Sweet Dreams

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This story appears in the April 1997 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine. Subscribe »

Wake up! With National Month approaching (May), Hotels may have just what weary travelers need to catch a few more zzz's.

Last October, Hilton, in cooperation with the National Sleep Foundation and sleep product manufacturers, debuted Sleep-Tight rooms. The rooms contain sleep-inducing gadgets such as a bedside sound machine that generates soothing sounds and a "glow lamp" that wakes guests with increasingly brighter light sans the blaring alarm. Bedtime books, brochures on and a modified mini-bar with cheese, crackers and (which contain tryptophan, an amino acid that can cause drowsiness) all work to aid business travelers in their quest to fall fast asleep. The rooms also boast added insulation and a sleep kit complete with face mask and earplugs; some rooms even have sound-proofed windows. Perhaps the best feature, however, is a comfy, adjustable that feels like you're sleeping on a cloud.

The rooms, which cost the same as comparable standard rooms, are available in ; ; Oahu, ; , DC; and , . Hilton plans to expand the program to five more locations by year-end and will begin testing Sleep-Tight rooms in hotels in Asia and Europe in the coming months.

Say, What?

Everyone has a few quirky travel preferences. For instance, maybe you always rent a certain make of car or try to book a roomy bulkhead seat on a cross-country flight. But a recent study by Runzheimer International, a Rochester, Wisconsin-based management consulting firm, reveals some business travelers have been known to go a bit further by making some rather, well, bizarre travel requests of their employers.

For example, have you ever had an employee request a seat assignment on the "shady" side of the airplane? Been asked to buy a bus ticket to because the traveler was afraid to fly? Or have an employee ask the company to pay for a hotel's shower door because they fell asleep and broke the glass? Yes, these are actual demands from business travelers.

Should an employee make an odd request--such as asking you to replace the contents of luggage he or she inadvertently left on the curb--Runzheimer suggests you begin by empathizing with the person's situation. After telling them you understand their concerns, however, stand firm and tell them that there's nothing you can do but keep the situation in mind when considering future travel policies. As for further explanation of their situation, do yourself a favor: Don't ask!


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