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Monday, May 14, 2012
Smelly Hotels and Home Staging - What do they have in Common?
I had to take one of my numerous business trips recently and as usual had to find a hotel to stay in for 3 nights. I usually book online and judge a hotel by star rating, photos and comments from other travelers, as well as price.
What I experienced on my most recent trip was really unpleasant. I chose price over quality and paid the price - in a bad way. I arrived late at night to a hotel in sore need of a facelift. It was not in a great part of town and the foundation was cracking. Since it was dark, I could not really see the condition of the place - and my first clue that I'd made a bad decision should have been the "reception" area of the hotel. There was no lobby - just a small door that led to a desk - and a nice staff person there to greet me.
The young man who transported me from the airport and then helped me with my luggage was apologetic about the condition of the place and shared that they were undergoing renovations that would be completed sometime this summer. That should have been clue #2. When the Staff of a hotel apologize for how it looks - you know it's a problem.
Since it was about 11:30 PM when I got to the hotel, I figured I'd just stay the night and reevaluate in the daytime. When I got to my room, I got my 3rd Clue: I was greeted by what smelled like pee. It was not as bad as a pet stained carpet smell, but you could definitely tell that the carpets were old - maybe peed on - or maybe it was from the bathroom - I did not investigate. I did not even want to walk on the carpet barefooted. The bed was not bad but the linens were not crisp like better hotels, and I was just sort of cringing thinking about any critters that may reside in the room.
I decided to go to sleep only to find that I could hear every sound, step and toilet flush of the people around me and above me. Clue #4 . . . That is the worst. It's not enough that you can hear things but to FEEL them also when they tromp across the floor - shaking your room with their heavy footed walk.
That is when I cracked open my computer. I searched online for ANY hotel that was better than this one - that had availability. Unfortunately, since it was mid-week in a highly popular business area, there was nothing. I lucked on to a hotels.com offer of a room in a better hotel closer to where I was teaching and grabbed the reservation. It was more per night than what I was paying, but gladly coughed up the difference knowing I had peace of mind.
I took 2 sleeping pills and couldn't wait for morning. I checked out of the first hotel, wrote a negative review for the manager letting him know they better do something - and fast - to spruce up the hotel. He actually wrote back apologizing - and said they had recently purchased this hotel and were in process of fixing it up to the standards of business travelers. It's off my list until I see a major improvement!
This whole experience reminded me of Home Staging - and the important of first impressions.
I was sold on the photos of the hotel I saw online - but realize anyone can take a good photo and the photos could be of an old set-up - we have no way of knowing. That is why virtual staging does not work.
I was sold on the price - it was a good deal for the region - but I found out that the lower price meant poorer quality and condition. Sometimes the "better deal" is not worth it with the amount of money you have to put in to the place to get it up to the standards of other properties!
Viewing the hotel in person was like an in person showing of a house - and the smells and poor condition were a huge turnoff. I could not wait to get out of that hotel and go to a place that looked and felt clean, cared-for. I was even willing to pay MORE for the 2nd hotel because of how it presented to me - the BUYER.
When I settled into bed the 2nd night, no noises coming from around me, comfy pillows and clean sheets, I was so relieved. The price was worth it for me to know I was getting peace of mind.
Home Staging does the same thing for a Buyer. No one wants to really own a used, smelly, and worn-out "product" (house). The houses that are clean, prepared visually for a Buyer and are in good condition can sell for MORE because Buyers feel better about the purchase - and experience.
For help getting your house Staged and for Sale in the Denver region, call Jennie Norris, Sensational Home Staging - Your Premier Home Staging Resource. 888-93-STAGE.