Friday, April 30, 2010

Back Monday

Off to Hawkes Bay.

May see you on the road...

Is It Time For Holden to Man-up?

Have you noticed the way cars are being advertised at the moment? Am I the only one cringing when an ex-children's television presenter and softly-spoken, metro-sexual pin-up boy, Nathan Rarere fronts those condescending Holden promo adverts on television?

Our free advice to Holden is to stop feminising your brand, go back to your roots and man-up or you will be soon following the doomed pathway of your American cousins. Political correctness infected GM that resulted in this once proud car company losing its way and going bankrupt. GM are now wallowing in the embarrassment of being run by government advisers. 

Out of blatant self-interest, we need the public to get passionate about cars again. We need them to fall in love, get behind the wheel and enjoy the journey. The car is the ultimate prize of consumerism, we need to rid ourselves of the senseless guilt and celebrate the benefits of living in a modern, mobile society while burning carbon. Cars are a magical combination of ego, beauty, sex form and function.

AND as an added bonus, cars happen to carry 99.9% of guests to my doorstep where I can sell them a room!

Car companies are engaging in endless surveys and focus groups to back up the bland virtues that they are pushing in their adverts. They assume the car purchasing public are focused on fuel economy, safety and the car manufacturer's social commitment. 

Nothing could be further from the truth. 

OK, I admit there may be a few gray shoe and cardigan wearing school teacher types that simply wish to purchase an efficient metal box on wheels that will take them from A to B. Thankfully we haven't reached the stage yet, where the majority have lost the passion. 

What the surveys don't tell car manufacturers is that most people purchase a car as a sex aid. What they REALLY want to know is: how big is the car's engine, how fast will it go, will it slide around corners, how wide are the tyres and will it out-perform the neighbor's car. And most importantly, will purchasing a certain car increase their sex appeal?

Check-out these Holden adverts from yesteryear:

Now compare those adverts with the politically correct fluff we get today:

I want my Holden back!

Motel Flat Screen TV Theft

Flat screen TVs are a must have item in motels and hotels these days that are appreciated by guests. 

Unfortunately, flat screen TVs are also popular with the criminal fraternity that commonly use motels and hotels to satisfy their desire to acquire one of these consumer items.

Thankfully, surveillance cameras are also becoming a must have item in commercial accommodation. The following video shows a man stealing a TV from a motel in Oklahoma City.

Sorta reminds me of the last time I stayed at a motel in Palmerston North;-)

Hotel Horror

Away from their usual comforts and surrounds of home, travellers seem to be more at risk of experiencing unsavory experiences. In this brave new digital world, motel and hotel guests are more than happy to broadcast their horror stories to a willing audience that allow themselves to be drawn-in to be shocked and titivated.

Regular road warriors will have at least one travel horror story that they can drag out at an appropriate moment to gain themselves kudos around the water cooler.

For our entertainment, TripAdvisor have collated some classic travel yarns that have occurred at commercial accommodations throughout the world:

Calella, Spain
H Top Olympic Hotel
Woken up by the sound of breaking glass... someone fell through the window of the patio doors. More
Las Vegas, USA
Circus Circus Manor Motor Lodge
Drunk people sleep right outside our room lying in the hallway. More
Broadbeach, Australia
Island Beach Resort
Our belongings were stolen from our ROOM while we were in the swimming pool. More
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
Tropicana New Tiran Hotel
Flooded by sewage overflow twice in the 5 days that we were there. More
Miami, USA
Majestic Hotel South Beach
He shoved the couch into my luggage, broke a bottle of alcohol in my bag and ruined my camera. More
Beijing, China
Guomen Hotel
We spent our entire vacation in quarantine - never having a fever or symptoms. More
Albufeira, Portugal
Valmangude Jardim Aparthotel
The robber had a key to all the rooms and they somehow knew how to get into the safe! More
Petra, Jordan
Petra Palace Hotel
A male cleaner knocking on my door at 6.30am to say hello and ask if he could wash his face in my sink. More
Athens, Greece
Hotel Fivos
Liked — Leaving
Disliked — The period between check in and departure. More
Bangkok, Thailand
D&D Inn
The POLICE demanded a substantial fine...withdrawn from a conveniently placed ATM... More

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Motel Industry Branding Campaign

So much to do, so little time... however I've managed to spend some time kicking a few ideas around for a national branding campaign to promote the motel industry.

