Oops! You Lost Me at the Pink Bedspread

Or the Anatomy of a Dead Vacation Rental Booking




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by Mercedes Brennan in BEDDING, BOOKINGS KILLERS, Sheets
February 29, 2016

Lately, I’ve been looking for a Maine waterfront cottage to rent for a week in August.

I know if I book now, I’ll have my pick of the most affordable and kick-ass gorgeous vacation houses in coastal Maine. As a guest, I know that planning ahead is key. The best properties get scooped up before you can say ‘Uncle.’ In fact, as I write this in mid-February, many of the most enticing places are long gone.

And yet, the process of finding something is a little grueling. Like you, I am busy. I have a monthly blogging schedule to adhere to, as well as several properties I am designing. On top of that, I’m writing a book. So it’s not like I have a lot of time on my hands.

Consequently, my filter is narrow. If I don’t like the house within the first 15 seconds, I move to the next in line.

What are my criteria?

Well, after I put in my preferred location, dates, desired bedrooms and rate range, I look for two things: beauty and comfort. And the photos tell all.

Many properties post a ‘view’ photograph first. Awesome! I appreciate this. I love to know what I’ll be looking at when I sit on the back porch with a fine cup of joe. If I find the view beguiling, I go to the next photo.

Maine vacation house

I like the view outside this prospective vacation house, I’m excited to see the next photograph. Gosh, let’s see what it looks like inside……

And this is the pivotal moment when the winners are separated from the losers; kind of like Darwin’s natural selection…..

Only the choicest survive.

If this is the next picture featured…..

Ugly bed in a vacation rental

The, unfortunately, ubiquitous “Granny” bedspread has sunk many a booking.

It’s over.

Like, it’s really, really over. I literally don’t look at the next photograph. If I see a pink “Granny Bedspread,” I am so turned off that I instantly make assumptions about the rest of the house. If the owner thinks a polyester-ish pink flowered bedspread with a ruffled Holly Hobby bed skirt is okay, what else is she/he going to think is passing muster?

Do I care to find out?

No. Especially when there are other properties to be seen at a mere click of the back button.

That might not be fair, but it’s the way it is.

This owner just lost a booking.

And that’s sad.

It’s sad because it’s such an easy thing to fix, especially because the house is in a gorgeous location, the architecture is nice and those views! How can you beat them?

So here’s my advice to this owner:

Ditch the bedding before the week’s up!

It’s not too late in the season to secure bookings for the coming summer.

Here’s how (and you don’t even have to leave your home or office):

  • Buy some heavenly white sheets. White sheets are the only kind of sheets to buy for vacation rentals. Here’s why.
vacation rental sheets

My hands-down favorite Airbnb and vacation rental sheets are Centium Satin from Standard Textiles. They feel heavenly against the skin, tempting guests to turn in early and sleep in late. Winning! 1 Chic Retreat Marketplace

Yes, it’s that simple.

Never underestimate the power of bedding.

Oh, and don’t forget. You don’t have to spend a fortune. Sometimes the most affordable stuff happens to be both chic and cheap, like the 100% cotton LJUSÖGA duvet I specified for this Idaho ski cottage:


I specified an Ikea LJUSÖGA duvet for an Idaho vacation ski cottage. $24.99! Centium Satin sheets by Standard Textiles.

  • John Martin

    I’ll recommend a look at for well-run properties that are on the water in Maine (as well as near the water). As owners, we have been using them to manage our property (cough Captains Catch) during the summer. We love what they have done for us, and our guests have adored them. This was a key challenge for us getting our property onto the market, and frankly it wasn’t easy. Might be a good topic for a future post – how to find a really good outfit to manage a distant property. P.S. many thanks and kudos for all the tips – LOTS of our design ideas are thanks to you!

    • Thank you, John. I will check it out ASAP. Thanks for the suggestions!

    • Vacation Rentology

      The owners of On The Water In Maine are great, and are very willing to share their experience at VRMA conferences. Very kind, good people. I imagine you wont go wrong with one of their properties!

  • Cindy Amato

    hysterical. and true. I’ll be sharing on our own Facebook page.

  • Vacation Rentology

    Amen! This is one of our focal points in design and coaching our owners is the importance of proper bed design!

  • Recently, I have been receiving positive feedback from guests because I have done away with traditional bedspreads. I have started triple-sheeting all my beds like the high-end boutique hotels. Triple-sheeting provides a clean, luxurious, crisp, extra hygienic bed my guests appreciate. Owners will like it too because laundering costs go down! To make the bed look designed and inviting I add a custom bed scarf. If you aren’t familiar, attached is a link that explains triple sheeting in more detail!

    • Thank you, TheCrescent202! I have been looking for a good tutorial on triple sheeting and this is perfect. Hey all, I am a huge advocate of triple sheeting.

  • Mercedes, I totally agree about using only quality, chic bedding in our vacation rental properties, but it is kind of ironic… the Idaho ski cottage photo you used may show a nice comforter, but THAT photo would send ME running!! If the owner thinks it’s ok to have a bed (with no headboard) shoved up against a drafty window, and have lamps with black cords dangling down the wall, what else would they think is perfectly ok? :-)

    • Hi Mark, while hanging cords aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, (they are actually quite “in” currently), I disagree with your comment on the bed under the window. As long as a window is well insulated (this one is dual paned and guests are warm under it) it’s perfectly fine to have a bed next to a window. In fact, you will find all kinds of instances of beds in such positions. Based on this cottage’s bookings, it appears many guests feel just fine about it.

      • Understood. Granted, you see a much broader cross section of properties and owners than I do. I guess my comments show my preferences and things I just wouldn’t do myself. I like headboards and hidden/unobtrusive cords (ie. not black and running vertically down a wall) . To me, it seems like cutting corners otherwise. I also like to see out the window, and/or be able to step up to the window to look out, not face away from it. Again, personal preferences. Love the blog and hearing/seeing different ideas (even if I don’t agree with all of them).

        • Your comments are awesome and I appreciate hearing all points of view. :)




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