Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year From The Motella Blog!

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

Giving Credit Where Credit Is Due?

The big news story of the day would have to be Helen Clark being awarded the top honour of a Member of the Order of New Zealand.

The rumor was buzzing around the blogosphere before Christmas, however after finally seeing it announced officially in the MSM  it still shocks and grates.

Around the blogs, Kiwiblog takes a nonchalant view and would rather conserve anger for Michael Cullen's patsy appointment to an SOE Board while still an MP. 

Whaleoil uses the opportunity to heckle Trevor Mallard that "could only choke out three words in praise of Helen Clark".

Over at Homepaddock they muse over Clark's award by posing some important questions:
Are honesty and integrity important?

Does the type of person someone is count at least as much as what s/he does?  Should s/he be be judged not only on what s/he does but the way s/he does it? Do not just  deeds but character matter?
Should our greatest people also be good?
Libberty Scott draws a parallel with another notable undeserved award winner:
After Barack Obama being granted the Nobel Peace Prize for absolutely nothing, the New Zealand Government has now granted Helen Clark the Order of New Zealand.

No Minister will not be "celebrating the fact that Helen Clark is now supposedly one of the 20 greatest living New Zealanders" on their post aptly headed "New Year Horrus".

Over here at Motella we will be hoping that this formality that the government has bestowed upon Aunty Helen will now permanently consign our former Headmistress to history. We will remember Clark as setting up a centralist regime that made the majority of Kiwis dependent upon the forced wealth redistribution from productivity of others.

Kinda apt that this award was announced on New Year's Eve. Some may drink to celebrate, while others will drink to forget...

Ban The Van!

Best Kind!

If there needs to be evidence that blogs are the bastion for inspired thought, go no further than the subtle prose of fellow blogger, Oswald Bastable. 

In few words, he has captured the essence of a practical recommendation that may assist curb an age old problem.
"Drivers dragging these rolling roadblocks at 65k without pulling over need flogging with an aardvark-hide triple-thonged whip, immersion in strong brine, more flogging, then bastinado followed by being staked to an anthill in the hot sun after being honey glazed!

For a first offense, that is..."

For those holidaymakers on the road trapped behind those insipid, mean spirited, fair weather motel dodging gypsies, Oswald's recommendations appear to be right on the money!

Encouraging Motel Sex

You may remember that we installed a new vending machine at our motel a few weeks ago.

I must admit that this has been providing me a bit of distracting amusement as I try different items for our guests to purchase. 

Yesterday was a monumental day for me when I sold my first packet of condoms through the machine.

For over a decade and a half I have been selling motel rooms. Due to the nature of our industry, couples can...if they have an inkling...have sex. I am very comfortable with this - in fact I feel flattered that some people may have the urge at my motels. Now after all these years, I feel that I may have crossed the line by selling a sexual accessory and encouraging sex. Could this be a slippery slope?

...So this got me thinking about what other complementary accessories I could be selling? A quick Google search reveals that the hotel industry seems to be way ahead of the motel industry in this regard and are furiously replacing the Gideon Bible with all sorts of paraphernalia of an "adult nature".

At the Morongo Casino Resort, the concierge has been known to make a floral arrangement with sex toys at the request of one guest. The Hard Rock Hotel has handcuffs on the room service. The Sagamore offers the Shag Bag-a goodie bag of sex toys. The James Hotel has intimacy kits for sale in its mini-bars as does the W Hotels. 

Even less cool and hip hotels like the Crescent City Guest House in New Orleans have a "Safe Sex" kit discreetly tucked away in the nightstand drawer so their more conservative guests can pretend the kits are not there. The Hotel Pelirocco has an erotic boutique-sponsored menu available for in-room use. Or if you don't feel like springing for the kit, apparently the hotel also sells condoms in their vending machine.

Hmmm...something to think about for 2010.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Homeless Motel

Christmas and New Year brings a lot of stress as families that spend the year apart join together for the holiday season.

This time of the year is also a time for impromptu generosity and we were heartened to read that a mysterious donor felt the need to share the love by booking 15 homeless people at the Express Inn motel in Colorado over Christmas.

We would love to get the candid reaction from the unsuspecting paying guests that were staying at the motel and given the unique opportunity to bond with homeless people over the festive season.

Just saying...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

'Clean and green' is a fantasy that sets us up to fail

Business New Zealand can at times sup with the devil, however, Chief Executive, Phil O'Reilly is an able spokesman for the organisation that represents the interests of New Zealand businesses.

We particularly enjoyed  O'Reilly's column in the New Zealand Herald today that highlights this country's misplaced assumption on the value visitors place on our self imposed "clean, green image".

Within the tourism industry we have talked ourselves into believing that our international visitors that have just stepped off a long haul carbon emitting flight are obsessed with saving the planet.

While we are all are concerned about our environment, the tourism industry seems to be unable to differentiate between the needs and desires of international and domestic guests that are often radically different from what they politely say.

When there are some accommodation providers that proudly boast about placing timers on showers in the name of the environment we have reached a point where we need to seriously question what we are offering.

Read O'Reilly's column in full and while reading replace the phrase "clean, green image" with Tourism NZ's branding byline: "100 Pure".
"The stunning natural environment is only part of the mosaic that is New Zealand, says Phil O'Reilly.

There's a Kiwi slogan that rolls easily off the tongue, a way of describing our beautiful countryside, farms and our love of the outdoors - "clean and green".

We hear it said with pride. We also hear it used in a critical way, for example when some environmental problem is seen to be undermining our "clean, green image".

But does "clean and green" paint a true picture and is it how others see us?

In my work I get to quite a few international forums and often hear people's perceptions of New Zealand.

Here's what they say:
  • The country is beautiful, and the people are friendly, open, down to earth, direct, hospitable and welcoming. 
  • New Zealand people are "authentic". They say there is something vibrant about us. 
  • New Zealand is safe and pretty. It's the least corrupt country in the world. The people are honest and trustworthy. 
  • Americans say the food is good, with no worries about food safety. Australians talk about flying over to have fun in Courtenay Place.
People overseas find our countryside beautiful but they tend to mention our people more. And, interestingly, I've never heard anyone describe New Zealand in terms of "clean and green". Yet we seem to have convinced ourselves that that's how the world sees us.

