Saturday, January 30, 2010

Cuzzie Catch-Up

Blogging has been somewhat light due to our continued therapeutic break away from motel life.

The highlight of our North Island tour has landed us in Hawkes Bay where we have attended a family wedding. We will be also leaving our boy at his boarding school on Monday and for us this is always a sad moment.

The wedding held yesterday was a lavish affair and started off in rain as we boarded a bus in the Havelock Village to be taken to the service at the bride's old school chapel. The sun broke through after the ceremony in time for photos on the school grounds and were once again whisked away by bus, this time landing at the bride's family farm for the reception.

This wedding has been many months in the planning and the gardens and lawns surrounding the farm house were absolutely stunning. Despite an indifferent forecast the sun continued to shine as we paraded in our finery amongst family members on the immaculately prepared lawn. The bandstand that had been built many years before was finally press-ganged into service. Violin music provided a fitting background as we circulated catching up with long-lost rellies and hydrating ourselves with bubbles between plucking food from circulating trays.

We were soon shepherded into the huge marquee and enjoyed probably the best wedding fare we have ever had. The speeches were articulate, warm and heartfelt. There is always something quite strangely voyeuristic about mingling with relatives that share many of your own traits. The whole day was a stunning success.

Oh...and the accompaning photo? Well, this for me was one of the day's many highlights. I got to add to my stamp collection...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Hotel Bed Warmers


I couldn't believe this at first, however it's on the Internet so it must be true!

Three Holiday Inn hotels in London have started offering a human bed-warming service. A hotel staff member will  fully enclose themselves in a fleece sleeper suit before slipping between the sheets and warming the bed up to a comfortable 20 degrees Celsius.

It is unclear why electric blankets or good old fashioned hot water bottles can not be used to appease Brits looking for warmth, however the hotel chain has managed to get a physician sleep expert to endorse the off the wall idea.

It has not been reported how popular this service has been.

Maybe in a round about sort of way we can attribute Al Gore for this innovative bed-warming procedure that has been in response to Britain's recent record breaking cold weather snap? The "Gore Effect" is a joke that keeps on giving.

Perhaps the real reason for introducing the human bed warming service is that Holiday Inn has also marked a milestone of launching 3,200 new Holiday Inns worldwide. Publicity from this amusing news story will no doubt assist raise public awareness of the brand.

Source: Click HERE

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

TripAdvisor's Top 10 Dirtiest Hotels


TripAdvisor has created some perennial surveys that are eagerly awaited. 

The Top 10 Dirtiest Hotels are based on TripAdvisor traveler reviews is perhaps the most widely distributed and commented on survey.

We have had a few conversations with accommodation industry folk that wonder why we at times focus on the more seedy side of commercial accommodation?

Well, our answer is simple. It amuses us and we believe that ANY conversation about the accommodation industry is positive.  The exposure to the light of unsavory accommodation options available takes away the mystery and in fact exposes that the majority of accommodation providers offer enriching experiences for the traveling public.

Sometimes you need to expose the extremes in order to appreciate the overwhelming positives.

Besides, all hotels that gained all top 10 positions in this survey are not surprisingly located in America. Worlds away from the array of fantastic accommodation options available in Kiwiland.

So without further ado, here's the top-10 list that accommodation owners would not wish to appear on:

Monday, January 25, 2010

On The Road Again


It is a perennial question that moteliers often ask themselves - should we take a break away from the motel when it' quiet or when it is busy?

We'll wimp out on a definitive answer to this age-old question and sit on the fence by saying that there is probably logic in taking a break somewhere in between. However, we have decided to throw caution to the wind by taking a break during our busiest time of year and have left our able motel minders to it.

After spending the last several days ambling around the North Island, we have settled in a motel in Taupo and are happy to spend some time on the other side of the reception desk.

We will be continuing our voyeuristic journey from a motel guests' perspective until the beginning of February.

We may see you on the road;-)


PS: Why not add this slideshow to your blog or website. Simply click HERE and follow the simple instructions.

Excruciating "Romantic Weekend Getaway"

 
Meet  Chicago couple Duane and Edna Schumacher.

