Harness the Power of Virtual Staging for Commercial Real Estate Marketing

How to use virtual staging to differentiate your commercial spaces and speed up the leasing cycle

Harness the Power of Virtual Staging for Commercial Real Estate Marketing blog image

Virtual staging in a commercial office space. Image provided by Listing3D.

As more companies decide to give up office space in favor of remote or hybrid work models, blocks of office space are flooding the market. Commercial real estate owners and brokers face a challenge when marketing their properties – with so much inventory, it can be difficult to stand out from the comparables and differentiate your listing's layout and amenities. Leveraging the right technology can boost marketing engagement and highlight the unique features of your listing to prospective office tenants; going a step further, implementing virtual staging in your raw space can spark inspiration and help prospects envision how their business will operate in the environment. Let's dive into some basics, benefits, and how-tos for virtual staging in a commercial space.

Benefits of using virtual staging for your commercial real estate deals

While property staging has historically been more common in residential real estate, commercial brokers now recognize its marketing benefits, particularly when it comes to virtual solutions for office space. Virtual staging functions similarly to traditional physical staging: furniture, fixtures, artwork, and more are superimposed onto visuals of a commercial space to give it life, warmth, and appeal.

Since the pandemic, more commercial real estate brokers are turning to virtual staging to address considerations such as varying levels of occupancy resulting from hybrid work models, increased distances between desks, and more thoughtful collaborative space designs. Virtual staging is cost-effective and can not only make the space look inviting, but also help prospective tenants understand how to best utilize the office space, in other words, how to best occupy and operate their businesses inside. Here are the top benefits of adding virtual staging to your commercial real estate marketing strategy:

  • Showcase potential: Prospective office tenants may have difficulty envisioning how to configure workstations and lounge areas when assessing a raw space. Virtual staging will help anchor the viewer and clearly showcase the potential of a space, which can be particularly helpful for awkward floor plans, and give the property a sense of style and cohesion in marketing materials. A virtual staging vendor can also generate different options to demonstrate more traditional layouts versus modern configurations incorporating private and collaborative workspaces plus common lounge areas.

  • Cost-effective: Physical staging can be expensive, especially for larger office suites or mixed-use properties. Not only does a larger space require more furniture and decor, but you'll likely want to keep your listing furnished for the entirety of its time on the market. While traditional staging necessitates furniture rentals by the week or month, you pay for a virtual staging service once and enjoy it for the lifetime of the listing, which saves thousands of dollars. Virtual staging vendors typically charge per photo or per square foot, if you're staging in 3D.

  • Speed to market: Physical staging requires a vendor to walk the space, share samples, install pieces, and undergo quality checks, which can take several weeks. Virtual staging can cut this time down to days, since the whole process is done remotely. You'll save time traveling back and forth to the property to prep for site visits and managing vendors in person; instead, just package up your images and send to your virtual staging vendor. The vendor can present multiple installation options for your review in one sitting and put together final marketing images within a few days.

When to use virtual staging

While virtual staging is most commonly used for empty space, you can also apply it to various other scenarios, including spaces with existing furniture and properties under construction. Here are some specific examples of how virtual staging can be used for commercial office space:

  • Raw space: Virtual staging helps imbue life into a bare landscape. By adding furniture, decor, and other elements, virtual staging can give prospective tenants an authentic sense of potential space configurations, design elements, traffic patterns, and other use cases for an empty shell.

  • Decluttering: If your office listing is currently cluttered with furniture or equipment, virtual staging providers can remove those items from imagery and make the space appear more spacious and inviting. This can be particularly useful for subleases that include furniture or for spaces that are still occupied by a tenant.

  • New construction: For newly built projects or properties currently under construction, virtual staging can spruce up both interior and exterior photographs, renderings, videos, and more.

  • Retrofits or remodels: You can also add virtual staging to a property in the midst of a retrofit or remodel, which can be especially useful if the property isn't ready to show in person. In the case of a retrofit, you'll be able to start promoting the new use case well in advance of the finished product.