We seem to have a view that any chink in our environment will badly compromise our clean, green image in the eyes of the world.

I don't think people overseas do have such simplistic opinions. Most people are realists. They understand that an absolutely pristine environment is not achievable unless humans are somehow removed from the picture.

People's work doesn't happen in a purely pristine way - you can't call coal mining "clean and green", or panelbeating, air travel, dairy farming or diesel transport.

The same goes for everyday life: driving to the supermarket; turning on a light that's maybe powered by a coal-fired generator; concreting a driveway or painting a house - all these impact on the environment.

The danger in holding up "clean and green" as a banner to describe ourselves is that it is very excluding - it excludes many aspects of our work and our lives. It's more mythology than statement of reality.

It also sets us up to fail.

With an absolute statement like "clean and green" any variation becomes a failure.
This is unfortunate, given the pervasiveness and rapidity of communications. Try Googling "clean green New Zealand" and you'll find many recent critical entries pointing out instances where we are failing to meet the standard of "clean and green".

It can be used by extremists for the purpose of highlighting any environmental failings, however slight. So why should we set ourselves up for this?

Part of the magic of New Zealand is that as a people we are more committed to our natural environment than just about any other people on earth. That's why the silver fern expresses our national psyche so well - a simple plant, a beautiful piece of prehistoric vegetation from the time of Gondwanaland still sustainable today.

In our commitment to the environment, we need to be careful to avoid an absolutist attitude that can limit our thinking, boxing us in. We need a holistic, not extremist, view.

When overseas people ask me to describe New Zealand, I always say, "It's one of the best places in the world to live."

That's my attempt at conveying all the different parts of New Zealand that together add up to something pretty wonderful.

New Zealand is the natural environment but it's also much, much more. I'd like us to get beyond lazy slogans. We should start thinking in a more realistic, holistic way and get out of the box."

Source: Click HERE

Monday, December 28, 2009

Guilt Free Travel

We appreciate anything that makes travel more enjoyable and FUN.

The following video was of a flash mob attack at Lisbon Airport that created an outbreak of joy amongst the astounded onlookers that were able to momentarily forget their guilt of carbon emitting travel;-)

We expect that this phenomenon to catch on in the wider tourism industry, so expect to see the odd impromptu flash mob to break out at a motel near you:

Business Owner's Rights?

Earlier this year, we questioned the decision to for the owners of Supreme Motor Lodge to have a publicised policy of restricting their services to people from a certain geographical area, but we defended their right to do so.

We note that more recently another business owner is in the news relating to his decision to ban a section of the public from his establishment. After enduring a weekend of drunken fights, vandalism and general mayhem the owner of Monteith's Brewery Bar in Paraparaumu has banned all persons under the age of  20.

While banning people from a geographical area is probably not breaching the Human Rights Act, imposing a ban on the basis of age could well be.

However, the stand by the besieged bar owner has been applauded by police and we were pleased to see that over 50% of readers of an online Dominion Post opinion poll answered to the affirmative to the question: "Should a Kapiti pub be able to ban young people"?

Perhaps more importantly the Kapiti bar owner has the support of the Motella Blog.

Not surprisingly, hand-wringing, socialist wowsers are turning to the Human Rights Act to override the business owner's right to determine who he should host and allow on his own private property.

Disappointingly, Bruce Robertson, Hospitality Association of New Zealand chief executive was probably caught off guard when approached for comment and gave a cut and paste quote suggesting that the bar should "focus on behaviour, not age."

Yeah, we realise that on the face of it, the bar owners actions could be flouting the Human Rights Act, however Bruce Robertson's comments are not good enough. 

In this case we believe that the law is an ass. Bruce, we respectfully suggest that after you come home from the beach, you revisit this situation to determine how you can better serve your members.

Accommodation providers that also prefer to deal with "adults" will be looking on to see if there is a way around the present law or if there needs to be coordinated advocacy for common sense... 

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Mother-in-Law Leaves Today!

Motel Red Alert

Popular right wing blogger, Cactus Kate caused the blogging world to momentarily pause when she awarded her blogger of the year award to the Labour Party's Red Alert.

You can keep up to date with the musings of Labour party MPs on Red Alert (and other blogs) by going to the link on our sidebar. Appropriately we have listed this blog under the heading "Humorous Blogs We Read" as we think that it is important to laugh on a regular basis by keeping up with the confused ramblings of the left. 

We hate to admit that Red Alert makes compulsive reading as Labour has grasped the blogging medium better than any other political party. The most prolific blogger, Trevor Mallard is thriving in this medium. 

In his latest post, Trevor raises the saga of Supreme Motor Lodge. The story of the hapless Palmerston North motelier that banned the inhabitants of Mallards' home town was one of our favorite topics this year. A gift that has kept on giving: 

Vandals ravage motel room

Motelier's geographical ban hits the TV screens

Motel bans guests from Wainuiomata

Dick of the Week - Trevor Mallard

Anti-Wainuiomata Motel in Forced Sale

It is interesting to view the responses to the Supreme Motor Lodge story from the regulation and compulsion retards on Red Alert. 

We suggest that you head over there and join in the conversation - we have;-)

UPDATE: Whaleoil asks the question: Is Labour good for business?

Well no actually and it is pretty disgusting watching a key Labour front bencher gloat about a business being in receivership and the helping hand he played in that. Trevor “Tiger” Mallard is essentially a loud mouthed, rooting, cheating bully who doesn’t give a fuck about anyone but himself and where he is going to get his next root from.

Next time you hear him spouting on about how much Labour cares about business then remember this;

Trevor Mallard gloating at helping a business fail."

Event Accommodation

In our local community we have a regular event that has reached a stage where the size and the risk has gotten beyond the organisers. 

Instead of scaling back and changing the nature of the event to make it more economically viable the default stance taken by those that run the event is to line up at our local council with their hand out and in this case it is to the tune of $100k. Interestingly they are also requesting that the council assist with the management and running of the event. 

