Monday, August 31, 2009

Motel online sales

For some motel operators, selling inventory online goes against the personalised and controlled approach that they have used so effectively before. There is a nervousness of overexposing themselves to the world (including their competitors!) and opening up the risk to the much feared double booking scenario.

Yield management in the accommodation industry involves identifying market segments, manipulating tariff, room types available, minimum stays and packaging inclusions etc. There is still a mentality in the motel industry for tariffs to be set in stone for 12-months in advance and maintained regardless of demand. The one size fits all, first-in-first-served price setting process makes it easy for the operator but does little to maximise yield.

The popularity and success of selling online inventory is slowly changing the way motels set tariff, package rooms and manage yield. But is this happening fast enough? Hotels have always been the market leader in the art of selling rooms on-line and have heavily invested in distribution channel marketing and yield management. In our opinion, motels are moving forward but are still woefully behind the hotel sector in this area.

In recent years there has been a steady lift in room nights sold on-line and hotels seem to be benefiting more from this consumer shift in the buying process than motels. We believe that this is one major reason why motels have lost their once dominant position in the market place and now lag behind the hotel sector in the race for the most room nights sold.

There seems to be difficulty in the motel sector in understanding and maximising the relationship with the property's PMS (Property Management System), channel management and individual on-line resellers. There is however an armory of cost effective solutions now available.

The recent issue of Tourism Business Magazine has an excellent article by Steve Davies from Accommodate Me that outlines the online booking systems and channel management available for New Zealand operators.

Michelle Ackers of ADEPT Marketing has summarised the following key points from the print article and has added links to the major suppliers:

Key Popular Systems

What you choose to enable online bookings in your website and receive bookings from other online sales channels will depend on your business products, size and strategy – for the use of a system do you prefer paying set regular amounts or nothing upfront with a commission on success model?

Research the differences, the costs and what works best for your business. In addition to the below considerations and others mentioned in the full article, I suggest you also look at how easy the booking system is to use for your guests – can they easily view your availability and then book and pay for it without too many clicks or forms to fill in? It’s ease of use will be a large factor determining it’s success in your website.

Here are some options:

AA Travel – Only available for those who advertise online with AA Travel. Free to set up as an advertiser – 1.75 to 3.75% for bookings. Sales channel also include AA Centre retail network. AA advertising costs range between $299 and $9000+ per year.

Availability – Uses ResBook online inventory management system popular with B&B’s and Lodges. Can integrate with resellers sites but leaves it up to the tourism operator to negotiate terms and commissions. Starts at $480 per year and no commissions.

Bookit – One of the few to offer a solution for accommodation, activities, tours and car rentals. Growing number of sales channels including key sites such as NZ Tourism Guide, Yellow Maps and some Regional Tourism Organisations. Free to use system, 6% fees for bookings in own website plus commission from sales channel bookings.

Jasons/Holiday Guide – Using the Holiday Guide System it is commission free with monthly charges starting at $10 per month. Can be used in your own website, and if a paid advertiser on the Jasons website.

Seekom – Their IBEX system is for accommodation, activities/tours and car rentals with comprehensive options for selling via wholesalers and retailers. Also offers effective sales channel management for online availability and pricing updates. Connects to popular property management system (PMS) Callista with more to come. Pricing from $39 per month.

SiteMinder – Australian based but offering effective channel management for a wide range of NZ, Australian and international online sales channels, plus have more recently added “The Booking Button” for online bookings in your own website. Channel management starts from $44 per month with additional per month for the Booking Button. No commissions. (Sales Channels will still charge their commissions however).

Tourism Exchange – Air NZ owned, the newest system on the market offering integration with your property management system or use of their Eviivo Frontdesk to manage all your bookings. Provides online bookings on your own website and from their sales channels including Air NZ (online, retail and wholesale channels) with many more promised to come. Monthly charges from $0 to $79 depending on room numbers, 6% fee plus cc charges for your website bookings, plus commissions for sales channels bookings that you opt in to.

Vianet – Now Trade Me owned offers a booking tool for your own website and comprehensive network of sales channels including Travelbug, tourism websites and several Regional Tourism Organisations. Free to use the system, 3% fee for bookings from your own website plus commissions from sales channels you opt in to.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Motella Panoramic Slideshow Widget

We have noted that the "Motella Panoramic Slideshow Widget" (as pictured below) has been appearing on various online motel and travel industry sites.

Why not spice up your website or blog and increase traffic by adding this dynamic feature. The Motella Panoramic Slideshow Widget will make your website or blog update "every day" with fresh new content.

Make you
r online presence more engaging and enjoyable for your readers to return often and consume.

For instructions, simply: CLICK HERE

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Exhibitionist hotel guests go wild

The view from room 9.24 at The Standard Hotel New York

If your accommodation complex is situated on a busy thoroughfare and has guest rooms with street facing windows, we suggest that you give serious consideration to a marketing idea from The Standard NYC.

The recently opened Standard Hotel is located in the heart of the Meatpacking District, "elevated above the High Line. With 337 rooms on 18 floors, the Hotel offers outstanding panoramic views of the Hudson and NY City."

The hotel caused a bit of a stir by encouraging guests to send them their naughty snaps taken while staying at the hotel. By all accounts guests enthusiastically obliged and the resulting publicity was widely reported in the mainstream media and caused a buzz around social networks. It is unclear what the hotel did with the pics? Rest assured dear readers that "Motella" will be scouring the internet in search of any objectionable material as part of our investigative brief.

Now, the Standard has decided to up the anti and embark on a new bolder publicity campaign by encouraging guests to put their sexual selves on display making use of the impressive floor to ceiling windows in the guest rooms.

This latest push for publicity is vulgar, tacky.... and is probably why we like it so much.

28 August 209

I have to laugh about the headline I wrote last March about the ultra-hip, modern Standard Hotel in New York City's: "Can The Standard hotel set new standards for NYC?," Well, it turns out that the glass-paneled hotel really has set new standards, but not for what you'd think...

The hotel - one of André Balazs' three Standards - encouraged exhibitionist guests to go wild in front of their floor-to-ceiling glass room windows, according to a New York Post report from earlier this week. People have been seen dancing naked, toweling themselves off and more, attracting throngs of photo-snapping voyeurs below and tons of (free) media buzz.

The Post outed the exhibitionist behavior as a publicity stunt encouraged by the hotel earlier this week. The Post story quotes a bellhop who told them that when the hotel had opened, staffers had been encouraged to pose in front of the windows naked and semi-dressed.