Here's what I've come up with so far:

Monday, April 26, 2010

OTA Commission Face-off

Just when you thought the Online Travel Agent (OTA) market couldn't get any more crowded, accommodation providers are being invited to register for a new booking site, Stay in New Zealand. 

This new Kiwi-owned accommodation booking site is being fronted by innovative Taupo motelier, Kayne Ginger.
"Our objective is to get your property out into the online public domain to sell your product and to get you bookings without charging high commissions. There are no setup costs - it is completely free to sign up. There are no hidden agendas or tricks - we are simply a small kiwi business trying to help other like minded kiwi businesses succeed." 
So what is the main point of difference with Stay in New Zealand?

Kayne Ginger will appeal to fellow accommodation providers by having a genuine commitment to challenge the entrenched 10% commission rate. Stay in New Zealand plan to stir the market place with their entry 9% commission rate and undertake to reduce this further as their business progresses.

When a guest makes a reservation through the site, a non refundable 9% of the total accommodation is charged to their credit card by Stay in New Zealand to cover commission and to secure a booking. It is up to the accommodation provider to charge the guest the net balance owing at the time of the stay.

Under Stay in New Zealand's initial 9% commission regime, the advantage of a lower agent commission will unfortunately be negated by likely credit card commissions charged to the accommodation provider from processing guests' payments.

However, the accommodation provider will benefit from receiving payments at the time of stay AND can look forward to promised future commission reductions.

Having a motelier fronting the new OTA is another interesting point of difference. We look forward to following their progresses to see if they are able to gain traction in a very tough market and put a bit of pressure on commission rates charged by their competitors.

The site will be live on the 3 May 2010. Accommodation providers can register by clicking: HERE

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Love Motel's Final Blow?

We have been watching with voyeuristic amusement, the unfolding story of New Zealand's first proposed "Love Motel" that appropriately plans to call itself, the Desire Motel.

Earlier this year, the North Shore City Council approved a resource consent for an 11-unit self described "Brazilian Motel' in a bleak Glenfield light-industrial culdesac. 

Conditions of the consent were subject to the motel providing 14 car parks. The Motel was able to provide for 10 car parking spaces on site and arranged a lease agreement with a neighbouring business for six more car parks after 6pm on weeknights.

A brothel licence was separately applied for by the motel's backers "to prevent confusion about the proposed motel's purpose."

After the nature of the Desire Motel was speculated in the media, the neighbouring business owners cried foul and withdrew arrangements for car parking. Along with local residents, the local business owners successfully opposed the motel's waiver application to operate as a brothel within 250 metres of a residential area.

So where does this leave the motel?

Well, without adequate car parking, the motel can only operate with a maximum of 7 guest rooms on weekdays, however all 11 guest rooms can be used on weekends due to the low parking demand in this industrial area during this time.

The motel's backers have consistently downplayed the motel's prostitution angle throughout their trial by media. They have insisted that the motel's core business would cater for couples who required a private rendezvous to bond and spend time together in 11-themed guest rooms that are let by the hour - Just like the successful Love Hotels in South America and Asia.

If this is their true market target, we wonder how successful a Kiwi "Love Motel" would be? We know that motels can be used for the odd tryst by amorous couples. Our motelier-friends at airport motels tell of a local market that are attracted to their "hourly rates" designed for international travellers to refresh before and after long-haul travel.

Will the couples market really sustain a destination motel located in a light-industrial zoned Glenfield culdesac? Or will the business need a substantial contribution from another market demographic? We note with interest that without a brothel licence the motel can still have prostitutes on-site that are working for themselves.

It remains to be seen if the Desire Motel will still be considered viable?

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Qualmark Speculation

We see that excepts from our post, Qualmark CEO Resigns have been quoted in the latest Travel Memo.