Like so many other longtime married Kiwi couples, the Schmachers have a long-established marital routine. So it came as an unwelcome surprise when their daughters gifted them a weekend at the FantasyLand Suites for their 30th anniversary.

Read more about the Schmachers unbearable motel ordeal from check-in, to check-out HERE

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Motella's Social Responsibility


I have to admire the self-starting enterprise of one of my housekeeping staff members that has been busy fund raising for the last few months to attend an AC/DC concert in Wellington.

We have contributed to this worthy cause and are wondering where we can show this on our Qualmark Responsible Tourism Checklist?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Minimum Wage



Every year we go through the inane performance of debating what level the minimum wage should be set at. Business groups get sucked in and advocate either the status quo or a small increase pegged to the rate of inflation while the usual pinko suspects howl that they are owed a substantial increase.

The question we should be asking is if the government should be setting a minimum wage all?

Purchasing labour is no different than buying any other product or service. If the product or service costs more - you will buy less. If it costs more to hire labour - fewer workers will be hired.

Ironically the low skilled workers that minimum wage legislation is supposed to protect are the ones that are adversely affected.

Government meddling in the trade of labour by imposing price fixing only distorts the market that can more efficiently set a price if left alone.

The numbers of relatively low skilled workforce working for motels can be severally affected by impositions on employment freedoms including minimum wage requirements. Employment legislation is an important advocacy cornerstone for any trade association. 

The minimum wage debate appears to be territory where our industry representatives have been historically afraid to tread, so we were encouraged by a press release issued by the Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ).

MANZ Chief Executive, Michael Baines stated  
 “We would ask the Government to show restraint in looking at any movement in the Minimum Wage” 

“This is a far more complex issue than is being portrayed. Small businesses have only two choices they either cut workers hours to suit their wage budget and pick up the work gap personally or they take less return themselves” 
And
"We urge the Government to exercise common sense and keep the Minimum Wage at its current level”
We would have suggested that the government should cease control of wage fixing altogether, however it is pleasing to see that MANZ have established a position and are speaking out against an important issue that directly affects running a motel business.

Source: Click HERE

In Search of the mythical 75% off deal


Let us say right off the bat that we like Online Travel Agents (OTAs).

As an accommodation operator, we have no problem with paying them a 10% commission rate for every successful reservation made with us. OTAs do the leg work, they advertise and expose my inventory to a bulk market that I am unable to reach.

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

An unintended bonus for accommodation operators using OTAs is "The Billboard Effect". Many guests will only use listings on OTA websites for research purposes. The exposure provided by OTAs generates complimentary reservations through other direct channels as the guest "books direct" by using the accommodation provider's own website, 0800 number etc.

There are also may guests that will make an initial booking via an OTA and maintain a regular relationship with the accommodation property by making future reservations direct.

As accommodation operators, we should be skilled in yield management with OTAs as part of our usual business. OTAs allow ease of adding inclusions, adding minimum stays, are able to be switched on and off and rates manipulated according to demand.

If accommodation operators
work in partnership with OTAs they are able to gain additional business and grow average tariff.

We are aware that OTAs receive some flack from operators. While we do not entertain industry whining about paying a 10% commission  for services received, we do have some sympathy for those that claim that OTAs focus too much on tariff based promotions

Wotif.com's sub $99 and 50% off promotions that  were supported by Tourism New Zealand caused some rumblings from accommodation operators that accused Wotif of normalising guest expectations of deep discounting. 

We suggested on this blog that operators should be considering quality and adding value before sending tariff through the floor.

...so what about OTAs promoting 70 - 75% discounts?  

One practice that is been used by OTAs that we do not approve of is "bait advertising" by promising savings on accommodation of up to 70 - 75% on search results. 

As an example, if you do a Google search on "Auckland accommodation" you will have the following Adword (paid advertising) links on top of the results:


Wotif.com has developed the following landing page that appears in the main body of the search results.

We used Auckland as an example, however similar results are achieved when doing Google accommodation searches for other popular New Zealand locations.

So what's the problem?

The problem we have is that we challenge anyone to easily find savings of up to 75%.

We believe that OTAs over promising unrealistic savings are doing a disservice to potential guests, themselves and the accommodation industry.

Sorta makes you wonder what the Commerce Commission would make of it?


