re a commodity, gas is commodity. I’m gonna fill up my. I don’t care who, what may I care? Price, and location. Right? And if that’s what happens to hotels, we’re dead. So if you’re not focusing on creating more than, if you’re gonna become a commodity, you’re dead.
Because people don’t buy commodity. Hotel is not a commodity. Buy, it’s an emotional lie. And it’s based on the memory you bring home. Now, you know, one thing I
Mark Kinsley: think about a lot when you, when I envision experiences, um, I think about the transitions. And I think transitions can be the place where, Create that remarkable moment or things can kind of chip away and henpeck at a guest until it falls apart and there’s a transition from the time somebody gets out of their car, gets dropped off until they walk to that front desk.
And, and you know, I think about in retail sales, the, the thing that people fear the most is the salesperson. I. Well, whenever you’re walking into a hotel, I think the opposite should be true. Exactly. When you walk up to that person, that should be the most welcoming sign.
Bashar Wali: Excitement. Exactly. Exactly right.
And I think, again, we hotels forever have created this sort of velvet robe and bouncer for like you don’t belong. And I think we’re starting to shut down in Michigan cause people are done with the whole formality thing. Like people want to come in and get a virtual hug from you like they want to feel.
Especially hotels cuz there’s some vulnerability about being in a. Like you’re sleeping there, your possessions are there. You want to feel warm and you wanna feel at home. And I think if you don’t accomplish that by Velvet Road and, and stanchions and answers, you accomplish that to your point with really making you feel like you’ve
Mark Kinsley: arrived in new manner.
Okay, so another kind of pop quiz type question. Oh, if, if a retailer that sells mattresses wanted to potentially place their mattresses in a hotel so that guests could go there, try. So they don’t have that purchase ahead of time and that money sunk and then they have to figure out how to get a mattress back in and back out.
How, how could, um, what would you recommend to retailers who are considering partnering with hotels to get their mattresses in there so guests can come and try them out? Is
Bashar Wali: that something that, That’s an interesting point. I mean, we’ve done it before where, for example, uh, uh, like a manufacturer, right?
Says We’re rolling out this new thing for hospitality and we need a place to try it. We’ll give it to you for a substantial discount or, For you to try it. We haven’t done it on the local level, but not suggesting that you couldn’t. You certainly can. Uh, as long as you make my life e like if I’m helping you, what’s in it for me kind of thing.
Right now what’s in it for me is I’ll get an extra room night out of this person who wants to come sleep with me to try the mattress. Right. So that’s a benefit to me. Cause that person otherwise may not have stayed on. Right. So that’s a small benefit, but I think if you talk to non-branded hotels that don’t have to go to the mothership to get.
If you have a one off independent hotel and you make a deal with them and you sweeten the deal for them, I think it’s a really interesting way that you’re thinking about to eliminate this whole cause. How much do you know about a mattress lying in it in a store for 10 minutes or an hour? Like you’ve gotta sleep on it?
It’s a really interesting idea. We’ve done it with manufacturers, not with individual
Mark Kinsley: retailers. Our data was interesting too. It said that 36% of people have inquired about the mattress they slept on in hotels in the hotel. 25% of our respondents said they purchased that mattress. I think that’s a little overstated, probably.
Um, but I think that that number, you know, one out of three people inquiring about a mattress, definitely it could be, could be. Especially at a boutique property where they’re curating very good quality
Bashar Wali: sleep goods For sure. And we see it a lot and it’s probably out of things you buy in a hotel and these days it seems like you can buy everything in a hotel.
Mattresses are definitely on the top. And Starwood Hotels at the time with the heavenly bed at Weston really started that. That people now go to hotels and say, What is this mattress? Tell me more. Where can I get? And again, we do that with manufacturers. We do the white label thing, we’ll sell it to you, but the manufacturer will ship it and handle everything.
So that does happen. It, it was sort of a thing maybe a decade ago. It’s less of a thing now cuz people just have access. They go online and they buy it. Yeah. You know, the internet is democratizing a lot of
Mark Kinsley: these off things. Easier to buy the rob for sure. Yep. What, what did I not ask you that you would like to say to the sleep industry or people that are dealing in sleep products?
Bashar Wali: Well, so for my industry, I’d like to tell my industry, uh, focus on what matters and you rattled the statistics and I. Them and don’t cheapen out on the mattress, but for your industry, I think our industry certainly is continues to evolve and I think if you’re not dealing with hotels right now, I think it’s a really interesting space.
The big boys are obviously after it and deploy a lot of capital after it that you, even a local retailer can go and work your local market hotels to sell them a mattress. Mattress. So I think I feel like there’s more opportunity in that space for you guys to work closer with hotels that are not right now.
Again, the big boys all do, but I think there’s a lot of sort of boutique brands that don’t do it. And by the way, we’re talking about purple earlier and sort of the roll up mattresses. There’s some hotels where you can’t get a mattress into a room, just historic properties. So there’s a lot of nuances.
It’s not one size fits all, and I think if that industry of interest to you, I think you’ll pay dividends. Just need to
Mark Kinsley: focus. Yeah, you can roll ’em up and squeeze ’em around corners. Exactly. Well, the problem is getting ’em out of the room when you stop changing.
Bashar Wali: Exactly. Exactly. Well then you cut ’em, you destroy ’em.
A doesn’t. Yeah.
Mark Kinsley: Yeah. Chop ’em up and that’s out they go. And we’re working on recycling, by the way. That’s a big initiative with us. Sure. Uh, Bachar Wally, thank you so much for being on the me. You’re an innovative, interesting guy. I mean, you could, I, I, I’m gonna say it, You’re the most interesting man in the hotel business.
Bashar Wali: No way. Don’t say that. Thank you for having me.