"One of the managers even got naked in a room, and filmed it -- they were considering a live feed for the Web site," the staffer told the Post. "She's an exhibitionist, too."

The Standard's now-changed Facebook page also beckoned daring behavior: "We encourage you to exercise your inner exhibitionist. Please share your intimate, and explicit photos with us — those floor to ceiling windows aren't just for the views."

Source: Click HERE
Hat tip:

Thursday, August 27, 2009 setting the pace

Good news is rare in the travel industry at the moment, so it is pleasing that a major player is bucking the trend. This week, popular accommodation reseller Holdings Limited announced a record end of year financial result.

Although the travel industry is in recessionary mode, there are a few businesses that are taking advantage of the subtle changes in the market.

It would appear that the economic downturn has been good for Wotif!

Wotif have been extremely successful establishing themselves as a one-stop accommodation brand for consumers that are seeking "last-minute accommodation specials or great deals in advance". The rise of Wotif achieving a high brand recognition and business success with minimal investment in the mainstream media has been remarkable.

What are some of the current market trends that may have assisted Wotif?

Those consumers that have taken advantage of deep discounting occurring in the airline industry would have also been seeking comparable value in accommodation. Wotif with its increasing brand awareness is well poised to take advantage of this.

It is evident that baby boomers are cutting back the most in travel, however there is growth in the 18-34 market that is spending more on travel and would be more inclined to book on-line than any other demographic.

The buzzword in the travel industry at the moment is “staycation.” The concept of the public traveling shorter distances and staying for shorter lengths of time appears to be a growing trend. Online accommodation sites such as Wotif are being used for inspiration.

The nature of commoditising accommodation into an easy intuitive purchase has attracted consumers to the web. Wotif appeals to leisure consumers that are looking for value and are making increasingly last minute spontaneous travel arrangements.

There appears to be anecdotal evidence that business travellers are seeking accommodation online as they look to control their overall travel spend and compare value. Managing director and CEO, Robbie Cooke claims that Wotif has taken advantage of this trend and has experienced an increase in reservations from the corporate space.

26 August 2009
NZ Press Release: Holdings Limited today announced a 26% surge in after tax profits, delivering a record $43.5 million result. This performance was fuelled by a 29% increase in room nights sold, as consumers migrated to the Wotif Group's online channels seeking the value, convenience and simplicity offered online.

The Wotif Group achieved record sales in the year for its New Zealand accommodation partners, delivering a 22% increase in room nights sold.

FY2009 Highlights

Net Profit After Tax up 26% to $43.5 million

6.33 million room nights sold, up from 4.91 million last year

523,000 room nights sold for New Zealand accommodation partners (up 22% on last year)

More than 1,550 New Zealand accommodation suppliers partnering directly with the Wotif Group

Launch of 3 month booking window (previously 28 days) on brand recognition in Australia at 50% and New Zealand awareness jumped to 30% (up from 25% last year)

14,500+ hotels and accommodation venues working directly with the Group in 49 countries

Flights booking platform enhanced for FY2010 re-launch

Successful integration and positive full-year contribution from Limited and Asia

Web Direct (HK) Limited acquisitions

11 cent final dividend (fully franked), taking full year payment to 17.5 cents (up from 15 cents last year)

Celebrate Oil Day!

While the politically correct grandstand insidious causes such as Earth Day, at Motella we like to give credit where credit is due and inject a bit of reality.

The accommodation and tourism industries run on oil. The economic viability of our business relies on the unrestricted delivery of this product and the freedoms of those that use its vital energy source for transportation.

Today we will celebrate the unrestrained joy of travel, to move between borders without impediment or environmental guilt, to sample and interact with different cultures and celebrate the achievements of humankind.

Today we will be celebrating the achievements of the petrochemical industry that has helped raise living standards to the levels we enjoy today.

This afternoon I will be spending some reflective spiritual time as I take the 1.5kms drive to the bank with the widows down listening to the burble of a V8 combustion engine.

Submitted by Ayn Rand Center
27 August 2008

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 26, 2009--Tomorrow, August 27, marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of the oil industry in the United States.

According to Alex Epstein, an analyst with the Ayn Rand Center, “Nearly every item in your life would either not exist or be far more expensive without oil; there is simply no comparable source of practical, portable energy.

“Yet today people increasingly label oil a pollutant that damages rather than enhances our lives and, even worse, an addiction--likening our consumption of oil to a junkie’s self-destructive heroin habit. This is profoundly ignorant, not to mention unfair to the petroleum industry that tirelessly innovates, year after year, to find more oil and extract it more efficiently.

“In previous generations, the birth of the oil industry was celebrated, and deservedly so. Oil has sustained and enhanced billions of lives for more than 150 years by providing superior, affordable, ultra-convenient energy--and is as vital today as ever.

“Today, though, we should be celebrating petroleum and the industry, past and present, that uses it to work miracles in our lives.”

Source: Click HERE

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Motel Rates Demand

We appreciate hearing from fellow moteliers. We enjoy the increasing frequency of contact via Skype, email and phone.

Local councils seem to be a recurring theme at the moment.

One chap from the Far North that contacted us recently is not happy with a disproportionate rates burden falling on his lap and sent the following email to us:

"Here in Paihia in the far north our general rates have gone up between not much and more than 100% depending on who you talk to. The general rates have gone up 3.9% this year, but the main culprit is the dreaded toilet pan tax. This has gone up in the last year or two from $244.00 per pan per year to a whopping $430.00 per pan per year, which really is taking the piss (sorry...). I was just wondering what was happening re. rates rises/robbing councils in the rest of the country."
We should be outraged that local councils have managed to increase rates by more than twice the rate of inflation last year. The trouble is that we are not. We are too complacent and have allowed local authorities to blossom well beyond their original brief .

Let's face it, water reticulation, waste water, footpaths and roading are boring.
It doesn't help that those that are attracted to serve on local councils are excruciatingly boring as well. Cardigan wearing ex-school teachers, career administrators and socialist do-gooders that end up on local councils have little understanding of running a business.

Most of us "producers" are too busy working in our own businesses and ignore what councils are up to - until we receive the rates bill!

Over the years, motels throughout the country have endured general rate increases and the introduction of pan tax, capital rating, tourism tax, road user tax, CBD retail tax....the list goes on. Motels have been disproportionately targeted, seemingly based on a perceived ability to pay rather than actual use of goods and services.

The motel industry have a vested interest in the efficiencies of local government and needs to have a voice.

What should the motel industry be saying?