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

November Accommodation Survey - Baby Steps


The latest accommodation survey results for November have been released by Statistics New Zealand. 

Overall it's reasonably positive news with total guest nights in short-term commercial accommodation for November 2009 inching up by half a percent compared to November last year.

The game of two halves continue between the two Islands. When compared with November 2008, guest nights in the North Island were down 2 percent with the South Island propping up overall guest nights by achieving a 4 percent gain. 

Eight of the 12 regions recorded more guest nights in November 2009 compared with November 2008. Significantly, the regions showing the largest increases continue to be in the South Island:
  • Otago, up 23,000 (7 percent)
  • Nelson/Marlborough/Tasman, up 7,000 (5 percent)
  • Southland, up 6,000 (8 percent)
The region showing the largest decrease was Auckland, down 18,000 (3 percent) and Taranaki/Manawatu-Wanganui, down 14,000 (10 percent).

International visitors boosted overall  guest nights in November 2009 with an increase of 2 percent compared with November 2008.

Disappointingly, domestic guest nights fell by 1 percent in November 2009 compared with November 2008. Accommodation operators looking for a strong rebound in the domestic market for the peak season may be somewhat disappointed. We suspect that the trending decline in domestic guest nights may continue into the critical month of January.

In November 2009, two of the four accommodation types had more guest nights than in November 2008:
  • backpackers, up 26,000 (7 percent)
  • holiday parks, up 14,000 (3 percent)
  • motels, down 6,000 (1 percent)
  • hotels, down 22,000 (2 percent).
Hotels had the highest occupancy rate (60 percent) of all the accommodation types in November 2009, followed by motels (50 percent), and backpackers (44 percent).

Source: Click HERE

The Unlimited Potential of Knitting Tourism


Dr Ian Yeoman appears to have the perfect job. He is described as the world's only professional crystal ball gazer or tourism futurologist.

Dr Yeoman is an Assoc. Professor of Tourism Management at Victoria University and is a popular speaker at tourism gatherings.

From what we can fathom, Dr Yeoman's job involves making a few outrageous predictions on the future of tourism based on a few pithy observations that provides quirky fillers for odd-spot sections in newspapers and social networks. The best aspect of Dr Yeoman's job is that there is no accountability. By the time the future rolls around your future predictions made long ago would have been forgotten and the focus would be on your next set of headline making forecasts.

Brilliant!

You may remember that we wrote about one of Dr Yeoman's revelations last year that predicted the rise of Robot Sex Tourism.

So the question needs to be asked - what is Dr Yeoman's latest revelation?

Well, the tourism industry needs to brace itself for the next big thing: "Knitting Tourism".

That's right, the future of tourism will be accommodating hoards of tourists armed with wool and knitting needles that wish to have a quiet, inspirational spot away from home to churn out an assortment of jerseys, scarves and mittens. 

Before you dismiss this as being silly, there appears to have been extensive research to back this prediction.

Apparently there is all sorts of social change going on right below our noses, without any of us being aware. Dr Yeoman observes on our behalf that consumers have a renewed interest in heritage and tradition.  Consumers are feeling the guilt of being seen in designer labels and embracing vintage, authentic and natural goods. 

We are seeking crafts and old fashioned skills. It is claimed that there is a surge in knitting clubs as highly educated, single urban folk are huddling together to form wool based social networks.

I bet you weren't aware of that! 

And of course New Zealand with its natural woolly flecked landscapes is in the perfect position to appeal to this apparent high yielding tourist opportunity.

The only thing that concerns us is what's going to happen to all those horrible "homemade" woolen jerseys?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Critics attack Air NZ's hunting cougars

In the absence of Paul Henry I s'pose it's up to us to pass on some much needed advice to those "Critics that have attacked Air NZ over its hunting cougars campaign.

We suggest that the humorless retards book in for an urgent waxing and then "start a group".

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Cougar Mating Habits Finally Revealed

At Motella we relentlessly follow issues of importance to the accommodation and travel industry.

One issue that we are keeping abreast of is the Cougar phenomenon.

According to Wikipedia, a Cougar is a "woman over 40 who sexually pursues younger men, typically more than eight years her junior".

In our informative post Calling all Cougars! we exposed an example of innovative niche marketing at  Hotel Diva in San Francisco that introduced the Cougars With Personality Package.