It is interesting that Travel Memo have noted that either Tourism New Zealand or the AA have yet to make a statement on the Qualmark CEO's sudden departure:
Qualmark CEO moves on

Qualmark ceo Geoff Penrose has gone from New Zealand tourism’s official quality assessment agency, apparently without any statement from either of its joint venture partners, Tourism New Zealand or the AA.

During his five years in the role, Penrose and his team grew the total numbers of Qualmark-licenced tourism businesses to 2,300, and 470-plus have been awarded Enviro gold, silver or green status under the Qualmark Green program.

Motel industry blogsite Motella, in a comment on his departure, says Penrose “will probably be most  remembered for being at the helm when Qualmark inserted a fashionable and politically correct environmental criteria into their quality assessment under the maternal eye of the previous government.”

“Qualmark have been accused of abandoning its original brief of delivering an efficient quality benchmarking service to tourism businesses by being sidetracked with environmental evangelism.”

Motella wonders whether government-driven budget cuts are imminent for Qualmark and that without continued taxpayer subsidy of its benchmarking of tourism businesses, Qualmark licence fees will need to be hiked. The blogger says such a fee increase could be a difficult sell.

The question is also raised as to whether the Automobile Association is reviewing its involvement.
Surprisingly, we have yet to be contacted and offered the vacant CEO position...

Ugly New Zealand

Invercargill's urban sheik

From the pages of the Dominion Post today we learn that not all academics are precious, boring swots. A lecturer at Otago University's Design Studies Department, Ralf Hebecker has been discovered possessing a dark sense of humour and a natural talent for taking the p*ss.

Ralf's blog, Ugly New Zealand takes an alternative look at New Zealand landscapes:
"… the blog with New Zealand photos that everybody else would delete immediately. Our mission is to collect the ugliest, most boring, most appalling and plainly dull landscape photography possible. A few urban shots will also be in the mix. Everything goes, as long as it is really, really, really ugly. Please feel heartily invited to write me a mail if you think you have photos that qualify. Ralf Hebecker, lecturer at Design Studies, Otago University."
The blog is a celebration of the mundane and quirkiness of Kiwi landscapes and culture. Some of the depicted scenes aren't necessarily "ugly". In a round-about sort of way the blog promotes our uniqueness and makes the viewer appreciate the stunning, abundant urban and natural landscapes not featured on the blog that we take for granted.

The focus of the blog have been mostly restricted to the bleak urban landscapes of the lower South Island. Unfortunately with the vast amount of material still available in this region there is probably little chance of any movement north;-) 

For a bit of weekend indulgement, we suggest that you head over to Ugly New Zealand and check it out.  
Dunedin's roadside architecture

Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day

Apparently, yesterday was Earth Day.

The Emissions Trading Scam

While all New Zealand's major trading partners have wisely suppressed their own Emissions Trading Schemes (ETS), this country will be blindly forging ahead from the 1 July with its own "world leading" ETS that will threaten the viability of many small (tourism) businesses.

The pointless redistribution of wealth from the productive will do nothing to enhance the environment, will cost jobs and will place an unnecessary burden on households and businesses.

Ignoring usual CPI increases AND the pending rise in GST:
"The Treasury forecast that the immediate impact of New Zealand’s ETS will be a 5 % increase in the price of electricity and a 4c/litre increase in the price of petrol.

These increases are forecast to at least double again from January 2013 with total increases of 10% in electricity and 8c/litre for petrol, solely from the ETS.

The Reserve Bank forecast that prices overall can be expected to increase from 1 July by 0.4% solely on account of the electricity and petrol increases and the pass through of these onto consumers. While the government has stated they will adjust superannuation and benefits should GST increase, no such assurance has been given in respect of the ETS to New Zealand superannuitants."
The Tourism Industry Association seems to support the imposition of an ETS in principle, however would like further consultation, scoping of costs and alignment with Australia before implementation.

Adopting a position on ETS is more than likely beyond the capacity of the Motel Association of New Zealand.

