5 Replies Latest reply: Aug 27, 2019 11:04 PM by calicalling RSS

    Renovating and redecorating and existing bookings

    utahdream New Member

      Hello! I have a ski condo which I bought in the spring and it will be its first season under my ownership. I was going to do a renovation and redecorate in October. Doing it earlier wasn't an option since it has been rented for the entire spring/summer/fall season (to one person). I only have a very limited amount of time to do it. I am not going to do anything drastic other than repaint the walls with something more neutral and throw away/sell/donate like 90% of the furniture and decor (seriously, it was decorated by a blind person). That said, I am already taking bookings for the skiing season and likely will take even more before the season starts. Post reno the place would look different - and BETTER as far as I am concerned. Sleeping arrangement will be maintained as to be not worse than the existing - thanks for the other thread I decided to go with 2 twin XLs convertible to king in the 2nd bedroom. However I am growing a bit concerned with this plan, how would people react seeing a differently looking place than advertised? I mean I can't imagine anyone being upset over a brick-orange wall turning grey, but can this be construed as a breach of contract and grounds for a refund? Should I notify each guest beforehand? Wait till spring?The condo is already rented for the spring/summer/fall season of 2020 again so really not much time to do it... Below is the link to my current listing and a screen grab of the designer's model for what the new living room is supposed to roughly look like after I am done. Thoughts??

      https://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p977507

        • Re: Renovating and redecorating and existing bookings
          margaret CommunityAmbassador

          I don't think redecorating will be a problem. If it will make you feel better, you could send the guests a before and after photo. Say something like,
          Updated: We have freshly painted and done a few upgrades prior to your arrival. We hope you will love our new decor! I know there has been a lot of discussion lately about the possibility of guest getting refunds if the property is not as described but honestly, if they are trying to get a refund due to upgrades, trying to get a refund was their plan from the beginning. They would simply make up a different reason.

            • Re: Renovating and redecorating and existing bookings
              3seasbeach Contributor

              utahdream While I agree with what margaret states in her response, you may want to also consider that your already booked guests obviously liked what your listing offers.  They may not have completely read your description, but I am sure they looked at your photos, which was a large part of their decision to book your place.  The current decor "spoke" to them and they liked what they saw.  As you stated, you are going to be making a pretty significant change in the "look & feel", and even though it will be updated, your upcoming guests may not like it.

               

              As Margaret said, I would definitely let your guests know about the changes.  I would suggest you let them know sooner rather than later.

                • Re: Renovating and redecorating and existing bookings
                  margaret CommunityAmbassador

                  While it is possible that the decor appealed to some of the guest, it is not necessarily the decor that made them choose that property. I choose a property based on good, reviews, location, cleanliness and amenities. Unless I was staying for an extended period of time the decor would not be of much interest to me. I change decor items in my properties fairly often. I have repainted many times, replaced bedding, sofas, beds, lighting fixtures,appliances and reno'd the master bath. I usually get compliments from my repeats, no one else seems to notice.
                  I think since utahdream is a new owner to this property, it is wise to let the guests know of the upgrades in advance, if they are repeats they may question the changes. I would think most will look at it as a good thing.

              • Re: Renovating and redecorating and existing bookings
                green_mango Active Contributor

                I like Margaret's suggestion & I'd also go ahead and add a note to your listings that in the fall the condo will be receiving fresh paint, new furniture & decor, but that the amenities and occupancy for sleeping accommodations will remain unchanged. 

                • Re: Renovating and redecorating and existing bookings
                  calicalling Active Contributor

                  I would absolutely alert existing bookings about changes, but I think the trick is framing the reno as 'improvements' rather than 'changes.'

                   

                  Once you complete the changes (or all along the way depending on your timeline), send emails with a subject like "Look what we've been up to" or "Guess what we're doing to make your stay fabulous" and send photo-heavy emails to guests highlighting the exciting improvements.

                   

                  I took this strategy when I added security cameras -- which legally require notification. I was struggling to figure out how to inform existing guest without freaking them out. Instead of saying, "hey, we added security cameras to make sure you don't have a party" I said, "we've made improvements to make sure your stay is as safe as possible." I mentioned the security cameras along with other improvements we had made like new locks and self-closing doors. I learned then 1. letting people know up front means that they can't say they didn't know. And 2. if I frame it as a positive in advance, people are more likely to accept it as just that.

                   

                  With this strategy, I've never had a complaint about a change in any of my properties. Knock Wood.