Ever had a guest arrive at your B&B or guest house with their own pillow? If so, they’ve likely been the victim of a ‘bad pillow experience’. This was likely a high firm pillow that literally gave them a pain in the neck, or a soft thin one that simply couldn’t cradle them into dreamland.

How do you ensure you pick the perfect pillow for your guests, so they don’t have similar bad experiences at your establishment?

The short answer is that you can’t, because there’s no such thing as ‘The Perfect Pillow’. Every guest comes with a specific set of needs, preferences and sleep positions which factor into what makes a pillow ideal for them.

Some love down pillows. Others are allergic to them. A back-sleeper might love your firmer, thinner pillows. A side-sleeper might want a thicker pillow to fill the gap between bed and shoulder.

So what’s the solution? How can you ensure you have happy guests when they rest their heads on your pillows?


Many upmarket and business hotels around the world let guests do the choosing, by offering them a ‘pillow menu’. This personalised touch not only gives guests a better chance of having a great night’s sleep with a pillow that suits their preferences, but also makes a great impression about your establishment’s commitment to guest satisfaction.

If your budget doesn’t allow for such variety of choice, provide two types of pillow on each bed: a firmer pillow on the bottom, with a soft to medium firmness pillow topping it off, with differing loft or height.

When choosing the pillows you plan to offer your guests, it helps to know a bit about each pillow type:

  • Polyester-filled pillows are an inexpensive option and offer plush support for the head. In general, they’re odourless and non-allergenic, and are easier to wash than a down or feather pillow. They need to be replaced every year or two, however, as the fibres compress, reducing the loft (or thickness) and making the pillows flat and uncomfortable.
  • Down pillows are soft and supple with high loft, but they’re not great in the support department. Goose or duck feather pillows are firmer, thanks to the feathers’ quills. Down and feather pillows are more expensive than polyester, but their durable fill means they outlast polyester. Keep in mind that some guests may be allergic to down, so you’ll need a non-allergenic alternative.
  • If your budget allows for a more luxe choice, there are memory foam pillows. These mould to your guest’s shape and self-adjust as they move during the night. It lets the shoulders, neck and head rest in a natural position, making it a welcome choice for guests who suffer from neck pain. These can last up to three years.
  • For extra firm support, consider microbead pillows (made up of tiny beads of unexpanded polystyrene) or buckwheat pillows (filled with husks from buckwheat seeds).


Whatever type of pillow you end up purchasing for your B&B, remember to build Protect-A-Bed pillow protectors into your budget, because it’s not just comfort that causes some guests to travel with their own pillows.

Used pillows are seldom hygienic. For starters, over time they become packed with allergy-causing dust mites that feed on dead skin cells. Studies from Ohio State University showed that after two years, 10% of a pillow’s weight can come from accumulated dead mites and their faeces.

Then there’s the sweat and saliva of previous guests that gets absorbed into the pillow, creating an ideal environment for mildew and mould spores. Add to this skin and hair oils, and residue from hair and make-up products, and you have a pillow that is anything but clean and hygienic.

But you can give your guests the assurance that they’re getting a hygienic night’s sleep, while keeping your pillows as good as new for longer, with Protect-A-Bed pillow protectors.

Like Protect-A-Bed’s mattress protectors, these ultra-thin pillow protectors have a layer of Miracle Membrane that is 100% waterproof and impermeable to dust mites, yet is whisper quiet and breathable for a comfortable night’s sleep. They’re also easy to care for: simply machine wash them with the linen to ensure a fresh, clean sleep for your next guests.

And be sure to mention in your online listings, guest brochures and welcome pack that your establishment has Protect-A-Bed protection, making your pillows—and ideally also your mattresses—ultra hygienic and safe.

Protect-A-Bed has a selection of EXCLUSIVE deals for the hospitality industry.

Call us now on 0800 775 775 or email info@protectabed.co.za for more information.