An underlying message that should be communicated to all councils is that a strong private business sector will underpin and sustain the general welfare of communities. In order to achieve this, councils should focus on minimising rates and regulatory burden. Businesses are the wealth-creating institutions of society.

Councils should only fund genuine public goods and services and facilitate the efficient provision of necessary infrastructure.

Councils should exit from all non-core activities.

Councils should be making a concerted effort to reduce business/private household rate differentials. This would address the anomaly of accommodation businesses charged differing differentials and businesses subsidising private households. Rates should be based on actual use, not on the perceived ability to pay.

The case for councils subsidising events, tourism promotion, attractions, conference and sports facilities must be supported by rigorous economic analysis that clearly demonstrates net benefits for all ratepayers.

There should be a concerted effort by councils to move funding of ‘club’ goods, such as swimming pools, recreation centres, libraries, museums, zoos etc to user charges.

Hopefully the distraction of debating the issue of mandated Maori representation can now be put behind us and a debate on core council services and fairer rate distribution can commence. Local government minister Rodney Hide has stated that "councils need to to focus on core activities, cull any luxuries and cap rates at the rate of inflation – or less." We agree!

Our industry leaders should be at the forefront of working with Hide to ensure that he follows through with his

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Has Roamfree run out of GAS?

Australian online tourism services business, Roamfree once claimed to have developed one of the world's most extensive global accommodation search engine. They widely repeated their lofty ambition to become the "Google of the travel industry."

It seems that instead Roamfree have become the latest casualty of hard economic times in the travel industry.

Kiwi Moteliers may remember the agreement that Roamfree made with AA Tourism in New Zealand in 2007 to distribute online accommodation inventory.

This was followed by Roamfree commission reps hitting the road and trying to sign up accommodation providers in a confused uncoordinated campaign.

Those Kiwi accommodation providers that supplied inventory on Roamfree's GAS - Global Accommodation Search via the AA or direct with Roamfree soon found that the benefits of the distribution model were somewhat overstated.

Hints of trouble started in Australia by the widely reported financial problems of major shareholder and former face of Roamfree, Tony Smith who was facing multimillion-dollar losses from the MFS share collapse and sour property deals.

There was also a much publicised spat from up to 50 sacked employees that were sacked after a company reshuffle in April last year.
Mainstream media reported of Roomfree's ex-employees that were using on-line feedback sites with claims that were finding it tough to grow as fast as it had hoped in the internet travel industry and were missing sales targets.

I guess they were right.

By Shannon Willoughby

ONLINE travel booking company Roamfree is the latest local company to be stung by high debt levels and a downturn in consumer spending.

The Surfers Paradise company moved into voluntary administration late yesterday after it failed to reach a debt-servicing agreement with its noteholders.

A decline in travel spending also fuelled the company's administration.

Ferrier Hodgson's Tim Michael and Will Colwell have been appointed to take control of the company.

The group's subsidiary trading companies, BookEasy Pty Ltd, Roamfree Pacific and majority-owned Tourism Technology, are not affected.

Roamfree was the brainchild of tourism entrepreneur Tony Smith who sold out after losing more than $50thmillion following the collapse of MFS.

Mark Frawley, the former general manager of Mr Smith's BreakFree company, was appointed the new boss.
Other directors include Terry O'Dwyer and Lee Warren.

The company said despite the appointment of the corporate doctors, its 25 employees' jobs remained safe.

"From my initial review of the company's affairs, it appears that funding provided by noteholders and investors has been exhausted by business investments and acquisitions and the costs of developing its online offering," said Mr Michael.

"The current economic climate, resulting in reduced travel and accommodation bookings, has also negatively affected the performance of the group.

"My initial focus will be to maximise the recoverable value of the company's investments in and loans to the group's subsidiary companies."

It is unknown what the company's debt is.

A creditors' meeting will be held Thursday September 3.

Source: Click HERE

Hotel offers room and tattoo package

In these hard recessionary times we live in, innovate ideas are needed to keep ahead of the pack.

We like The Hotel Erwin's promotion that has a definite point of difference!

24 August 2008

GUESTS at a US hotel can be left with a permanent reminder of their stay with the hotel's new room and tattoo package.

The Hotel Erwin in Venice Beach is offering guests a $119 voucher to get inked by the hotel's in-house tattoo and graffiti artist, Norm.

Costing $476, the "Ink and Stay" package includes a room, moisturising lotion, an icepack for healing and a bottle of tequila to numb the pain.

For those that can't decide what to have, the hotel is offering a $596 bonus to anyone who has "I Heart Hotel Erwin" etched into their skin.

Others can take ideas from Norm's artwork, which can be found all around the funky Los Angeles hotel.

Temporary tattoos will also be available for those looking for something less painful and permanent.

The offer runs until December 30, 2009.

Source: Click HERE

Monday, August 24, 2009 record-breaking sale

Two months after the " 5-Day Sale" launched the "7-day Ridiculous Rates Sale" that that is ran from 17 - 23 August. The delivery of the campaigns were subtly different, however both only promoted accommodation providers that offered deals at least 50% off their rack rate.

How successful were the campaigns?

I have heard no mention of how the first campaign supported by went, however the second campaign that was supported by ads on major Australian radio stations appears to have feared much better. do not usually use paid mainstream media support their promotions, so it will be interesting to see if this investment gave an acceptable return and if it will be used again.

The latest campaign has clearly achieved short term success, with announcing that they have sold more rooms in one day during the campaign than ever before. We suspect that there would have only been a modest drop in the average tariff that would have impacted on the commission revenue, however this would have been balanced somewhat by their rise in the number of customer booking fee opportunities.

We wonder if the high level of heavily discounted rooms sold during the last 7-days will have a detrimental impact on the level of sales directly after the promotion period? were not the only accommodation reseller knocking down rooms at basement prices recently with Best Western having their own sale from 13 August 2009.

The Best Western 3-day sale offered 40% off in the Asia-Pacific region with more than 70 participating properties.

It is worrying trend that groupings of accommodation providers are defaulting to sending tariff through the floor in order to stimulate short term demand.

Motivating travel is not easy, however there is still room for innovative marketing that appeals to the basic human emotion and desire of consumers for an experience outside their usual location. A great campaign taps into a range of emotions that will drive decisions of consumers.

It is concerning that travel has been dumbed down to the lowest common denominator by promoting a one dimensional bargain basement commodity.

22 August 2009
Press Release: announces record-breaking global sale results despite financial crisis

Online accommodation provider has seen a record number of consumers taking advantage of their first ever global sale which launched on Monday.