In our follow up post Cougar Barbie we further explored Cougar culture.

We now see that Air New Zealand is tapping into the cult of the Cougar by producing a spoof animal planet styled documentary to support a sevens rugby promotion.

Not surprisingly, we like this edgy piece of marketing that pushes the envelope by our national carrier and sexes up travel. We are amused by the few outspoken hand-wringing humorless pinkos that have exposed themselves and just don't get it:


Passengers Fom Hell Survey Results

The irony of trying to take a break....while all those annoying people you are trying to escape from take their holidays at the same time is not lost on TripAdvisor.com.

TripAdvisor asked their members to rate the worst airplane seat-mate nightmare. 

The results are in with 155,000 members happy to rate their traveling companion from hell.

The Top 5 are as follows:



#1
Their kids kick your seat from takeoff to touchdown. But these parents might as well be miles away. 



#2
This armrest hog's arms and knees invade your personal space. 




#3
Sneezing, sniffling, and sweating, this guy should have a HAZMAT (hazardous material) sticker affixed to his lapel. 



#4
From his divorce to his dental work, he's the tell-all talker - and you're the captive audience. 




#5
Kimchi is delicious. So are egg salad and garlic. But 17 inches from your face? Really? 

Back Benches


Mrs Motella and I attended the filming of Bank Benches last night. We enjoyed the experience of being part of the audience and watching the production that was part of the Back Benches Summer Tour Series.

Guests on the panel were Moana Mackey, Derek Fox and Meng Foon. Wallace Chapman and co-host, Damian Christie did an excellent job to extract the most out of the assembled panel and subdued provincial audience.

I must say that this was one of the more light-hearted shows that I have seen so far with the panel in a jovial mood and the relaxed audience made up of farmers and retired school teachers were more than happy to sit back and be entertained rather than debating politics.

The highlight of the show was when a local woman spoke intently on how the government should be looking after Moko The Dolphin more as her husband looked on in stunned silence.

Overall it was a great night out and I even managed to book one of the panelists into our motel for the night.

It will be interesting to see what the final show will look like when it screens on Channel 7 at 9.10pm on Wednesday 20 January.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Scathing Review On TripAdvisor


TripAdvisor.com have have strict rules on only accepting recent accommodation reviews, however we where amused that the following guest review somehow snuck through.
A review received December 26 for a hotel in Bethlehem, PA:
After being ordered by Herod to go back to where we were born, I knew that this Hotel would be booked up, so I booked in advance.

However, after arriving late (the donkey had broken down) with my pregnant wife I might add, we were told that there were no rooms left! I showed them my printed online booking but they had no idea who the company I booked it with was.

After much debate they put us up in the BARN with the ANIMALS: ME, my PREGNANT WIFE and the soon to be born Son of God. The beds were filthy, it hadnt been cleaned in weeks and there was no room service after 10, it was 10.05 when we arrived after 3 days traveling.  The worst thing is the security issues, not only did they disclose our ‘room’ number but they even gave the strangers the key. Shortly after ‘my’ son was born they barged in ‘bearing gifts’.

Never again
Joesph and Mary

Beware Of Impromptu Fleshmobs!

We are fans of impromptu Flashmobs, however we have discovered another activity that has taken our fancy.

Keep your eyes peeled for "Fleshmobs" the next time you visit an airport. 

The following video shows German activists stripping off at the Berlin-Tegel airport in an ironic and amusing protest about the use of controversial full-body scanners .

The new full-body scanners use technology that is the stuff of every teenage boys wet-dream as the machines now have the ability to reveal the naked person lurking below every passenger.

We note that some media outlets are reporting an alleged growing concern over the devices that have been branded “virtual strip searchers”. Some may object because they are somewhat shy, however others as shown in this video are more concerned over perceived breaches in civil liberties.

We do not like the fact that the machines have been press-ganged into service in reaction to the embarrassing incident of the Nigerian man that attempted to blow up a US-bound jet on Christmas day. It could be said that this imposition has been a small victory for terrorism.

Any impediment to free travel concerns us and we hope that the new full-body scanners can use technology in a positive way by processing passengers more efficiently than before.