Under the threat of pulling the event out of the region to the detriment of tourist trade and horse-trading with other councils we have no doubt that corporate welfare will be dished out from our bewildered leaders without thoroughly understanding the ROI and risk to ratepayers. We also have no doubt that a committee will be quickly formed of council representatives and interested stake holders that will form a layer of bureaucracy making plenty of non-productive noise while sourcing further welfare from all sorts of imaginative areas. 

Instead of a hardcore, enthusiastic group of people with their arse on the line running an economically sustainable event that they are passionate about, the event will be run by a committee of removed do-gooders with their own personal agenda and no risk. The event is doomed.

This made us think about the Rugby World Cup and we wonder if there are similarities about New Zealand hosting this event?

Talking about the Rugby World Cup, we read with interest that one of many subcommittees of NZ's Rugby NZ 2011 will enter the accommodation reselling business by creating a "bank of bed nights" that will be allocated to those seen to be most deserving. We are somewhat surprised and skeptical to learn that "about 300 hotels had signed up to guarantee an average of 60 per cent of their bed inventory at set rates." Why any accommodation business would sign over their lifeblood to a quasi-government committee is beyond us. 

If corralling commercial accommodation isn't difficult enough, Rugby NZ 2011 will be also providing a homestay matching service. 

While we can see the good intentions, coordinating accommodation is a highly specialised business and frankly this should be left to those that have a vested interest in this industry. Trying to manipulate the market will have dire consequences. 

When the Dominion Post went looking for some accommodation operator feedback they were met with the obligatory "no comment" from Wellington's InterContinental, James Cook and Duxton Hotels...however our fellow down-to-earth motel operators were more forthcoming: 
"But owners of Wellington motel complexes said they were wary of accepting block bookings for the tournament from people professing to represent international rugby unions and booking agencies.

Victoria Court Motor Lodge owner Chris Gray was not interested in doing deals with people wanting to book now and on-sell his rooms at inflated rates. "We're a little bit wary about doing any deals at the moment."

A spokeswoman for Apollo Lodge in Wellington said: "We have been approached by shonky operators wanting to block-book rooms and make money out of us. 

"We're not going there. We're hanging on to our units."
Good onya!

Source: Click HERE

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Save The Whale

Fellow blogger and friend of the Motella blog, Whaleoil is in trouble.

The man behind one of New Zealand's most popular blogs, Cameron Slater has been accused of  breaching name suppression orders by allegedly identifying an entertainer and of a former Olympian who have been granted name suppression.
  • Does picture association directly identify individuals with name suppression? Who knows?
  • Are the current name suppression laws an ass? Probably.
  • Has Slater provoked some needed debate about name suppression? Absolutely!
Slater has been charged with four counts of breaching name suppression orders two days before Christmas. Authorities seem to have pulled all stops to have these charges answered post-haste with a date set at the Auckland District Court on January 5.

Hardly seems to be enough time to formulate a legal defense? With low readership of blogs over the holiday season, the short time-frame given is not opportune to raise awareness and support. But we guess that is the point.

So how can you assist? Watch this space. 

Timaru's Xmas Message

We love Timaru! 

It's a gritty honest town that services a rich agricultural surrounding area local and port.

Timaru has always been a good motel area and seems to have held up well in tough times compared to the rest of the country.

For the year ending October 2009 motel occupancy rates in Timaru have declined by only 2.9% compared to the rest of the country's motels that endured a decline of 7.2%.

We were interested to read that longstanding iconic Timaru motelier and past Motel Association of New Zealand national President, Maree Winter has been quoted in the Timaru Herald. She gives us a snapshot of the local motel industry:
South Canterbury Motel Association president Maree Winter said although the recession had hit motel owners, Timaru had not been as bad as some regions in the country.

"Timaru is not a saturated market such as Rotorua or Queenstown, so we have been fortunate to weather most of the storms.

"However, it appears that domestic tourism – and tourism from our Australian neighbours – has gone up over the last year. People are still wanting to have a holiday, but can't necessarily afford to go overseas."

Mrs Winter said many motel owners in New Zealand had struggled as their expenses had gone up throughout the year.

However, she said Timaru was looking good for the immediate post-New Year period, as there were several sporting events coming to the region.

"We have the car races, athletics and yachting. Some of these clash, but it should mean that we will get quite a few people coming through."

Source: Click HERE

Thursday, December 24, 2009

An Apology from The Motella Blog

Over the past few months we have posted some inappropriate pictures and jokes to our dear readers who we thought shared the same sense of humour.

Unfortunately this wasn't the case and we seem to have upset quite a few people who have accused us of being sexist and shallow.

If you were one of these people, please accept our sincerest apologies.

From now on we will only post content with a cultural or educational content such as old monuments, nature and other interesting topics.

Below is a picture of the Pont Neuf Bridge in Paris . It is the oldest bridge in Paris and took 26 years to build. It was completed in 1604.

I trust that you enjoy the graceful and elegant architectural curves in the same way that I do..

Merry Christmas!

Cheers Theo;-)

Motella's Xmas Card Collection

Christmas is all about giving, but sometimes receiving can be good too:

 Dam! I wish we saved some of those lights we strung up for Anti-Earth Hour:

A little ashamed of this one (but I posted it anyway;-)):

Oops! Who's gonna tell the kids:

 Ah, Christmas and coping with in-laws:

 For some reason we appreciated this pic that a dear reader sent us:

 And finally, we ask the pertinent question: Are the expectations of Christmas season just getting worse?


Culture and Heritage Has Wings Clipped

We were interested to read that Eventfinder and NZLive publishers of online events calendars have formed a partnership.

In our post HERE we called out the Ministry of Culture and Heritage for wasting taxpayers money by duplicating the successful and privately owned with its own less successful website

Last year, the owners of Eventfinder were justifiably concerned about the continued spending of taxpayers funds by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. They charged the ministry with unnecessarily duplicating and copying the features and innovation of their own successful website - and using a little under $3 million of taxpayers funds to do so! 

At the time of writing our original post we called for the incoming National led government to enact a line by line expenditure audit to uncover this rout and slash funding to this prescriptive, pompous, self-righteous ministry. 