The 7-Day Ridiculous Rates Global Sale, with over 1000 properties slashing rates by up to 70 per cent, has set a new benchmark for the most rooms sold in one day.

Megan Magill, General Manager Brand for said the brand has broken two records in two days with Call Centre and IT teams working around the clock to deal with the influx of bookings.

“It’s reassuring to see that despite the economic downturn, consumer confidence is on the rise with people rewarding themselves when great deals like this come along,” Ms Magill said.

“Some of the biggest hotels in the world are taking part in our sale so it’s a great opportunity for people to snap up a bargain all over the globe.”

Five star properties are offering huge savings with deals available from $105 for a five star hotel in Sydney including breakfast or wine and cheese platters.

The sale is due to finish on the 23rd August at midnight and offers huge discounts at selected hotels around the world.

Go to to book before this Sunday.

Source: Click HERE

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Friday, August 21, 2009

Men are from Mars, women are from somewhere even crazier

The big news this week was the announcement to streamline trans-Tasman travel. Any removal of barriers that impede travel has to be a good thing. But don't hold your breath ....any changes will be at least 2-years away.

There are few other serious topics that we can post about ... but frankly we can't be arsed, so we thought we would indulge ourselves and drill down to the essence of motelling. What is it that differentiates one motel from the other? and what is the cornerstone to a long lived and successful motel business?

The answer is simple. It is the relationship between the stakeholders - the husband and wife.

In order for a business to thrive all must be well in the dynamics of the relationship. It is all about give and take. And each partner understanding the subtle differences between a man and a woman.

So what are those subtle differences we hear you ask?

The following video will assist in our quest for deeper understanding of these matters:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Who's looking at your motel?

Chances are that you have prospective guests peering from the curbside at your motel right now. They have the ability to check out your surrounding neighborhood, nearby restaurants, shops and local attractions with 360 degree street-level views.

Google Street View started 2-years ago when Google sent out an army of hybrid electric vehicles, each with nine cameras (as pictured above) fixed on a single pole. Armed with a GPS and three laser range scanners, this fleet of cars began an endless quest to photograph every highway and byway in the free world to update Google's mapping imagery.

Along the way, Google captured some amazing images from a snapshot in time. Check out some of these images HERE.

Major online travel company has taken the view that guests will feel more comfortable booking online if they can interactively view the accommodation providers' premises and have recently integrated Google Street View into its mapping functionality.

Is there an opportunity to encourage prospective guests to get interactive from your own corporate website to take a cyber test-drive past your place?

From a guest perspective, how does your motel property look on Google Street View? Were you looking your best when Google drove past your place?

Beware Of Fat Finger Rates

In our post HERE we mentioned a four-star hotel near Venice mistakenly offering rooms for 1 euro cent due to uploading incorrect online rates.

This story has captured people's imagination by appealing to the basic human condition of wanting something for nothing and has gone viral.

Apparently accommodation providers uploading incorrect tariff onto online accommodation reseller sites has become so commonplace that this now has its own industry catchphrase. We note that some hotel industry commentators are referring to this phenomenon as "Fat Finger Rates".

As an admirer of industry jargon we will be attempting to use the phrase "Fat Finger Rates" as many times as we can over the next week...

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Don't get mad - get even!

The Motella-Man-Of-The-Month goes to.....
IRD drove me to this

Robot sex to tempt future tourists?

A couple of newspaper articles interested me today. The first was the announcement that the Government will pour $2 million over three years on research to keep up with changes in the tourism industry.

The research will be carried out by three New Zealand universities and will investigate scenario planning, climate change and factors around air travel.

Research, Science and Technology Minister Wayne Mapp set the parameters of the research by making a statement that "tourists today were more concerned with climate change and their carbon footprint. They want to know that New Zealand is meeting its 100% Pure image."

We have no doubt that Mr Mapp's unfounded ideological words will be embedded somewhere in the final conclusions of the numerous reports that will be produced.

The second article that caught my eye was on the future tourism predictions by a tourism futurologist from Victoria University.

A revelation that has gone viral on overseas news services was the prediction that tourists will be soon using the services robot prostitutes.

I guess we should not be surprised. We have been told that our future tourists will be increasingly wringing their hands with the guilt of climate change and the size of their carbon footprint, so a natural conclusion is that they will be consoling themselves by indulging in a bit of robot-sex.

We wonder how much money we spent on that bit of research... ?
18 August 2009

It sounds like science fiction, but robot bar staff, hotel rooms that change colour, cruise ships as big as aircraft carriers and even robot sex are part of the future for travellers, a tourism conference has been told.

Tourism futurologist Ian Yeoman, from Victoria University, gave a preview of what the world could be like in 2050, shaped by global warming, an older population, food, water and jet fuel supply problems and technological advances.

Dr Yeoman said the future may see a more controlled society with a return to mass tourism spawning a range of new indoor tourism products.

Indoor artificial ski centres, circuses, zoos, golf courses and recreated landscapes, as well as giant cruise ships, could be among the new attractions. As costs for basics such as electricity and food increased, tourism operators could turn to robots as cheap labour.
Robot waiters at bars, remote-controlled camera-carrying guard dogs in hotel lobbies and self-cleaning hotel rooms were all likely.

"Robotics will become important, because you're going to have labour shortages in the future," he said. "You'll have some sort of interaction in terms of robots doing certain types of mundane activities."

Even robot "prostitutes" that would not pass on diseases such as HIV could make an appearance, he said.
"But you're talking about extreme futures."

Dr Yeoman said technology would also revolutionise hotel bedrooms, with beds that sensed a guest's comfort needs and chemical wallpaper that could change colour to suit a guest's mood.

Source: Click HERE

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Guest Room of the future

A visit to a guest room of the future.

We especially like the modern version of the Magic Fingers vibrating bed and wonder where the inconspicuous coin slot is located?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Calling all Kiwi Faulty Towers Operators

We enjoy watching television episodes of The Hotel Inspector where the hard-nosed host, Ruth Watson; a potty mouthed, hoity toity busybody uncovers tacky and grotty hotel experiences.

Watson, with the authority of a school mistress, hectors and shames hapless Pommy accommodation owners into rethinking their hospitality lifestyles.

It would appear that New Zealand production company Cream Media that have brought us "quality reality style television" such as Money Man, 10 Years Younger and Border Patrol will soon be bringing us the Kiwi version of The Hotel Inspector for release in 2010.