We believe that the sentiment of this protest is fairly isolated, as most people shouldn't be too bothered about a man sitting in a darkened room away from the processing area looking at an obscure digital photo of them before they board a plane.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Pitbull Hotel Room Service


My kids kindly brought me a nifty iPod car adapter kit for Christmas. This is a very impressive gadget that plays iPod tunes through the car stereo. Unfortunately I don't own an iPod, but as luck would have it both my kids do.

While I was away from the motel in the car with my children the other day, they were sharing some of their music tastes with me. Suddenly I was struck (or was that assaulted) with a wee ditty from a chap called Pitbull that "sings" a song, Hotel Room Service.

I was so impressed with the song that I managed to find the inspiring lyrics that I can share with you:
I want everybody to stop what they're doing. Now if you know you're with somebody you're gonna take the hotel room tonight, make some noise...
Meet me at the hotel room [x4]
[Chorus]
Forget about your boyfriend and meet me at the hotel room, you can bring your girlfriends and meet me at the hotel room. [x2]
We at the hotel, motel, holiday inn. [x4]


She like that freaky stuff, 2 and the O, 1 in the eye, that kinky stuff, you nasty, but I like your type and like T.I.'s, whatever you like. Bring your girls, whatever the night, your man just left, i'm the plump of the night, let me check your pipes, oh, you're the healthy type. Well, here goes some egg whites. Now gimme that sweet, that nasty gushy stuff, let me tell you what we gon' do. 2 + 2, i'm gonna undress you. Then we're gonna go 3 and 3 you gon' undress me. Then we're gon' go 4 and 4, we gon' freak some more, but first!

[Chorus]

after party in the hotel lobby,
then we off to the room like vroom,with the grills in yo mouth trippin up yo blouse,and pull that g-sting down south uuu OK shawty, 1's company, 2's a crowd, and 3's a party. A girl ain't with it, I got somebody, in my nature she's naughty. Now gimme that sweet, that nasty gushy stuff. Ima tell you what we gon' do, 2 + 2, i'm gon' undress you. Then we gon' go 3 and 3, you gon' undress me. Then we gonna go 4 and 4, we gon' freak some more! But firstly...


[Chorus]
This begs the question: Is Pitbull going to replace The Eagle's Hotel California as the most enduring song that has Motel/Hotel accommodation as its main theme?

You be the judge:

 

Holiday Blues

Global warming is on hold at our motel and we are busy trying to appease our guests by suggesting all sorts of indoor activities (preferably off-site;-)). Most guests are in very good humour, however some get a wee bit edgy - particularly families that are spending a rare enforced bonding session with one another.

When the sun is out - all is right with the world, however once the sun disappears some of our guests become extra needy and grumpy. We can't help feeling that less than perfect weather is somehow our fault.

So, as I barricade myself indoors in order to avoid the steely, accusing gaze of our guests, our family have been doing a bit of our own school holiday bonding.

One activity is watching YouTube movies and the following are our favorites so far: 

Daft Bodies - Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger 
Stick with it....it's very clever and sounds great through some decent speakers.


Charlie bit my finger - again ! 
We have watched this one over and over and my kids do a very good impersonation of Charlie's hapless brother. 



The Gummy Bear Song - Long English Version I defy you NOT to sing along.  
Where the Hell is Matt? (2008)
An old favorite that also has a great soundtrack.

Hippo checks in at hotel


I must admit that we have had some rather large and spectacular mammals basking by our motel pool this season. When people are away from familiar surrounds there seems to be a tendency to  flaunt their stuff regardless of body shape. We have seen some spectacular sights however nothing compared to this big girl (above).

After a hippopotamus escaped from Montenegro's zoo during floods,  this brilliant photo was snapped at the Plavnica hotel complex near Podgorica. (Click the photo for a bigger view).

Source: Click HERE

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Airport Distraction

In response to the latest terrorist activities, we reported about a secret trial of revised airport check-in procedures in our post HERE.

Airport security is extremely important activity that requires constant vigilance by professionally trained staff. However, we have uncovered an epic fail at an undisclosed airport screening booth - check out the computer screen ;-)


Tour Operator's Rage Against Bureaucracy


The front page story in The Dominion struck a chord with us.