The newly announced "partnership" between Eventfinder and NZLive has certainly clipped the wings of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage: but does it go far enough? For us this would appear to be yet another pragmatic comprimise that has become a typical MO of the Key led government.

If we are really serious about minimising unnecessary public expenditure we reckon that the Ministry of Culture and Heritage should have been
simply shut down... 

But I guess if the rumours are true that the previous Culture and Heritage Minister (Helen Clark) will be given recognition for services to the nation in the New Year's Honours List, then that would hardly be etiquette?

Source: Click HERE

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Xmas From The Motella Blog

We have decided to give our alter-ego a break in an environment that he would appreciate while we focus on the day-job.

Thank you all for your support and feed back. It's been a blast.

We wish you all a FUN, safe and profitable Christmas!

Motella's Xmas Compilation

Ahh the joy of Christmas...can often involve watching others make a complete arse of themselves

Funny X-mas - Funny video clips are a click away

Gentleman, think very carefully on what to buy your wife for Christmas

Wrong Gift - The best home videos are here

And finally, the sure-fire gift to buy your wife that will have no comebacks

Wifes Christmas Present. Funny - Watch a funny movie here Expands Into The Activity Market

We were interested to read today that the Wotif Group have announced that it plans to purchase Go Do Pty Ltd. 

GoDo operate a website that provides real time online bookings for activities and tours in Australia and New Zealand. Their websites and  list aprox 1500 activities in Australia and a little under 200 activities in New Zealand. The database of bookable inventory is also available via a network of affiliate sites and third party distributors.

Products listed in the New Zealand section of the website includes jetboat rides, theme park passes, day spas, cooking classes, skydiving, hot air ballooning and V8 racing. 

The latest proposed purchase would appear to be part of wotif's master plan to expand into all areas of the tourism market by purchasing booking site acquisitions. Distribution channels for activities and tours are underdeveloped when compared to the accommodation market. When booking activities or tours there does not appear to be an obvious reselling brand that will attract the public to look and book online. It will be interesting to see if wotif can emulate its online accommodation dominance in this market. 

Last month wotif announced that they will be entering the air travel market and going head to head with Australian market leader Webjet. 

It is unclear how accommodation, flight reservations, activities and tours will be eventually presented to the public by as bookable inventory. 

It will be interesting to see if this can be done on without losing the focus and definition of this popular accommodation site. 

Source: Click HERE

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Motel Christmas

Most bloggers are adopting a scornful stance on Christmas with many bemoaning the intensity and commercialisation. We on the other hand look forward to Christmas and enjoy the edge of this time of year and the opportunities it brings.

We like the quote from Ayn Rand that capitulates Christmas for us:
"The best aspect of Christmas is that Christmas has been commercialized. The gift buying stimulates an enormous outpouring of ingenuity in the creation of products devoted to a single purpose: to give men pleasure. And the street decorations put up by departments stores and other institutions—the Christmas trees, the winking lights, the glittering colors—provide the city with a spectacular display, which only 'commercial greed' could afford to give us. One would have to be terribly depressed to resist the wonderful gaiety of that spectacle."(Hat tip Not PC)
While we welcome the general orgy of capitalism at this time of year we particularly appreciate anything that extracts people out of their usual routine to go on holiday...hopefully staying at a motel or two along the way. 

On Christmas Day we will be spending time with a procession of family members and friends that have long stopped inviting us to their Christmas celebrations and will come and visit us while we juggle guest demands at the motel.

It always interests me what type of guests arrive to stay at our motel on Christmas Day. From previous experience we have catergorised them in to typical groupings.

We often attract at least one lonely soul that has had an argument with a family member and after been ejected needs some time alone to reflect. Some arrive bemused with a reasonably humorous yarn to tell while others sadly arrive with bruises. 

We often have couples arrive that are either Kiwis or overseas travelers that have purposely planned to avoid a "family Christmas" and have a wonderful time together away from the obligations others would have thrust upon them.

One of the more high management groups of guests are the perennial gang of Asian extended family members that usually depart from Pakuranga or Howick en masse and will sweep into our driveway late afternoon in several in European sedans and people movers. The usual gaggle are made up of at least three separate family groupings that will arrive bewildered and confused: "why are all the shops closed?"

The vehicles will come to an abrupt halt and left parked in all sorts of imaginative acute angles in our car park while the occupants scatter to all points of the motel.  There will be a self appointed team leader that speaks a smattering of English that will engage in the obligatory negotiation process at reception. It will be difficult to establish exactly how many people will be staying, however the language barrier is often evaporated when communicating the numbers concerning tariff.

We usually commence the extended haggling session at double our usual tariff to ensure a mutually satisfactory "discount".

And last but not least while most families will either arrive before or after Christmas Day, we usually have at least one overenthusiastic family that have decided last moment to hit the road and will arrive late in the day. By the time they arrive, mum and dad are usually not talking, at least one child is howling and another is sheepishly clutching a sick bag.

In an industry where every day is a Monday, we still regard Christmas Day as a special time.  Let the insanity begin!

Monday, December 21, 2009

What Happened To Our Sexual Relations?

This just in: 

Moteliers from Timaru discuss the pending Xmas season:

Motel Story Competition Winner Announced

At last we can reveal the winner of the inaugural Motel Story Competition.

Not only will the winner receive the brilliant new book: AA 101 Must-Do Weekends in time for Xmas, but they will also receive a digital Motella gold statuette AND the auspicious honor of being recognised from the motel industry's most popular blog ;-)

Overall, we have been impressed with the entries, however we must say that we were somewhat disappointed at the lack of stories with a sexual theme. Some came close, however we expect a better effort next year!

OK, the winner of the inaugural Motel Story Competition is:

Carl Smith 

The judges were impressed with Carl's graphic detail of the horrors that ensued while hosting a high-maintenance "family from Hell" at his motel in Taupo.

Good onya Carl! AA's 101 Must-Do Weekends is coming your way in time to re-gift for Xmas!

We will drip-feed the best of the motel yarns over the next few weeks.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Maximising the Holiday Season

A litmus test for the state of the New Zealand's tourism sector will be how the domestic holiday market pans out from Boxing Day 2009 until the end of January 2010.

