A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from June 03, 2012
“Heads in beds” (hospitality saying)

"Heads in beds” is hospitality industry lingo meaning occupied hotel and motel rooms. Tourist boards representing a city’s hospitality industry try to attract visitors to the city and put “heads in beds” (fill all available hotel and motel rooms). For New York City, a “heads in beds” strategy means attracting foreign tourists, not simply visitors from New Jersey or Connecticut who commute back to their homes.

“Heads in beds” has been cited in print since at least 1988. The “heads in beds” saying is, perhaps, a slightly wicked and jocular nod to the popular movie The Godfather (1972), where the Mafia showed its power by putting the severed head of a prized racehorse in its owner’s bed.


5 June 1988, Galveston (TX) Daily News, “Palm Beach opens despite bad weather” by Jack Stengler, pg. 1, col. 2:
Ralph McPheeters, Moody Gardens administrator, said, “We checked with the Convention & Visitors Bureau and it estimates there will be 5 to 6 million visitors in Galveston this year.

“The charge given us by the Moody Foundation is to put head in beds on the island, or in other words, help keep the hotels and motels in the city filled.”

26 February 1989, Galveston (TX) Daily News, “Park Board has many responsibilities” by Jack Stengler, pg. 8A, col. 4:
“Our primary purpose is to put heads in beds, or bring tourists in the city to stay in our hotels and motels, eat in our restaurants, patronize our attractions and buy from our merchants,” said Don Mafrige, board chairman.

16 May 1991, Fort Worth (TX) Star-Telegram, “Businesses cut back, leave rooms at the inn vacant; Fort Worth hotels suffer from empty-bed syndrome,” Business, pg. 1:
“We have to figure out a way to get those people to spend an extra night here,” he said. “Our bottom line depends on putting heads in beds.”

Google News Archive
27 July 1994, The Vindicator (Youngstown, OH), pg. A3, col. 4:
“In order for the convention bureau to be very successful, we need to put heads in beds, fill the hotels,” Mrs. DeLuca said.
(Betty DeLuca, chairwoman of the visitor bureau’s board of directors—ed.)

OCLC WorldCat record
Beyond Heads in Beds: Carnival Hotels and Casinos is staking its future on gamming and other travel-related businesses
Publisher: [Cleveland, Penton Pub., etc.]
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: Lodging hospitality : LH. 52, no. 1, (1996): 42
Database: ArticleFirst

OCLC WorldCat record
Heads in Beds
Edition/Format:  Article : English
Publication: LODGING -NEW YORK THEN WASHINGTON- 22, no. 11, (1997): 23-24
Database: British Library Serials

OCLC WorldCat record
Heads in beds : hospitality and tourism marketing
Author: Ivo Raza
Publisher: Upper Saddle River, N.J. : Prentice Hall, 2004.
Edition/Format:  Book : English

OCLC WorldCat record
Heads in beds : a reckless memoir of hotels, hustles, and so-called hospitality
Author: Jacob Tomsky
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 2012.
Edition/Format:  Book : Biography : English : 1st ed
Summary: “A humorous memoir by a veteran hospitality employee that reveals what goes on behind the scenes of the hotel business. Includes tips on how to get the most out of your hotel stay”

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityHotels • (1) Comments • Sunday, June 03, 2012 • Permalink


Great article. Very interesting topic. Keep it up.

Posted by Hotel Nazareth  on  08/15  at  12:22 PM

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