Choosing linens for your vacation rental may seem to require nothing more than a quick trip to your nearest big box store. But, if you take one thing from my blog, it should be this: to compete with hotels, you have to do better than that!
Not just because linen quality really does affect guest satisfaction, but also because a streamlined linen program can save you both time and money. After all, running a hotel is all about the bottom line, often under public scrutiny. So it makes sense that hotels are running an incredibly efficient operation!
Why not steal their secrets? Read on for some insider linen rules to live by that hotels have been using (and benefiting from!) for years.
Take this first page from the hotel playbook: purchase commercial linens for your beds and baths. These are typically a low-maintenance cotton polyester blend, and offer hospitality benefits like:
Some people feel that blended sheets are somehow inferior to full cotton. But, cotton-poly is what all of the big hotels are using—and if you stay in hotels, you have likely slept on them yourself (and liked them!). Give ‘em a try!
When an owner calls me for a suggestion on which sheet sets to purchase, my first question is: what is your nightly rate? Your budget?
After all, vacation rentals range from grand luxury estates to cute studio condos—with a range of budgets to match. So consider what you’re comfortable spending to outfit the number of beds you have in your rental before starting your linen shopping. You best believe hotels are considering their budgets first and foremost!
I recommend purchasing either all king or all all queen mattresses for your vacation rental—this makes it easy for you to use your linens interchangeably between beds. As hotels know, mix and match is important for streamlining.
Of course, many family-friendly rentals will have twin or bunk beds, but keeping the adult-size beds consistent makes it much easier to manage your linen inventory.
Extra Tip: if you do have twin beds, make sure that the mattresses are extra long to accommodate adults. Chances are, adults will be sleeping in them at some point, and no one wants their feet dangling over the edge! Don’t worry about outfitting an extra-long bed—commercial linen suppliers usually carry twin XL linens.
Also note that the hospitality and hotel standard for mattresses is those that are 10 - 14 inches in depth.
I have helped set up dozens of vacation rental homes as they get ready to host their first guests—and as you probably know, it’s no easy task. I’m always looking to cut corners where I can. One way to do that is to purchase pre-laundered linens that can go right from box to bed—no washing/drying required. With the up-front effort it saves during initial setup, it’s no wonder hotels use this trick.
If you use all white linens (which is what I recommend) across different-sized beds, it can be difficult for cleaning staff to find the right sheets. Cue Easy Identification.
What’s Easy Identification? It’s when a manufacturer offers details to differentiate their sets. TDG’s Standard Textile sheets, for example, include green threads along the length of their king-size flat and fitted sheets, blue threads for queen sets, lavender for queen, and no thread for twin-size sheet sets.
The long and short of it for this important trick is to purchase your flat sheets, fitted sheets and pillowcases as separates—not as a set. This makes replacements simple and more affordable.
Why is choosing the right vendor important? Because once you find linens you love, you want to rest assured that they’ll be available for replacement when the time comes. A vendor that’s been around for a long time will likely stock the same sheets and towels for years and years. Hotels have brand loyalty to keep their design and product consistent; so should you.
This is a big one, and one that’s often-overlooked: don’t forget to streamline your pillows, too. I recommend purchasing only king and standard pillowcases for vacation rental beds. Skip the queen-size. It’s difficult to tell the difference between queen and standard pillowcases, and your cleaning crew with thank you for making it easier to find the right set. Or, streamline even further and choose only standard pillows and pillowcases!
Regardless, I highly recommend upgrading the thread count of all of your pillowcases. It's worth the minimal extra investment, the guests appreciate the softness on their face, and an upgrade to one-size cases across sizes allows for minimal mix-ups.
Consider yourself a true hospitality professional and showcase your attention to detail—no mismatched towels and sheets for you!