Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Motels Hit The Mark This Summer

I have been watching, New Zealand Apartments since they launched their marketing group five years ago. They have grown to about 50 apartments.

I was interested when New Zealand Luxury Motels was formed by the same marketing company and launched in May 2008 with over 20 motel properties. The motel properties were selected to fill in the gaps where there were no apartments and were based on the higher end motels that were equivalent to 4.5 and 5 Qualmark star ratings.

Those that are not Qualmark rated have been self assessed by the group and have granted themselves equivalent star rating status on their website.

Anton and Jules Wilke head the two accommodation groups after being involved in commercial tourism marketing for 14 years.

Anton and Jules market their apartment and motel product to international travel agents at events such as TRENZ and sales missions to UK, Europe, US and Australia. The main marketing focus is on travel wholesalers offshore and inbound tour operators.

What I like about the group is that there does not appear to be any gimmicks such as tariff specials, customer loyalty points, free nights, free breakfasts or other inclusions. The offer is clean and simple. The focus is on consistent quality. Many frequent travelers have been burnt by inconsistent quality levels and this grouping of accommodation appears to appease those that are seeking a consistent quality accommodation experience. I really hope that this will work for them.

The website is also clean and simple with a booking engine that displays tariff and availability for member properties. A quick scan would suggest that less than half offer instant on-line reservations with the remainder choosing to offer rooms on-request.

The wholesale accommodation business is a hard market that the motel product has traditionally struggled in. Ideally, properties that are serious about participating the in wholesale market should be setting their published tariff at a level to sustain a 20-30% commission.

In the wholesale business, management costs and marketing are always much higher than operating in the domestic market. To add to insult, the accommodation provider needs to carry the cost of credit and is always the last to be paid. To depend on this market takes a lot of dedication, hard work and time...

Motels that joined New Zealand Luxury Motels six months ago should not hope for a quick fix, however many will be already assessing their ROI to date as they head into uncertain times.

Time will tell if New Zealand Luxury Motels can give continued value to their members and survive dependent on the volatile wholesale market. I hope they can.

21 January 2009

The New Zealand Luxury Motel collection is already proving to be a success with customers, even though it has been only six months since the 20 strong accommodation collection was launched.

In developing what they believe to be New Zealand premier motel collection, directors Anton and Jules Wilke selected only high quality, modern motels.

The majority of motels in the collection hold Qualmark® 4.5 or 5 star ratings. Of the few that don't hold a Qualmark, an internal New Zealand Luxury Motels grading has been applied. "We've visited all motels and certainly they are at least of the quality of the 4.5 to 5 star Qualmark properties, if not better", advised Anton.

New Zealand Luxury Motels cater for the traveller who is not wanting to compromise on quality and is seeking limited self-catering facilities. "Typically our customers staying in the luxury motel range are couples and they find the kitchenette style amenities suitable for their needs", says Anton.

International Marketing The creation of the New Zealand Luxury Motel collection emerged from the experiences the Wilkes gained as they developed their New Zealand Apartments collection over the last five years. "As we grew New Zealand Apartments we could see these quality motels being built around New Zealand but they weren't necessarily being well marketed to the international traveller", comments Anton.

Anton drives the marketing and sales activities which are aimed primarily at the international travel wholesaler.

"We launched New Zealand Luxury Motels at TRENZ in May 2008 and this allowed enough time for inclusion in agents brochures for this current summer season", he adds. Subsequent sales activities and training overseas helped to cement the collection with the travel trade.

New Sector: New Locations Anton identifies the emergence of a new sector in the motel product offering; that of well built, self-catering accommodation with high quality amenities and services.

The expanded geographic range also has the bonus of being able to provide quality accommodation in locations where no New Zealand Apartments were situated.

The New Zealand Luxury Motel collection opens up new geographical locations in destinations such as Whangarei, Hamilton, Wanganui, Blenheim, Hanmer Springs, Hokitika, and Te Anau. This has resonated well, especially with the European markets, advises Anton. Europeans often stay longer, are self-driving and highly independent. The style of the motels, and their locations in secondary or tertiary destinations, suit this type of traveller.

Together, both the motels and apartments collections offer a total of 70 accommodation choices in 35 locations nationwide. "We can offer a comprehensive, nationwide network of quality properties, both apartments and motels. Our customers really appreciate the convenience of being able to access the number of properties through our central reservations office", says Anton.

"Given the tough global economic conditions, especially in some of our key source markets, we're pleased with New Zealand Luxury Motel bookings over the summer", concludes Anton.

Source: Click HERE

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