So, what organisation can small tourism business operators turn to for advocacy. Well, the Auckland Chamber of Commerce has stepped into the void and have adopted a clear position on the ETS - they want it stopped!

We suggest that you respond to the memo sent out to their members yesterday - we have:
Stop this new tax now.

The Emissions Trading Scheme will mean your business is likely to bear an extra 3-5% in costs from 1st July: this new tax must be stopped.

We are only now beginning to recover from a period of extreme economic pressure. Charging businesses with a new tax could be crippling. Recovering this cost from consumers could be difficult. In addition, it is a cost that will be inflationary.

Our importers and exporters will be disadvantaged because our competitors will not have this additional tax.

The new tax must be stopped. To make your business heard on this critical issue, please click here to submit a message to Government.

By clicking on this link you will generate an email to Prime Minister John Key. You will be able to send with one click or edit first if you prefer.

Kind regards
Michael Barnett
Chief Executive

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Indigenous Rights Ratification

Off-topic here, however one performance stood out in the general debate today in parliament.

Rodney, is somewhat p*ssed and he probably has good reason:  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 Profits Up

We note that Aussie-owned online travel and accommodation website operator, Holdings has announced that its annual net profit is likely to climb as much as 28 per cent.  The group's major brand, is a popular OTA with many Kiwi accommodation providers.

The group said its net profit for the 12 months to June 30 was expected to come in at between $52 million and $56m, compared with $43.5m a year ago. The group's most notable achievement this year was the launch of airline flight reseller, 

Although their share price has taken a small hit this month, the company continues to be a leading success story in a sector that is still afflicted with the long tale of the recession.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Motel Humour

Heard some interesting stories this week....

A woman arrived at a motel reception and the asked the motelier behind the counter how much they charged for a room. 
The motelier told her the tariff depended on the room size and number of people. 
Do you take children? the woman replied.
No, madam, replied the motelier. Only cash and credit cards.

A man telephoned a motel to reserve a room and asked what their corporate rates were.
The motelier told him, the price was accepted and he went through the routine of taking reservation details by asking the caller for his name and address. 
When the motelier asked him what company he was with, he curtly replied, "Well! My wife's, of course!

While visiting Palmerston North, an elderly couple were turned away from countless fully booked motels and hotels. 
Finally, they arrived at a hotel and the manager offered them the only accommodation he had left - the bridal suite. 
"But we've been married for 30 years!" exclaimed the husband. 
"Sir, if I gave you the ballroom," replied the manager patiently, "I wouldn't expect you to dance all night."

On holiday in Paihia a couple meet a young Japanese woman sitting by the motel pool. Being from Auckland, they commented on Northland's wonderful weather in comparison to the changeable climate they had been experiencing back home. 
The young woman nodded politely and appeared to be struggling with an obvious language barrier. After some time the couple realised that they had not asked about her native country or climate. When they asked her where he lived, she smiled broadly and replied - "Hamilton."

A young blond woman arrived at the motel reception and requested a room for the night.
The motelier dutifully offered her a room and handed her a registration form to complete.
After completing the form the woman slammed it down in front of the motelier and demanded why he needed to  know such personal information. 
Confused by her reaction, the motlier read her card. In the space where the motel collected company names under the heading "Firm?" she had written: Yes, very! What of it?

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Brief Pause...

The school holidays are over, our kids return to school and the rhythm of the motel changes.

I have enjoyed having the male/female balance in our household restored over the holidays, however today our son will be returning to boarding school.

Blogging will pause as my son and I engage in a bit of last moment male bonding on a roadtrip to Hawkes Bay.

In the unlikely event of one of our dear readers owning either a campervan or a Prius, we suggest that you park up for a few days to avoid abuse;-)

We may see you on the road...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Motel Name Fail

No one seems to have captured the essence of the humble motel ...until now. We recently discovered that allows you to make those special motivating or demotivating posters you see all over the internet.

Here's a sample of what we have come up with so far:

After going to, feel free to send us your creations!