The format will be the same as the English version that requires:

1) An accommodation business that is failing
2) Unusually quirky and difficult owners and
3) A straight-talking, self-professed expert hotelier that harasses and hectors the owners until they realise the error of their ways.

A Qualmark NZ inspector will be used in the programme to give the final grading after the host has subdued the operators and magically transforms the struggling accommodation business.

Interestingly, Qualmark have sent an email to all accommodation license holders seeking expressions of interest from operators who want to become involved in the TV series.

Qualmark has commented:
"This is an opportunity to showcase quality processes and best practice techniques on prime time TV, which is such a powerful medium."
Yeah right! If the show is true to form, the appeal of the show is the toxic relationship between the host and the eccentric accommodation providers.

We think Qualmark's involvement in the programme is a bold initiative. We will be interested to see how Kiwi culture is translated into this successful English entertainment format.

Frankly, we can't wait!

So this begs the question - who is going to be New Zealand's version of Ruth Watson? We will require a well built, authoritative woman that looks good in brightly colored blazers and tends to say f*ck a lot.

Does this sound like anyone we know?

Hotel offers 1-cent weekend by accident

We were somewhat amused with the following story where a simple error had serious repercussions.

Uploading the incorrect rate when updating various accommodation reseller websites can easily happen with the constant distractions of this industry.

As a safety measure, some reseller sites have minimum rates that can be loaded in the background to avoid the situation of a ridiculously low rate loaded in error.
Others don't.

I guess this is a valuable lesson for accommodation providers to get it right the first time.

The rate loaded on a bookable website is an offer and if this is accepted by a guest with consideration (ie:payment) it's a done deal!

17 August 2009

You had to be quick, but what a deal.

A four-star hotel near Venice mistakenly offered the ultimate low-cost vacation - a romantic weekend in the Italian lagoon city for 1 euro cent.

Not surprisingly, the Crowne Plaza in Quarto D'Altino, 15.5 miles (25 kilometers) from Venice, received bookings for the equivalent of 1,400 room nights on the night the rate was posted on its website, the hotel chain acknowledged. And it seems those bookings may be valid.

The hotel first thought the offer was posted by a hacker, sales manager Fulvio Danesin said Friday. But it turned out to be human error at the Atlanta, Georgia, offices of Intercontinental Hotels Group, the hotel's mother company, he said.

The offer was supposed to be for a two-night stay at half price. A night at the 151-room hotel normally costs between 90 euros (NZ$186) and euro150 euros.

The 1-cent rate was up only Sunday night, but that was long enough for travelers to book dates running from October through 2010, Danesin said. The hotel stands to lose 90,000 euros (NZ$188,000), he said.

Monica Smith, media relations manager for the hotel group in the US , said Friday that some 228 guests made reservations for the equivalent of 1,400 room nights while the error was on the website and that the reservations would be honored.

"Although a pricing error, IHG is committed to honoring the 1-cent rate for guests who have a valid confirmation," Smith said. She added that rooms booked at the low rate "are nontransferable.'

Source: Click HERE
Hat Tip: Twitter:

eTourism Conference

Hmmm...I have been contemplating attending the eTourism Conference in Wellington 1 - 2 October.

The programme looks very interesting with some excellent quality speakers and content. See full details HERE.

Might just see you there...?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Deja Vu for Promotion

One of the more passionate responses that we have received from accommodation providers was in reaction to our post on the 5-Day Sale. The promotion was run in June 2009 and was directed at the Australian market. The rate based promotion was restricted to accommodation deals at least 50% off their rack rate.

We tried to take a positive spin and commented:
"Due to their higher rack rate, hotels should be able to easily accommodate a 50% reduction into their existing tariff structure. Motels that traditionally offer lower tariff with a narrower band between their rack and sell rates may find a 50% reduction more challenging.

It can be argued that a promotion that is purely based on rate reduction is merely appealing to the lowest common denominator. What we like about the initiative is that it is a proactive "industry response." We hope that this will be prove to be successful and that operators will be supportive." are about to embark on a campaign that has been aptly branded "7-day Ridiculous Rates Sale" that will run from 17 - 22 August. Much like their campaign 2-months earlier, will be again promoting accommodation providers that offer deals at least 50% off their rack rate.

Whilst we may have been (naively) supportive of the first "one-off" campaign we are somewhat more cautious about's second attempt at a promotion purely based on slashing tariff. It could be argued that successive promotions can assist normalising expectations of 50% discounts in the accommodation industry.

Shouldn't we consider adding value before sending tariff through the floor? will be prominently promoting the "7-day Ridiculous Rates Sale" on their website, farming their vast database of clients and interestingly running supporting radio advertising on major Australian radio stations.

There is no mention if there will be
supporting promotional links from like the last campaign.

Should motels add service fees to credit cards?

We were interested to see that Visa has settled out of court with the Commerce Commission that alleged the credit card company had been price fixing the fee paid by merchants on transactions.

Visa has a agreed to pay $2.6 million towards the Commerce Commission's costs in taking action and allow banks to individually set the fee charged to merchants.

From April 17 next year, Visa has also agreed to allow merchants to add the transaction fee to the cost of a purchase. This is an important concession. Effectively this action will open the floodgates for merchants to add transaction fees for all credit card purchases.

Under current merchant agreements, retailers are not allowed to recover merchant service fees from cardholders, although unofficially, many flout this restriction by offering a cheaper price for non-credit-card purchases.

In theory, the cost of merchant service fees are currently built in the the price of all goods and services so therefore all consumers are paying the cost of credit card use regardless of the payment method they choose. Once retailers are able to charge consumers for using a credit card, they will be able to identify and recover costs directly from cardholders. Differential pricing of the "cash" price and the credit price could also be more openly advertised.

Hey, we live on a user-pays society so shouldn't those using a service expect to pay its full cost? Cue Tui add - yeah right!

So, to answer the title of this post: "Should motels add service fees for credit cards?" We say NO!

Theory is all very well, however we believe that the temptation of charging merchant service fees should be resisted by the accommodation industry. Such additional charges are tacky, serve only to confuse and frankly p*ss the consumer off.

In our opinion, the accommodation offer should be priced unambiguously with an all-inclusive tariff.

Any industry debate about the need to recover costs by adding any additional fees should be quickly rebuffed by our industry leaders and directed into a debate about the economic need to increase existing tariff.

Friday, August 14, 2009

AA Tourism Expands to Oz

AA Tourism GM, Pete Blackwell ponders increased trans-Tasman travel

At Motella, we have been aware for some time that AA Tourism have been in discussions with their Australian cousins with the view to join forces.