While there are a few cut and paste optimistic remarks in the media about strength of forward accommodation bookings, we know that the success of trade over this period will depend on the last minute plans of Kiwi holiday makers. Mr and Mrs Kiwi will be basing their holiday decisions on all sorts of stimuli that may include anything from pending weather patterns to their own perceived economic well-being.

Accommodation providers will be competing for the attention of consumers alongside a throng of retailers that will be extremely motivated to clear surplus stock. So a motel in Rotorua could very well be competing with a 42" LCD television at a chain store at a never to be repeated knocked down price.

What ever happens, there will be times when accommodation is at a premium and moteliers can enjoy a rare bargaining position of strength. One of the frustrations for accommodation providers is that after enduring months of struggling to fill rooms there will be times over the next six weeks where they will be able to sell their rooms many times over.

To minimise this frustration the Motella Think Tank has found a solution!

Why not convert all of those inefficient large motel units into multiple rooms to maximise the time period when 4-million Kiwis go on holiday together!

For inspiration, look no further than The Jane Hotel that is situated in New York. Here's an accommodation property that knows how to maximise space. It offers 50-square-foot guest rooms that are styled on a sleeper car on a luxury European train. These tiny, cleverly designed rooms feature under-bed cubbies for storage, a wall-mounted flat-screen TV with a DVD player, and an iPod dock. We reckon the average large Kiwi motel unit could be converted to fit at least four of these rooms!

For a shower, guests can head down the skinny hallway to one of the two shared bathrooms (the hotel even provides the flip-flops).

The hotel has an interesting history that includes hosting the survivors of the Titanic back in 1912... and a pretty cool website too: Click HERE. 

There is still some time left for moteliers to start erecting a few interior walls in time for Boxing Day...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Airplane Seat-Mate from Hell!

We love the irony of trying to take a break....while all those annoying people you are trying to escape from take their holidays at the same time.

We like this latest promotion from that asks you to rate your worst seat-mate nightmare, someone you hope NOT to sit with on your next flight. There seems to be more than a bit of an overlap with motel guests from hell.

Why not rate for your worst nightmare by clicking: HERE (we have).

Holiday Voucher Scams - Another Chapter

The Motella Blog receives many hits from Google web searches on holiday voucher scams

We have done several posts on this subject that have resulted in being contacted by many duped consumers and moteliers that have been approached (and abused) by holders of these worthless vouchers.

We have a vested interest and disdain for fraudsters that appeal to the gullibility and desire of the consumer to travel by offering false hope. The accommodation industry depends upon a certain amount of trust by consumers that purchase accommodation from legitimate operators. Anyone that plays in our domain with the object to cheat and deceive will attract our wrath. 

We believe that it is important to make people aware of the scam and have consistently advised all concerned to make a stand against telemarketing companies that promote holiday vouchers of dubious worth by making a written complaint to the Commerce Commission. We are delighted to learn this week that the Commission has been successful after taking a case against Discount Premium Holidays Limited.

Read more about the court findings HERE. 

It is interesting that Discount Premium Holidays Ltd were based in Australia and probably using Indian based telemarketers to randomly solicit unsuspecting Kiwis. The Commerce Commission has made a point of stressing that it was able to prosecute an overseas based company, however we note that Discount Premium Holidays Ltd is a New Zealand registered company.

We are aware that there are other businesses that are also using the holiday voucher racket that are registered overseas and will continue to operate outside of New Zealand consumer law. While the New Zealand Commerce Commission will be unable to take legal proceedings against dodgy overseas telemarketing companies soliciting Kiwis, they will be able to collate and pass on information to their overseas equivalent agencies that can take action.

Up until recently, Discount Premium Holidays were making up to 600 calls a day to people chosen randomly from the phone book. It would be hard to say how many sales were made and how many of these vouchers will now be in circulation, however it is likely that many of these will be attempted to be exchanged for accommodation over the pending busy holiday season.

Accommodation providers should be made aware that they will need console many disappointed punters that purchased holiday vouchers in the false hope of receiving a discounted break away.

Friday, December 18, 2009

The State Of The Motel Nation

From our recent travels around the country we have stayed at many motels and have talked to numerous moteliers. We think it is important to spend some face-time with our fellow motel sector players from time to time;-)

While we try to keep our ramblings reasonably pithy and upbeat we will share a few random concerning observations on the current state of the motel nation.

There is no doubt that it has been a difficult year for many motels with occupancy rates falling by about 7% nationally for the past 12-months. This statistic only tells part of the tale as the spread of this average seems to be somewhat lumpy. While there are many pockets of motels keeping in contact with last years trading results, others are down considerably more than the national average.

From what we can see there are many motel businesses operating very well, however from our observations there are a hard core of motel businesses in crisis.

Our heart goes out to those hard working couples that wake up every day surrounded by a situation that they are unable to escape from. Unfortunately there is often little that can be done to turn a negative financial situation around quickly. Often survival will depend on the innovation, investment and goodwill that has been built up many months and even years prior.

From our travels around the country we are seeing the old rate board bogey starting to appear at the curbside more often. This saddens us as it is an outward display of desperation of an tired old motelier that is devoid of ideas and is desperate to appease a concerned bank manager.

Within the confines of the motel reception operators are prostituting themselves by doing silly deals and slashing tariff in the false hope that this will bring them sustainable economic salvation. It will not.

Our industry urgently needs to have a cup of tea and reassess what we offer. We need to have a discussion on tariff setting, yield management and online marketing. We need to kick the distraction of environmental evangelism to touch and focus on benchmarking quality that will assist the motel sector meet the changing demands of the consumer.

The motel sector needs to acknowledge that it is losing market share. Motels have lost their crown and are no longer the most popular accommodation option for the traveling public with the hotel sector accelerating past. A buoyant, positive and innovative Holiday Park sector is quickly gaining ground from behind. We need to ask ourselves: Why is this?

The individual motel operator is very good at reducing variable costs within their own environment. This is probably the average motel operator's biggest strength, however funding is at times being diverted away to the detriment of guest comfort and from deffering repairs and maintenance.