Tour operator, Wally Hammond refuses to get a "free" permit from DOC for tourists to watch fur seals from his bus in the Wairarapa.

Wally Hammond is a Kiwi-Battler from the old school of self accountability and hard knocks. He has managed to operate bus tours in the Wellington region for 53 years without the need of a Marine Mammal Viewing Permit that dictates safety conditions for animals and tourists according to DOC.

DOC have recently hit headlines in a positive way when they unlocked part of its vast estate to a private business when it allowed a drinks stand to operate at Cathedral Cove. For us this was a glimmer of hope. Unfortunately, DOC appear to be still entrenched in back office bureaucracy by insisting that Mr Hammond pander to an illogical and time-wasting paper shuffling process.

If Mr Hammond's tour business involved handing out clubs and encouraging tour passengers to get into a bit of old-fashioned seal-clubbing, then maybe there could be some cause for concern. However by driving a bus on a public road where there happens to be seals basking nearby hardly necessitates attention from our government sponsored park rangers.

In the area Mr Hammond's tour operates from there is open public access where visitors can freely view the seals at close range. Unfortunately, Mr Hammond runs a business and is seen as fair game by institutionalised government busybodies.

We say good onya Mr Hammond for giving these leaches the one-figured salute.

Source: Click HERE

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Future Of Room Service?


In our post, Robot sex to tempt future tourists we wrote about the future tourism predictions by a tourism futurologist from Victoria University.

One prediction that caught our eye was the revelation that tourists will be soon using the services of robot prostitutes.

Although we scoffed at the idea at the time and wondered who was paying for this wacky research, we note that what is claimed to be the worlds first robot sex doll has been recently unveiled at the 2010 Adult Entertainment Expo in Las Vegas.

Could Roxxxy, a five-foot-seven, 120-pound, synthetic skin covered, atomically correct fembot hold the key to the future of tourism?

You be the judge:

Trade Me to acquire BookIt

It looks like the amalgamation of the online travel space has started early  this year.

Our friends at Travelbug have sent us the following press release that will be of interest to our accommodation provider readers:
Trade Me has reached conditional agreement to acquire the business of BookIt Limited.
Dunedin-based BookIt is a leading online software provider for New Zealand tourism operators. The company has been providing booking tools and payment processing services for a network of more than 40 reselling websites and 1700 tourism suppliers for the last five years.
BookIt co-founder, Ian Taylor, said the sale to Trade Me would bring a level of online expertise and resource that would allow BookIt to realise its full potential.

"We’ve been looking for a strategic partner for some time who shared our vision in the online booking space. Trade Me was the perfect fit and feedback from our clients has been positive."

BookIt was recently included in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 for the Asia Pacific region, having experienced very strong growth over the past two years. It has three staff who will continue on in the business as Trade Me employees.

Trade Me’s Head of Travel Alex Fala said the deal would be good for existing customers of both Trade Me and BookIt.

“Users of Travelbug and our reseller network will be able to choose from a deeper selection of accommodation and a broader range of products, including activities like skiing and sightseeing tours. Suppliers to BookIt and Trade Me will benefit from a larger audience.”

Mr Fala said Kiwis are using the internet more to book their travel, and the move made sense. “Trade Me made it easy for people to buy and sell online, and we’re confident that Travelbug will continue to make booking travel in New Zealand easier too.”

The new Trade Me travel team will be working with suppliers and resellers to ensure a smooth integration.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Wi-Fi Fears Keep Getting Weirder


Some people seem to spend a lot of time searching for the next big thing that is bad for us.

We were interested to read about a small, but perfectly formed group of people in Santa Fe claiming that Wi-Fi is the new root of human ill. Apparently, they have convinced themselves that radio signals emitting from cellphone and Wi-Fi hotspots irritates over sensitive wee souls that are inflicted with "electromagnetic allergies."

One of the group is suing his neighbor for refusing to turn off their cellphone and Wi-Fi hotspot and has been forced to live in his car to escape his self-diagnosed infliction. Unfortunately he "cannot stay in a hotel, because hotels and motels all employ Wi-Fi connections, which trigger a severe illness."  