It was finally announced yesterday that the New Zealand Automobile Association and Australian Automobile Clubs are to combine their tourism publishing and media businesses.

The partnership will be based in Auckland and AA Tourism's current charismatic head, Pete Blackwell will be appointed Chief Executive.

From a New Zealand prospective we can be proud that AA Tourism has been able to achieve a position of strength by the efficiencies and innovation of its New Zealand operations. Overall we can see that this partnership will be beneficial to AA's numerous tourism clients that will now be able to be hotwired into the Australian market.

It will not be plain sailing combining and managing the two operations. Many New Zealand businesses have tried and failed to grasp the culture of doing business trans-Tasman. There will be snags along the way.

From a parochial, self-interest point of view, we wish AA all the best. We are excited by the new economies of scale and the marketing opportunities that can now be made available to Kiwi tourism businesses.

Pete Blackwell announces the NZ & Oz partnership:
"Like you, I am sure I have been planning for the past few months with a sense of uncertainty, but with a belief that we have a robust industry and that there are great opportunities available for businesses that are brave and have the strategy and skills to take advantage of them.

Today I want to share with you a major change in our business, a change brought on by my desire to make our business stronger and by the need to deliver more business to you, our customers.

Today I have announced to my team, and now you, that the New Zealand Automobile Association and Australian Automobile Clubs are to combine their respective tourism marketing, web and guides operations, forming the South Pacific region's leading tourism publishing and media business. This is a complete business partnership, integrating staff, systems, marketing and distribution. The new business will be New Zealand-based and involves no job losses here at AA Tourism.

So what does it mean for you and why should you care?

Firstly, AA Tourism as you know it remains, and all the people you deal with will still be here.

However, there are 6.5 million members of the autoclubs in Australia and that becomes an audience we can talk to, an audience who will now have our Hot Deals come through their inbox and for whom you can now reach and talk to through their own websites and publications.

We are still working on all the details and when we can we will share with you the individual opportunities you have to reach our biggest international market. The good news is we will be taking all the great content of New Zealand across the ditch and our 101 Must-Do's programme will be targeted to the Aussies.

There remains no doubt that domestic tourism is a priority for me, but I know that Australia is a priority for you. I look forward to bringing my passion and my energy to Australia and through our great product, incisive marketing and our focus on the customer, will push more business through your front door.

See you on the road!

Source: Click HERE

Strange items left behind in motel rooms

We have previously done a post HERE about some of the weird and wonderful things left behind in our motel rooms over the years.

We have found a shotgun hidden under a bed, a large sum of money,
assorted pornography, sex toys and even an enormous bag of marijuana. We even had a husband drive off and leave behind his wife. 

As a travel tip, if you happen to arrive at a motel and find that you forgot to bring your cell phone charger - don't worry. Your friendly "Motella" will have a vast collection to choose from, left behind by previous guests;-)
By staff writers
August 13 2009

FROM sheep to a man handcuffed to the bed, Australian hotels have revealed the strangest items left behind by forgetful guests.

Australian travel agencies Last, and asked various hotels around the country to spill the beans on the most bizarre objects people have forgotten, and the results are surprising.
A motorcycle, sheep, an adult Spiderman costume, a prosthetic leg, a cat, wedding dress, underwear and a deceased man were included in the selection.

Hotel staff have also been shocked by numerous occasions where guests have forgotten their sex toys.
“There is a surprising amount of sex toys left behind in hotel rooms, which makes it quite awkward for guests to reclaim their lost property,” Mia Carter, spokesperson for said.

However one of the standout examples came from a housekeeper who found a man hand-cuffed to the bed.
“A hotel manager told me housekeeping went to clean the room and found the man hand-cuffed to the bed – they'd apparently had an argument and his partner had checked out without him,” spokeswoman Alana Theodore said.

At another hotel, staff were far from thrilled when one forgetful visitor left their dentures behind, forcing them to dig through rubbish to find them.

“One guest left a full set of dentures in box of KFC. Hotel cleaning staff had to sift through industrial bins to find them after guests called to have them returned,” Ms Theodore said.

Meanwhile, the most commonly left behind items included mobile phone chargers, toothbrushes, underwear and belts.

However, 67 per cent of around 2000 hotel guests surveyed by said they have never forgotten anything.

Source: Click HERE

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Accommodation survey for not too Bad?

Statistics New Zealand have released the Accommodation Survey for June 2009.

Overall guest nights for June 2009 were down 5 percent compared to the same month last year.

International guest nights were down 8 percent and domestic guest nights were down 3 percent.

Total guest nights were down 3 percent in the year ended June 2009.

On a positive note I guess we can say that there are no surprises with the figures released, however we note that motels once again seem to be feeling the pain a little more than other accommodation types.

Guest nights for June 2009 in the North Island decreased by 6 percent compared with June 2008.

Guest nights for June 2009 in the South Island decreased by 2 percent compared with June 2008.

In June 2009, 8 of the 12 regions recorded fewer guest nights than in June 2008, with the following regions showing the largest decreases:
  • Auckland, down 39,000 (11 percent)
  • Bay of Plenty, down 19,000 (11 percent)
  • Canterbury, down 17,000 (6 percent).
Bucking the trend was Otago showing the largest increase up by 9 percent that has been attributed to positive guest nights in Queenstown.

In June 2009, all five accommodation types had fewer guest nights than in June 2008 with motels experiencing the largest decrease, down 28,000 (5 percent).

In June 2009, hotels had the largest share of total guest nights (39 percent), followed by motels
(34 percent), and backpackers/hostels (16 percent).

Excluding caravan parks/camping grounds, the occupancy rate in June 2009 was 35 percent, compared with 38 percent in June 2008. This is the lowest occupancy rate in any month since June 1998.

Hotels had the highest occupancy rate (41 percent) of all the accommodation types in June 2009, followed by motels (35 percent), and backpackers/hostels (31 percent).

How does this compare with trade near you?

Source: Click HERE

Nude drunk looses way in hotel

Good to see that the New Zealand's accommodation industry has made the "oddspot" newspaper columns overseas in a new twist of the perennial "locked out of the hotel room naked" story.

12 August 2009

An extremely drunk, naked man lost his way at a New Zealand hotel and ended up sleeping in the wrong room, forcing its female occupant to hide in the bathroom, local media reported.

The 29 year-old Australian man had gone back the hotel in the resort town of Queenstown with a woman, but got up in the night and wandered into a bedroom where a couple were sleeping.

