A minute on the clock: Wayne Munnelly

16 February 2006
A minute on the clock: Wayne Munnelly

Wayne Munnelly is Travelodge's new sleep director with a mission to ensure every customer gets a good night's rest. He talked to Emily Manson before he nodded off

What are your qualifications? I've been working for Travelodge for two-and-a-half years, leisure all my life, and have always had a great customer service and standards record. Now I'm able to impart that knowledge.

Why is this role important? Bedrooms are our bread and butter, and it's important to have someone who's always thinking about the customer in the bedroom and how they're going to sleep in the bed. Some hotel managers never go into their bedrooms - how can you run a hotel like that?

How can you justify your job and its reported £60,000-a-year salary, when Travelodge plans to axe 80 jobs? We're a retailer of sleep and we need to get the essence of our product perfect. If our customers have a good night's sleep, they'll choose us again. It's important to have people who test the products - a chocolate or car manufacturer does, and it's the same with our rooms. We're very serious about this.

What do you look for in the perfect bed? It has to be supportive, firm but not a board, and not too soft either. My advice to people buying a bed is don't scrimp, as you're in it for eight hours a night and it's really important for your back's health.

How do you assess the room?
We have a 25-point check list and want to make sure that all 17,000 rooms are perfect, which means spotlessly clean, everything working and in its place with good quality duvets, freshly laundered linen and plump pillows. There's nothing worse than a sliver of a pillow which doesn't support your neck properly. We want people to feel like they're walking into their own room at home. I plan to visit 500 bedrooms a week. I need to understand the estate first, but then it'll be making sure we've got everything right, from wall colour to enhancing the bedroom products.

What are the most common failures? One of our standards is the bed has to look a certain way, with a line made in the duvet to emphasise the pillow. A lot of hotel rooms don't have that but we feel it's important as it makes the bed look cosy. A big part of my job is to ensure that cleanliness is up to scratch. Every now and again we fall down, but we strive to get it right, whether it's at the weekend or even if we're short-staffed.

The worst bed you've ever slept in? I went away last year to a cottage in the Lake District and there was a really old bed which had clearly had a huge number of people sleeping on it. I got terrible backache and felt like I was sleeping on a bale of hay.

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