Is this small group in Santa Fe isolated in their imagined beliefs? Apparently not. A brief internet search has revealed that there are thousands of people worldwide who believe that their bodies are being afflicted by the electromagnetic radiation put out by computers, wireless data networks, cell phone networks, radio and television broadcasting, power lines, and virtually anything that uses electricity

We will be keeping a watching brief on this phenomenon and thinking about how we will be able to appease these luddites if they are looking for suitable motel accommodation. I guess we could start by offering to turn off our wireless internet during their stay, however we may have to invest in cladding designated guest rooms with metal screens to shield inflicted guests from magnetic radiation. 

Source: Click HERE

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Whale Whores


We like comedy cartoon series, Southpark. The Libertarian producers often use their characters to make their own branded political statements and poke fun at the establishment.

I am reasonably sure that the episode, "Whale Whores" has not played on New Zealand television networks yet. This is was first aired in America in October last year, however is extremely topical now with the unfolding story of the eco terrorist smackdown in Antarctic waters.

The program slaps the p*ss out of Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and questions the selective morality of harvesting natural resource.

We recommend that you take the time and view the full episode HERE, then head over to our friends at RoarPrawn where they are closely following the story and providing some excellent commentary.

Bach Rental Gone Bad


Were the Vink Family victims?

We are aware that there is an increasing trend for holiday makers to book private homes. We are wary that websites such as the AA's Bookabach and TradeMe's Holidayhouses generate a lot of noise on the web. We will do a post on our thoughts on this phenomenon later. 

An article in the Sunday Star Times today reported an Auckland family's experience of booking a holiday home in the Coromandel from another popular holiday home rental website, Bachcare. As this story was in the Sunday papers, obviously the experience wasn't a good one.

The Vink family booked and paid for a holiday home online for $300.00 per night to accommodate a maximum of 8 people. It was reported that on at least two occasions, the Vink family exceeded the maximum number of persons with one night having up to 12 people staying. The family also erected a tent that was also contrary to the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.

After several warnings, the family ended up being evicted, charged $1,000 for breaching the terms and conditions of the rental and forfeited their $300 bond.

Was this Auckland family a victim of a harsh regime or were they selectively naive with a false sense of entitlement?

For us the quote from the family's father speaks volumes:
"I would have thought that at $300 per night you are entitled to reasonable use of a property and it would extend to un-anticipated friends or relatives dropping in and sleeping on the floor for a night or two. That's all part of a summer holiday at the bach, is it not?"
We looked at Bachcare's website and we must say that the rental agreement was clear to us.

OK, maybe Bachcare could have cut this family loose and met them halfway with some of the penalty charges, however reading between the lines this Auckland family's attitude would dictate that they deserved what they got. 

Source: Click HERE

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Who are you gonna call?


The Nelson Mail did an article from a snapshot of time at the Nelson i-SITE Visitor Centre during the peak holiday season .

A bewildered Aucklander arrives at the counter not knowing what accommodation he has booked and asks for assistance to try and jog his memory. Believe it or not this is a commom occurance.

The i-SITE supervisor tries in vain to assist by flashing internet images at him and making a few phonecalls, but the homeless visitor is still unable to recognise the motel he booked off the internet. 

When all avenues seem to be exhausted our i-SITE supervisor calls Nelson motel industry icon, John Gilbertson.... Read more of the story HERE.

The Motel Car

We like the So Hotel in Christchurch. They have challenged traditional accommodation by sexing-up and maximising micro rooms.

In a recent self-promoting publicity stunt, the hotel has launched a suite of planet-saving “micro” electric cars for staff to tool around the city and run errands.

The poor young chap pictured below has swallowed his pride and slipped into one of the hotel's little pink noddy-cars for this publicity shot. We note however that he has had the foresight to turn away from the camera hoping that none of his female contemporaries will recognise him.


Meanwhile at our own accommodation business we have only managed to amass one vehicle and have taken a slightly different view on how to improve the environment.





What Do You Think About Air New Zealand's New Uniforms?


We like the fact that the public always seem to be drawn into a debate about any new release of Air New Zealand uniforms.

Travel is about self indulgent fun, allure and the promise of sex. The uniforms are an important part of the theatre and add to the desirability and excitement of travel. We like that.