"He was a bit surprised that there were two people in his room and he was butt naked," Sergeant Steve Watt of Queenstown police told the Southland Times.

As the intruder slept, the startled woman took refuge in the bathroom as her husband summoned hotel staff.
The man, who could not remember whom he had been with nor what room he had been in, and had no clothes or wallet.

Police gave him a ride home clad in a hotel bathrobe, but let him off after the guests and hotel decided not to press charges.

"It was far too funny," said Watt.

Source: Click HERE

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Motella Widget Has Arrived

At the "Motella" labs, we have been hard at work with the development of a Motella widget.

What is a "widget" we hear you ask?'s a portable chunk of code that can be installed and executed within any separate HTML-based blog or web-page by an end user....

... or in this case, a cool slideshow that has revolving pictures and links to recent posts on the “Motella” Blog.

Bring your websites and blogs to life with constantly updated News, Views and Politics of New Zealand's Motel Industry.

To include the following widget on your website or blog, simply click HERE to copy the code.

New Zealand Luxury Motels

The New Zealand Luxury Motels accommodation marketing group was launched in May 2008. Although they have trumpeted three new members in their recent press release below, membership appears to have been largely static by only maintaining a little over 20 properties.

New Zealand Luxury Motels has higher end motels with the equivalent to 4.5 and 5 Qualmark star ratings to compliment apartments marketed by the New Zealand Apartments accommodation marketing group.

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

The apartment and motel product is marketed 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.

There appears to be a pragmatic approach to quality control. Most properties are Qualmark rated, however those that are not are internally self-assessed by the group and an equivalent star rating status is awarded.

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 with the focus on consistent quality. This grouping of accommodation appears to appease those that are seeking a consistent quality accommodation experience and are not price sensitive.

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. however, a quick scan would suggest that many properties only offer rooms on-request instead of instant reservations .

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 should not hope for a quick fix, however many will be already assessing their ROI after their first full year in the group as they continue to trade in a depressed economy.

Time will tell if New Zealand Luxury Motels can give long term value to their members and survive by dependence on the volatile wholesale market.

We hope they can.

New Zealand Luxury Motels has announced that three new motels have joined their New Zealand Luxury Motel collection, bringing the total number of motels to 22 nationwide.
The new motels are:
These three motels are welcomed additions to our collection. They are in locations where we've experienced demand but didn't have motels. Now we can offer travellers even greater choice and fulfill that need”, comments New Zealand Luxury Motel's Managing Director Anton Wilke.

With forward reservations in place for the summer of 2009-10 already out-stripping the total figures for last year, it was vital to grow the number of properties and rooms available to our clients and customers”, advises Anton.

It has been only 12 months since New Zealand Luxury Motels initially launched. Expansion in this difficult climate may be challenging for some, but not for this company as Anton explains. “We identified a gap for high quality motel accommodation and our market has responded very well. We're excited about the year ahead”.

New Zealand Luxury Motels is a collection of personally selected and inspected premier motels. Many are in locations that may be secondary or tertiary destinations for some visitors. “We find many of our customers booking luxury motels to be second or third time visitors to New Zealand, or New Zealanders who know some of the hidden delights in these locations”, comments Anton.

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.
All motels in the New Zealand Luxury Motels collection can be booked with just one contact to the central booking office.

Dunedin Palms Motel is centrally located near The Octagon, Southern Cross Hotel and Dunedin Casino. The motel opened in January 2009 and is well appointed with double-glazing, sound-proofing and quality heating to keep the chills of Dunedin weather at bay.

Aspen Court Motel is located in New Zealand's home of whale-watching – Kaikoura. Situated within the township each unit has a balcony or courtyard so guests can enjoy the stunning views of the Kaikoura mountains.

Admiralty Lodge is superbly located across the road from Buffalo Beach in Whitianga and only 10 minutes walk from the town centre. It is the only Qualmark® five-star self contained and serviced property in the Coromandel.

Source: Click HERE

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Motel Snobbery

One of the great aspects about running a motel is the interaction with the good types of people that tend to stay with you.

I read a survey many years ago that concluded that only a very small portion of New Zealand's population regally stay in commercial accommodation. I wish I could remember the percentage - it was very low. Something like 5%.

You can break down guests that stay in commercial accommodation into into unique groups, like commercial travelers, FIT, visiting friends and family etc, however there is one factor that they all have in common - 99.9% of them are good people.

Be it business or leisure, our guests all have a purpose, are positive, generally happy to stay with us and are motivated. We have to remind ourselves that we are dealing with a very small and unique part of the population. Those that don't stay regally in commercial accommodation tend to go camping, stay with the mother-in-law or remain on the couch.

... So, it was a shock the other week when I was called for jury service and found myself in a room of 100 randomly selected members of the public. Rubbing shoulders with a snapshot of society was a very grounding experience.

To be part of a group of a seething, tattooed, i-pod wearing, sunglasses on the forehead, giggling, gormless mass made me grateful that as an accommodation operator I only deal with a select group of the population...

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tourism Industry Monitor Gives Some Mixed Results

The Tourism Industry Monitor is an initiative by the Ministry of Tourism that monitors the performance of the tourism sector, including the outlook for the next three months.

The August edition has just been released and provides some interesting results.

The full survey can be viewed at

A summary of the results is as follows:

In the past 3 months (May-Jul) industry demand has fallen 3.0% (seasonally adjusted) while profitability has fallen 4.1%. This is an improvement in performance relative to Apr-Jun. In the next 3 months (Aug-Oct) industry demand is expected to fall by 1.1% (seasonally adjusted) and profitability is expected to fall 3.6%.

38% of respondents expect seasonally adjusted demand to improve in the next 3 months compared with 23% last month and 17% the month before. 42% of respondents expect seasonally adjusted demand to fall in the next 3 months compared with 50% last month and 60% the month before. This indicates a gradual increase in optimism in recent months.

The increase in optimism is being driven by two factors:
(1) the expectation of a strong ski season; and
(2) the natural drop off in international visitor arrivals during the winter months which allows the expected growth in the domestic and Australian markets to dominate.

The outlook for the next 3 months is relatively positive in the South Island due to the expectation of a strong ski season. There is less optimism in the North Island: the Lower North Island is expecting a drop in demand of 0-4%, the Central North Island is expecting a drop of 1-6%; and the Upper North Island is expecting a drop of 2-6%.

Air NZ unveils new Rotorua-Sydney flights

New Zealand cities seem to have a culture of paying for parochialism in the name of tourism promotion.

