Did you ever notice that, unlike your bed at home, where the bottom sheet comes with elasticized corners that slip around a mattress, hotel room beds don't have fitted sheets? Instead, a regular flat sheet is tucked around the mattress using hospital corners to make a smooth fit. Why is that. I wondered? It makes it harder to make a bed, and housekeepers have to make so many. So, during our Leadership Agenda interview, published in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer, I asked Jay Shah, the CEO of Hersha Hospitality Trust, a $338.4 million hotel company. Growing up, Shah often had to make beds in the motel his family owned near Lancaster.
Question: Why don't hotels use fitted sheets?
Answer: I think a couple of reasons. There's the consideration of upkeep, because you are changing sheets everyday.
Q: But it's easier to change a sheet when you have a fitted sheet.
A: But I don't think they would last as long. The elastics would wear out. Also, in a hotel, when you imagine inventories, particularly for linen and terry, you've got one set of linens and terry that can accommodate the entire hotel. You have one [set] on the bed, one in the wash, one on the shelf. So if you imagine that you have to maintain so much different kinds of inventory, it's easier to have two flat sheets. With fitted sheets, they can't be pressed or folded, whereas with a flat sheet it's much easier.
Q: What about at home? Do you use a fitted sheet on your bed at home?
A: Yes, we do, for the base sheet, but on the top sheet and the blanket, I do still do hospital corners. I think it's neat and clean.
Q: Whose job is to change the sheets at home?
A: I plead the fifth. I don't want to make it seem like I make my wife do all the work. I'm just not home that much. I think it's something we do on the weekends together, but if it happens mid-week, it doesn't fall on me.
Q: When you change the sheets...
A: I'm very nitpicky.