Are You Adding Value by Providing Linens for Your Guests?

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I’ve been in lively discussion with a fellow cottage owner about providing bed linens for guests. From my knowledge of the rental market here in Ontario, I would guess around 20% of owners supply sheets and towels, while the rest provide comforters, blankets and pillows and ask their renters to bring their own linens.

Our domestic rental clients expect to bring their own, and are generally happy to comply – in fact some have told me they are more comfortable doing this. However for international or out of province guests, I don’t expect them to be packing piles of sheets and towels to take on a long haul flight. Nor do I expect them to have to pay extra either, and this is where the argument began with my colleague. He feels the additional work involved in providing linens – including wear and tear, and laundry costs –  should be met by the renters. In his view, these clients are getting an additional service at no charge and that is unfair on those who are required to bring their own. To some extent I see his point – there is a cost involved, but there is also a choice which seems simple. Don’t accept international and out of province guests unless you are prepared to give some value added service.

My opinion probably stems from being one of those international guests for many years. Travelling with a husband and four children would have meant very heavy luggage if we’d had to take bed linens along with us. We always sought the properties that came fully equipped so we didn’t have to carry anything other than clothes. At a pinch I would have been prepared to pay an additional fee, but the place would have had to be very special in order for that to happen.

We now travel extensively in the US and invariably sheets and towels are supplied at no additional cost. It is a service I really appreciate, so much so that in my own cottage I provide linens for all guests regardless of where they travel from. When I have clients arriving, sometimes late at night, after a long drive, I don’t want their first impression to be marred by having to make the beds before their children can settle for the night. It’s a service issue to me and I enjoy selecting attractive linens and making the bedrooms look inviting and cosy.

Whatever your decision about linens, having a comfortable bed is right on the top of renters’ must-have lists so please give priority to this. Satisfied renters will not only come back but will tell their friends which will result in more rentals. Sounds like a no-brainer to me!