I found it interesting reading about Rotorua's announcement of gaining international status for its airport. Typical of the reporting for any subsidised "tourism" venture, there was gushing commentary on all the supposed downstream benefits.

What was missing was any analysis on how much taxpayers are paying for the regional kudos of setting up an international flight service, the effect on domestic services and the opportunity cost for competing airports.

At a time of the worst economic conditions experienced by the airline industry, Rotorua ratepayers not only will be saddled with initial capital costs, but substantial ongoing operating costs of maintaining an international airport. Future loses will be offset by cross subsidising from domestic traffic and targeted rates to businesses that are perceived to gain direct benefits.

Tauranga have plans to boost vistor numbers by further investment in its airport in an attempt to lure international flights. Napier and Hastings seem to be more advanced with their recent announcement to take a punt with ratepayers money by borrowing $9 million for a runway extension that no airline will use. Air New Zealand generates most of the traffic in Hawkes Bay and there is good reason for this - There is simply not not enough traffic to sustain a competitor. Jetstar and Pacific Blue do not appear to have any plans to service Hawkes Bay and the idea of international flights appears to be fascicle.

The "build it and they will come" vision of councils didn't work for Invercargill airport, that flushed vast amounts of public money on international facilities that are gathering dust.

Risking public money is sold as being visionary, however councils and governments should be relinquishing their ownership in airports to allow private stakeholders with business acumen that are able to make logical decisions based on actual market demand.

By our reckoning, it would be more cost effective for Rotorua ratepayers to purchase several limousines that would offer free personalised transport by delivering tourists from Auckland airport to their city... But that would be silly;-)

7 August 2009

Air NZ says it will soon start flying between Rotorua and Sydney.

The new service, using one of its 152-seat Airbus A320 plane, will start twice a week from December 19.

"Rotorua is an iconic tourism destination and well known amongst Australian travellers. We see the potential for good passenger numbers from Australia and the continued strength of inbound tourism from there has lent weight to our decision," said airline general manager for Tasman Pacific Glen Sowry.

"The new services will also make Rotorua significantly more accessible for visitors from Asia who often visit both Australia and New Zealand and whom we can now bring directly from Sydney to Rotorua instead of via Auckland.

"Through winter the new service also provides significant opportunities in attracting more Australian skiers to the Central North Island ski fields, something I'm sure Mt Ruapehu and nearby businesses will be looking forward to," said Sowry.

He said that while the Tasman remained one of the airline's most challenging markets, it was sill looking for new opportunities, especially when there was strong community support for a new service.

Air NZ is launching the service with a one-way special fare of $209.

Source: Click HERE

Revenge is a dish best served cold

In our post HERE we faithfully reported a wife's revenge on her unfaithful husband by luring him into a seedy motel, incapacitating him with the help of three other woman and super-gluing his penis to his stomach. Ouch!

After a prolonged absence concentrating on our day-job, we have decided to start off this week with some light relief and have continued with the theme of scorned woman taking revenge.

Motels are a typical small business where husband and wives work together. With any relationship, things can sometimes go wrong. 

The following video reminds us that working on your relationship can be just as important as working on your business:  

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Motel Shower Relief

At Motella we announced our first environmental policy in our recent post HERE

Why not reward your guests for arriving at your motel on foot or by bicycle?

Not only can you help save the planet by reducing those nasty carbon emissions, but you can also tap into that growing market of sandal wearing Luddites that practice what they preach by refusing to use fossilized fuel when they travel.
We have been busily scouring the internet for new green policies to inflict on our unsuspecting guests.

We think we have stumbled upon a winner.

In order to appease ardent environmentalist amongst us, we will immediately suggest forthwith that all motel guests are to relieve themselves in the shower!

5 August 2009
Brazilians urged to 'go green' in the shower

Brazilians are being urged to save water and the country's forests by urinating in the shower.

Television ads show cartoon dancers, sportsmen and aliens relieving themselves while showering in order to avoid flushing.

The ads are produced by an environmental group that says each household can save more than 4,000 litres of water a year by avoiding one flush a day.

Source: Click HERE

Motel Tryst Comes To A Sticky End

Accused ... (from left to right) Therese Ziemann, Wendy Sewell and Michelle Belliveau.

Within the confines of a motel room, emotions can run high.

From the dark side of motelling news, we enjoyed reading about a Wisconsin man who thought he was joining his lover at a motel for an afternoon tryst. Instead he was blindfolded and bound while she and three other women, including his wife, berated and humiliated him over his infidelity.

The incident that ended with the man tied to a bed with his penis superglued to his stomach, an apparent punishment for his womanising ways.

The ambush was said to have been set up by the man's wife after she found out he had cheated on her with a number of other women.

48-year-old Therese Ziemann met the man through the Craigslist website. They began an affair, and Ziemann became sufficiently smitten to pay for his use of a motel room for two months, as well as giving him about $3,000.

Ziemann met the man's wife and learned that not only was he married but had a series of other girlfriends from whom he had also extracted money. The following day, she tempted the man to the Lakeview Motel in the village of Stockbridge and suggested he let her tie him up and blindfold him for a massage.

As soon as he was secured, Ziemann cut off the man's underwear with scissors and sent text messages to summon the man's wife, another of his lovers and Ziemann's sister to assist her.

When the other women arrived Ziemann hit the man in the face and attached his penis to his stomach using superglue. The hapless man was then confronted by a barrage of abuse by the women asking "which one do you love more?" and "who do you want to grow old with?" .

The women fled – allegedly with the man's wallet, phone and car – after he started screaming. He managed to chew through one of the bindings and borrowed a telephone from the motel owner to call police.

Now it's the women who face punishment. Ziemann, her sister, 43-year-old Michelle Belliveau, the other lover, Wendy Sewell, also 43, and the man's wife, who is not being named so as to avoid identifying him, have been charged with false imprisonment. Ziemann is also charged with fourth-degree sexual assault.

...So when visiting Wisconsin, be sure to stay at the:

Lakeview Motel & Restaurant
N4111 Hwy 55 & Cty Tk F
Chilton, WI 53014
Contact: Donna Diko
Phone: 920-439-1130

Eight unit motel overlooking Lake Winnebago - beautiful sunsets. 40 seat restaurant serving breakfast all day, lunch & dinner also available. Open 6AM-2PM Daily; plus 5PM-8PM - Monday through Saturday. Daily specials include breakfast skillets, waffles, crepes, BBQ ribs and baked chicken & rice. Serving fish on Fridays - lake and ocean perch, haddock, cod & shrimp.

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