Substantial operational savings are difficult to find as most expenditure in a motel operation is fixed. With the majority of motel properties being leased is it time to generate a discussion about the changes that have occurred in equity flows between rental, motel expenses and profit? The motel lease has worked well in the past, however it may be time to reassess how this can be tweaked to work better in current economic times?

Finally from what we have observed the average motel operator needs to sharpen up and look the part. For goodness sake lose the jandals, jeans, paint stained rugby jerseys and start looking like a professional operator. At least match the dress standard of a minimum wage fast food operator.

Phew! Glad we got that off our chest....after an increase in our medication, normal service will resume shortly;-)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

We're Back!

You will be pleased to learn that we have now returned to Motella Corporate HQ after a short break away. We have traveled a lot of kms and have talked to many moteliers. We will post on our findings later this week...

Our motel minders have appeared to have done a good job, however there are a few outstanding items that we need to catch up on.

You may need to play amongst yourselves for a while as we clear our desk!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Keep 'em Coming

While we continue to enjoy a break before the onslaught of the silly season we have been checking our mailbox regularly and acknowledge those of you that have provided some excellent feedback.

Responses to our Motel Story Competition has produced some classic moments captured on email and we intend to close entries on the 20 December 2009.

For those that haven't responded yet, there is still time to share your yarn by emailing us at

Simply tell us about a humorous occurrence that happened to you either as a guest or as an operator in a motel and the best yarn will win a sparkling copy of the brilliant new book: AA 101 Must-Do Weekends in time for Xmas.

We have also received some very thoughtful appraisals on how the Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ) has performed this year. No prizes will be award here, however we wish to hear what benefits the MANZ has delivered your motel business, the quality of the communication and the advocacy done on your behalf. Simply email us at

We will post "The end-of-year MANZ Report card" from a collation of your best comments before Xmas.

Mixed Accommodation Survey Results

Can we read anything into October's guest night survey results before the busy summer high season?

We are still on holiday, however we were interested in the latest accommodation survey results for October released last week by Statistics New Zealand. 

Overall it's good news with total guest nights in short-term commercial accommodation for October 2009 up by half a percent compared to October last year. It is also pleasing to note an upward trend with October 2009 guest nights up by 5 percent on October 2007. However there are some mixed results.

When compared with October 2008, guest nights in the North Island were down 1 percent with the South Island up 3 percent. Similar to pervious months, regions that are on the main skiing routes continue to return better results than those regions that are not. K Rudd's Australian stimulus package has made many Kiwi tourism operators grateful recipients of Ozzie wealth redistribution. It will be interesting to see if the Australian market can continue beyond one of our best ever ski seasons.

Seven of the 12 regions recorded more guest nights in October 2009 compared with October 2008, with the following regions showing the largest increases: 
  • Otago, up 12,000 (4 percent)
  • Canterbury, up 10,000 (2 percent) 
  • Southland, up 6,000 (10 percent).
    The region showing the largest decrease was Taranaki/Manawatu-Wanganui, down 13,000 (8 percent).

    Again, largely thanks to our Ozzie cousins, international visitors boosted overall  guest nights in October 2009 with an increase of 5 percent compared with October 2008.

    Dissappointingly, domestic guest nights fell by 2 percent in October 2009 compared with October 2008. The majority of accommodation providers are looking for a strong rebound in the domestic market for the peak season starting from the last week in December in order to appease their bank managers. With traveling decisions being made more and more last minute it is difficult to second guess what the demand will be however it is hoped that October's slight decline in domestic guest nights is a small stutter before Kiwis take to the road en-masse this summer.

    In October 2009, two of the four accommodation types had more guest nights than in October

    • hotels, up 18,000 (2 percent)
    • backpackers, up 16,000 (5 percent)
    • motels, down 12,000 (1 percent)
    • holiday parks, down 11,000 (3 percent).
    In October 2009, hotels had the highest occupancy rate (36 percent), followed by motels (34 percent), and holiday parks (16 percent). 

    Motels will be looking forward to a strong summer season to claw back some lost ground to the hotel sector. 

    Source: Click HERE

    Saturday, December 12, 2009

    Motella Calls For A National Holiday

    Here it is folks - this is where it all started. Kneel at the alter of the first - The world's first motel! 

    Today marks a monumental day in our history.

    On this day, in 1925, the world's first motel opened, The Motel Inn in San Luis Obispo, California USA. For more: Click HERE. 

    At Motella HQ we salute the innovators of that great institution that we all take for granted, the humble and noble "motel."

    We will be spending today in celebratory mode and pausing to reflect on the contribution that the motel has given mankind.

    Friday, December 11, 2009

    How did MANZ perform this year?

    The nature of the motel industry dictates that moteliers are a bunch of pragmatic business operators that focus on the day to day activities of their motel. When it comes to wider issues of industry standards and government legislation most moteliers are content to sit back and watch without engaging.

    The trade association the Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ) fills the void and is the voice of the motel industry. An effective inspirational trade association can be beneficial to any grouping of businesses operating in the same environment.

    We get many emails from a hard core of our dear readers that are resonably opionated and passionate about the motel industry that use us as a sounding board to vent opinions and sometimes frustrations.

    From an idea a reader communicated to us recently we want you to write to us at and give us a report card on how MANZ has preformed over the last 12-months.

    We wish to hear what benefits the MANZ has delivered your motel business, the quality of the communication and the advocacy done on your behalf.

    We hope this can be used as a catalyst of some positive debate.

    We will post "The end-of-year MANZ Report card" from a collation of your best comments before Xmas.

    So, how has MANZ performed this year? We look forward to your contribution!

    Tuesday, December 8, 2009

    The Motel Story Competition

    How remiss of us!

    We launched  the "Motel Story Competition" on Friday and have been enjoying reading the entries to date without aucknowledging all that have contributed - thank you!

    It doesn't have to be an epic, just a few lines about that impossible guest, the rude receptionist, strange nocturnal guest habits or that embarrassing drunken escapade... (names can be withheld to protect the innocent).