Captain Kirk Attacks The Accommodation Industry

Much to the disdain of some of our fellow motel comrades, we have been a defender of Online Travel Agents (OTAs). In taking this position, we have taken more than a few hits from friendly fire! 

Although, we have been critical of some of the one-off through the floor tariff promotions by OTAs, we believe that the silly "discounting" that has occurred for all to see are largely due to the knee-jerk reaction by some accommodation suppliers. 

Overall we think OTAs add value to the accommodation industry and can provide very good ROI. We believe that savvy accommodation providers should expose their inventory and work with OTAs, without feeling the need to give away rooms. 

As an accommodation operator, we have no problem with paying OTAs a 10% commission for every successful reservation made. OTAs do the leg work, they advertise and expose our inventory to a bulk market that we are unable to reach without the requirement of risking an up-front fee. 

We like the fact that OTAs are promoting the desirability of travel and operate in a space where potential guests like to contemplate and research travel - including the MSM. 

An unintended bonus for exposing inventory on OTAs is "The Billboard Effect". We like the fact that many guests will only use listings on OTA websites for research purposes and then contact us to make a reservaton direct.

So what happens if an OTA goes feral by attempting to drive down tariff and taking their suppliers for granted? 

Look no further than that have become so arrogant that they are shaming and challenging their suppliers in public to drop their pants AND using Star Trek's William “Priceline Negotiator” Shatner on prime-time TV to do it for them. 

Good thing that the Motella Blog is keeping watch to ensure that OTAs popular with Kiwi accommodation providers know their place and will not follow suit;-) 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Jasons Stayed, Paid & Raved

Not quite a media fail, however we think that Jasons Travel Media could have done better.

The general press release announcing "Stayed, Paid and Raved" came as a surprise to their advertisers - the accommodation providers that will be critiqued and work with the new customer review system.

It would seem that Jasons momentarily forgot who their customers were. They underestimated that the success of their review system will depend on first selling the concept to their advertisers. Although on-line reviews are very much mainstream and a growing phenomenon, it didn't seem to be appreciated that this will take the average motelier out of their comfort zone. For Jasons to allow their advertisers to read about "Stayed, Paid and Raved" in a general press release is not a good look. 

The other oversight that Jasons made was claiming that they were the "first travel company in New Zealand to offer authenticated reviews". Unfortunately they overlooked Kiwi-owned that have been operating a guest review system for some time on their popular last minute accommodatuion website.

To their credit, Jasons have made good by emailing an update to their client database last night that introduced the "Stayed, Paid and Raved" system to their advertisers and fronted up with their incorrect NZ first claim:
"We'd also like to take the opportunity to correct an inconsistency in our original press release. We had previously thought that we were the first travel company in New Zealand to offer authenticated reviews, but since going to market we've been informed by a competitor that they have been offering such a service. We'd like to apologise to Ezibed for this original claim in our press release".
Good on'ya Jasons CE, Matthew Mayne for sucking it in and making it right.

For Jasons, they will need to connect and understand the psychology of their accommodation advertisers. It's going to take a series of fireside chats to warm their clients to the concept of "Stayed, Paid and Raved". We will be interested to follow how they do this and in particular, how moteliers will react;-)

We wish  Jasons all the best. Their customer review system is a bold and worthy new initiative that we hope will be successful for them.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Motel Sign Board Fail

We like those old-fashioned motel roadside message boards. It's a concept that has never really caught on in New Zealand and we would like to see them make an appearance more often (sounds like a good idea for a Facebook group?)

There is a risk, that the motel owner may not possess appropriate humour, may struggle with the English language or those mischievous neighborhood kids could easily amend the message;-)

 Er...I'll just have the continental breakfast thanks.

Nothing like some direct marketing.

Yeah, more schoolboy humour.

How do you stand out from the scrum of accommodation providers? Offer a 4-hour "nap" for $25 of course!

Oops! This motel owner has been on the turps again.

Obviously this hotelier is trying to take a positive spin on TV3's Target program.

Should never have hired that Mexican motel manager...

Tiger Woods is a gift that keeps on giving!

Ahhh...a motel sign board we would love to see;-)

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