How to implement virtual staging for commercial real estate

Virtual staging is fast and easy to integrate with your current marketing process. Since visuals are a core piece of a real estate marketing campaign, you likely already have what you need to engage a vendor. Get started with the following steps:

  1. Choose a virtual staging provider: There are a variety of virtual staging providers out there, but you'll want to choose one with commercial property experience. Probe your network to find recommendations and ask vendors to provide you cost estimates and several samples of their work.

  2. Provide visuals and dimensions: Vendors need high quality photos, video, or a 3D tour of the property–anything you want to show off in your real estate marketing materials. They'll use these visuals to superimpose furniture and design elements. They also require an accurate floor plan or a rough outline of the space with clearly labeled dimensions.

  3. Select configurations and designs: Providers will typically solicit your feedback on potential aesthetics and configurations, then provide you with a draft for review. You can swap colors, fixtures, arrangements, and more until the space is showcased in its best light.

  4. Review and share: Once the vendor provides you with final imagery or collateral, review their work a final time and incorporate the visuals into your marketing for syndication.

Why virtual staging with a 3D tour is the best option

Vendors can superimpose virtual staging on still photographs, video, and 3D virtual tours. 3D tours are becoming the norm across both commercial and residential real estate marketing due to the cost and time savings passed back to the broker. For example, Matterport provides an immersive, photorealistic digital twin of your property that you can leverage as a 24/7 virtual open house. Prospective tenants can virtually walk through the property from their desk whenever they have a few extra minutes, mimicking an in-person experience. Matterport digital twins also come with high quality photography and teaser videos, plus the option to order an accurate floor plan, so you don't need to source more vendors.

Combined with virtual staging, Matterport enables prospects to visualize their own potential experience within an office space and easily confirm interest–without taking up any of your time. This allows you to focus on motivated prospects and have more productive conversations, beyond sharing the basics of the listing. Here's how you can incorporate Matterport and virtual staging into your property marketing:

  • Create a Matterport digital twin: First, capture your space. You can do it yourself with a 360 camera or leverage a professional through Matterport Capture Services. Once your scans are complete, Matterport will render your digital twin within 24 hours. From there, you can access photos and video, order a floor plan, and add more detail to your model with tags.

  • Choose a virtual staging partner: Matterport partners with several well-recognized virtual staging providers that service commercial space, including Listing3D, VRPM, CAPTUR3D, and Treedis. If you're new to Matterport and interested in a subscription, you can work with our Sales team to incorporate a virtual staging service into your contract–no need to negotiate with a separate vendor.

  • Market your listing: Your virtual staging provider will superimpose furniture and fixtures within your Matterport model and accompanying photographs. Incorporate these assets into your marketing brochures and other collateral for syndication across web, email, and social.

Check out this example of virtual staging within a Matterport commercial real estate model:

Virtual staging for commercial real estate in action

Matterport partners with virtual staging providers to cover spaces of any size–even massive blocks such as 40,000 square feet within 1 World Trade Center. Matterport’s developer tools make it easy for vendors to significantly reconfigure and stage large volumes of square footage fast and at scale. 

Kitt, one of London’s leading office operators, used a Matterport virtual staging integration with VRPM for some of its commercial properties. VRPM staged 15,000 square feet within a week, enabling Kitt to go to market and get its spaces in front of new tenants faster. Through Matterport’s data-sharing capabilities, Kitt also worked with VRPM to develop a library of furniture and design options that help tenants envision their prospective space, built around their individual needs as a business. These concepts could cost tens of thousands of dollars to stage in the real world.

Kitt iterated that working with VRPM and Matterport delivers efficiency and forms a core part of the creative process. Marketing, design, and visualizations are essential for bringing tenants on the journey and helping them realize what they want from their space. From a promotional standpoint, these visualizations enable spaces to cut through the noise from comparables and attract attention from the right prospects.

Easy to implement and cost-effective, virtual staging can level up your commercial real estate marketing. Get more eyes on your space and speed up your transaction cycles by allowing your prospects to virtually experience your listing as their next place of work. Contact our Sales team to learn more about powering up your property marketing with digital twins and virtual staging solutions. Watch our webinar on speeding up CRE leasing cycles with digital twins and virtual staging.


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