    Simply tell us about a humorous occurrence that happened to you either as a guest or as an operator in a motel and the best yarn will win a sparkling copy of the brilliant new book: AA 101 Must-Do Weekends in time for Xmas.

    To be in to win a great prize and having the honour of becoming the innaurgral "Motel Story Competition" winner, please drop us a line to:

    On The Road Again

    After doing an audit on our own carbon footprint we were horrified to discover how small it was.

    Feeling somewhat embarrassed about the puny size of our output, we've decided to go on holiday before the silly season and use the opportunity to do our bit for the myth of man made global warming.

    Various road trips are planned and we will be of course staying at numerous motels around the country. After our last experience coping with "Motel Greenwash" we will be treating our choice of accommodation's Qualmark Green enviro-rating with some suspicion.

    We've got a great country and with the background sympathy of a V8 we intend to enjoy it guilt free.

    See you on the road!

    Sunday, December 6, 2009

    The Motel House Bar

    The Motel HouseBar - where everybody knows your name

    One of our motels operates traditional in-room mini bars and for our managers it takes up a lot of time and effort. We reckon that the time taken managing minibar stock and checking/restocking guest rooms can take an average of at least 30 minutes every day in an average size motel. The losses are not as much as you would think - in fact we come out very close to even. 

    I have heard that the average loss for the hotel industry is about 30%. A motel situation seems to be very different . Maybe it is the closer relationship we have with our guests, however mini bar stock losses seem to be reasonably negligible. In fact it is not uncommon that we have months that we sell more than we restock due to some over diligent guests overstating their consumption.

    The killer for us is not only the time and management, but the additional step that is necessary at check-out by asking the perennial question: "Have you used the mini bar Sir?" Ascertaining if our guests have or haven't isn't necessarily the best note to complete a guest experience.

    So far, we have resisted setting up in-room mini bars in the motel property that we operate ourselves.

    Yesterday we received a new vending machine to replace our older model and we have been busy setting it up.

    We intend to carry on vending all of our mini bar items....We have been doing this for the last 10-years using smart card technology, but this time we want to try something different and this new machine can accept coins and notes.

    So how is it controlled I hear some of our more authoritarian readers ask?

    Well, to conform with the Sale of Liquor Act, our motel needs a Liquor License and a Duty Manager on site. The control of the vending machine is by a PIN number that our guests will have printed on their room key tag that will give them access to the machine. The control of liquor supply is by us identifying those persons checking in and confirming that they are over the age of 18 etc...

    Our guests will be able to dispense essential mini-bar items 24 hours a day. They can start off the day with a selection soft drinks and snacks, then move on later on in the day to various beers, RTDs and wine. Much later that evening they will be able to vend a 3-pack of condoms (not too sure what the other 2 are for). The next morning they can stagger over to the machine and dispense packets of Berocca and Panadol. 


    Friday, December 4, 2009

    Motella Comment Moderation

    OK, we have held back for as long as we can....Due to this blog being inundated with spam, we are now changing the way our dear readers can make comments. 

    I guess we should be flattered that "Motella" is increasingly attracting spam comments as we grow in popularity - a victim of our own success ;-)

    Don't worry, we will continue to make it as easy as possible to enter into a conversation with us and your comments will still be instantly posted.

    At the bottom of every post there is a "Comments" link that can be clicked and you will be taken to a separate page where you can enter your worthy and considered feedback. 

    You have the option of signing on with your Google account, OpenID, your Name/URL or Anonymously.

    You will now have to make a word verification step before your comments can be posted and this should reduce the amount of spam that we have to delete.

    Comments are always welcome - even if you don't agree with us! In fact we encourage all feedback. Where else can you enter into an online conversation about the New Zealand motel industry?

    So, what are you waiting for? Go and try it out people!

    Motel Hell

    Fortunately, we need to look outside New Zealand for extremes in motelling.

    A while back we did a post "A walk on the wild side of the motel industry" that was about the Bridge Motel. Situated in the Marina district, San Francisco in an area that has been described as "urban blight at its best." Crack heads, meth freaks, pimps and whores make up an diverse cultural experience of humanity at its lowest ebb. 

    We were impressed with the array of violations the motel had accumulated, including: roaches, overflowing dumpsters, illegal drugs, counterfeiting and unregistered sex offenders as guests.

    Today a reader from San Francisco sent us a link on a story headlined, "Motel Hell" that appeared in the San Francisco Weekly newspaper that chronicled the continuing saga.

    The full story can be read: HERE

    The Motel Story Competition

    OK, we want to hear from you about that "Motel Story" that you have bottled up inside of you that needs to be told.

    C'mon, we want to know about that impossible guest, the rude receptionist, strange nocturnal guest habits or that embarrassing drunken escapade... (names will be withheld to protect the innocent).

    Tell us about a humorous occurrence that happened to you either as a guest or as an operator in a motel and the best yarn will win a sparkling copy of the brilliant new book: AA 101 Must-Do Weekends in time for Xmas.
    "The AA ran the high-profile 101 MUST-DO WEEKENDS campaign all through 2008, with several feature articles in NZ Woman's Weekly, Directions magazine and The New Zealand Herald. This book is a fresh take on the campaign, with 101 great suggested weekends away in different parts of the country, divided into 10 broad themes.

    Whether you're into history and culture, or prefer to concentrate on food and wine, you'll find the perfect weekend here. There are Family Fun weekends, Eco-wilderness weekends, Active Adventures, Road Trips, and weekends where you can just Relax and Indulge!

    The scenic photography throughout makes the book a great tourist souvenir, as well as being a reminder to Kiwis of what a great country we live in.

    RRP: $39.99"
     Send us your best story to

    Thursday, December 3, 2009

    Travel Category Web Stats

    So how are the those Kiwi-based Travel Category websites that use Nielsen for their web analytics performing?

    The Top 5 web sites in the Travel Category tracking the number of unique visitors from domestic traffic to November 2009.
    (Click for a larger view):

    Source: Click HERE 

    The top 10 web sites in the travel category by the number of unique visitors from both domestic AND overseas traffic.



    Source: Click HERE

    In Response To a "Motel Complaint"

    Gareth Pearce, Managing Director of New Zealand owned last minute accommodation reseller has responded in the comments section of our last post about the alleged offhand treatment by a motel receptionist of a guest that had reserved a room via

    Gareth makes some good points and underlines the roles and responsibilities of accommodation providers that choose to use Online Travel Agents.

    We have reproduced his comments in this post and invite you to make your own comments below:
    "Unfortunately, from a third party website point of view, we are seeing this more often than we like and it is often the third party website that attracts a bad reputation with the customer as a result, not the individual property.

    What some accommodation providers fail to realise is that third party websites are a marketing extension to their own marketing activities and that they provide reach to customers that a small individual property cannot achieve by themselves. Third party websites only takes 10% of the room rate, which for all the marketing that is done on the property's behalf is only a small proportional fee.

    In the example that you have provided, the property would be noted and given a warning regarding service levels and reminded of their obligations of participation on the third party website. If a similar incident happens again then the property faces termination from the website. This may sound harsh however the third party website must maintain high levels of service themselves or face losing business as a result through the likes of 'word of mouth'.

    This type of incident has only happened once on and as a result the particular property lost over $20,000 in revenue from us (for the 12 months prior to them being terminated). They have now advised us that they have made changes and are wanting to be listed again.

    Channel Managers have made it easier for property's to maintain availability and rate parity. This should be seen as an investment, not an associated cost to the business and all reception staff including minders should have full training on the system to ensure that information presented to customers is accurate at all times.

    But as said, if a mistake is made, fess up straight away and do everything possible to right a wrong. As for the 'dragon ladies' out there - if we know them, maybe we should be pointing them in the direction of a new career. It hurts all of our businesses and leaves a stain in the customers mind of the region that the visitor is visiting.

    Gareth Pearce
    Managing Director"

    Wednesday, December 2, 2009

    Motel Complaint offer a "Tripwatch Alert" that you are able to customise updates on accommodation available in locations that may be of interest to you.

    This morning I received an email update that contained an interesting exchange between a motel and a guest that attempted to book a room through

    I must say that I have an unusual bent of enjoying reading about complaints. The more ridiculous the better! Complaints can bring out some amusing human traits especially when ego and ignorance make some accommodation providers lose relativity - it doesn't happen too often;-)

    The following alleged treatment of a guest by a motel receptionist was posted in anger on TripAdvisor and will remain there for some time. There are many lessons to be learnt here, however one valuable principle in customer service is that if you get caught out - fess up straight away - apologise and then do everything in your power to put it right:
    "Well, I can't rate the rooms as we were actually unable to stay here.

    I made a booking with **** (name withheld) Motel on which as an accommodation manager myself I know works on the basis of guaranteed rooms available as entered by the hotel itself.

    My partner and I happily set on our way to Napier and spent some time shopping in town awaiting the 2pm check in time, quite excited about a romantic night away in a top floor executive spa suite. at 1:50pm my cellphone starts ringing and it is the receptionist telling me 'sorry we do not have any rooms available on the sea front and only ground floor city facing rooms'

    Needless to say this was not what we wanted and I asked how they had taken a guaranteed booking without rooms? the reply was 'Oh we don't control those bookings and its your fault for booking online'! Hardly the most hospitable response.

    I asked them to arrange then for my money to be refunded that I had already paid them so I could go elsewhere and was told 'No, that's your problem to sort out its no our fault' At this point I mentioned that as someone who offered rooms on myself I knew for a fact it was their fault at which point suddenly the story changed to 'Oh well the managers not here so you'll just have to wait till 3pm for her' as we don't accept same day bookings' .

    Napier being on a hot weekend was booking up fast and I was not prepared to wait this long to get my money back and book elsewhere so I went to the hotel. The woman on reception can only be described as a 'dragon lady' , she was incredibly rude and kept telling me it was not her fault and she wouldn't help me till the manager arrived.

    I asked her if she could call the manager to which her reply was 'no, I have just called her before you got here so I won't call her again'. I left the motel disgusted with her service and took it upon myself to find another room pay another amount and sort it out from there. Fortunately (After calling the motel and getting the same rude response) was very helpful and refunded all my money.

    All in all I can not Believe that this place is still running which such rude staff. Certainly if any of the staff at my establishment were to act this way to a guest they would be facing serious disciplinary action. I certainly hope that people will look at the various other options along the Napier waterfront before booking rooms here!
    • Date of stay November 2009
    • Visit was for Leisure
    • Traveled with With Spouse/Partner
    • Age group 25_3
    • Would you recommend this hotel to a friend? No"

    Tuesday, December 1, 2009

    Ever have one of those days...?

    Is Lisa Lewis our next business woman of the year?

    We see that Lisa Lewis has been nominated by popular blogger, Cactus Kate for the 2010 Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award. There is even a Facebook Group to showcase public support for the nomination.

    Lisa Lewis has had a high profile career as a streaker, naked newsreader, model, columnist and a stripper Currently the plucky, hardworking entrepreneur works as a $1,200 an hour prostitute and is vying to appear in Penthouse.

    Recently we did a post about the wife of a "high profile sportsman" that wanted Lewis to refund the $3,000 that her hapless husband paid her for interludes in a Hamilton motel. So why did the wife with 6-children go into bat for her husband? Well, apparently the husband claimed that the liaisons in a Hamltion motor inn did not have a "happy ending."

    So what is the criteria for the 2010 Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award?

    The applicant has to demonstrate:
    • Corporate responsibility
    • Entrepreneurial drive and the ability to meet and overcome challenges to achieve success
    • Leadership skills and the ability to motivate and inspire others
    • A healthy balance sheet.
    Lisa Lewis ticks all boxes and in her own chosen field of self-promotion and as a sex industry worker, so her niche expertise is probably deserving of recognition. 

    Is this bold nomination taking the p*ss? Yeah, maybe, however the nomination of Lewis has got people thinking and will be used as a benchmark for all other nominees. It will be interesting to see how other mainstream business woman nominees will compete toe-to-toe with the success of Lewis. 

    Hey, anyone that successfully uses free market forces AND regularly uses motels has got our vote!

    Click the "Get Widget" link below to place this widget on your website or blog!