Designer Trelise Cooper is unable to divert away from expected themes of male attire. Male uniforms are always much of a muchness, however we like the point of difference with the natty striped scarf and the retention of the traditional Air New Zealand pacific jade colour with the tie.

As always, most comments and controversy will be directed at the woman's attire and from the initial release photos we are not disappointed. We like woman's pinstriped trouser suit on the model but are unsure how different Kiwi body shapes will carry this off. We are also not too sure about the busy koru green-accented scarf.

Running diversion however is the new cabin crew shock frock in "twilight pink".

What do you think?   

Friday, January 8, 2010

Sex and sex toys the new vibe at hotels


Granny Herald got a bit racy yesterday by reporting on some of the more titivating findings of a survey, carried out by Novotel Hotels.

It's good to see that businesses in the travel industry are able to get good mileage out of  press releases and surveys, especially during a traditionally slow newsworthy period. Not only does this promote specific brand awareness, but it also promotes travel.

This particular "news item" was repeated many times in various MSM and social media outlets:

7 January 2010
New Zealand Herald
NZPA

Women are more likely to "souvenir" hotel room items than men, give smaller tips, flood bathrooms and leave their rooms in a messy state, a hotel chain survey shows.

The survey, carried out in 30 Novotel hotels and resorts in New Zealand, Australia and Fiji, also found couples were more often getting caught having sex on plainly-visible security cameras, in pools, spas, saunas, hallways, stairwells, bars and even in storeroom cupboards hotel corridors, stairwells.

"In each hotel surveyed, more guests are being 'caught out' than a decade ago and this level of exhibitionism perhaps comes from the sense of freedom and anonymity that comes with being in a hotel," communications manager Peter Hook said.

Though customers were welcome to take the little soaps and shampoo bottles with them when they left, some guests were checking out with a range of "not acceptable" souvenirs, including robes, toilet paper, cushions and hairdryers, Mr Hook said.

Women staying in hotels were watching more porn than in previous years - accounting for 12 per cent of all sex movies watched in 2009, compared to 8 per cent in 2000 - and were much more likely to eat chocolate from the minibar.

Men, who remained the major consumers of porn however, preferred minibar beer.

Aside from the frequently left-behind items - mobile phone chargers, lingerie and assorted sex toys - housekeepers also reported finding fake limbs, a snake, a nun's habit, false teeth, a two-metre hand-carved statue, a riding crop, and a baby.

The baby was returned to its parents, Mr Hook said.

The survey findings also reported one incident, in which a hotel staff member was hit in the head by a sex toy thrown off a balcony by a jealous husband.

Source: Click HERE 
Hat tip: www.twitter.com/AATourism

Putting the FUN back into travel!


Following on from the latest terrorist activities, one of our roving reporters has discovered a secret trial of revised airport check-in procedures. 

We kinda hope it may catch on...

Nelson Claims - Wotif ranking is not reliable?


In our post HERE, we published the top 20 Kiwi locations booked through online accommodation website Wotif.com in 2009.

This press release by wotif.com has been an extremely successful branding exercise with media in each geographical location across the country putting their own positive spin on the results.

We note that the results have also caused some bickering between regions and outbursts from regional tourism officials. The free publicity must be music to wotif.com's ears.

We were amused to read that Nelson Tasman Tourism chief executive Paul Davis was somewhat sniffy about Nelson's result at number 11 on wotif's most popular NZ locations booked online. He compared the result with a more favorable survey released by the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA) in October last year that ranked Nelson in the top-5 of people's favourite regions.

What is interesting with the difference in rankings is the old adage that people will often say one thing while their actions do something completely different.

Ironically, Paul Davis appears to be beating himself up over this and has claimed that wotif.com's survey is not reliable. And has said: "The rankings were based on the number of last-minute accommodation bookings that Wotif had on their site, not the desirability of the city. It's not significant as far as the overall quality of the destination".

We love Nelson and like many other Kiwis we would love to visit more often, however the region's  desirability on its own does not deliver benefits to Nelsonians - actual guest nights do.

Paul Davis may need to work a wee bit harder at his job of converting the region's desirability into a reason for visitors to stay the night - after all, that's what he is paid to do...

Source: Click HERE

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Where's The Super Hero Costume?


I've had a few people ask, where is where has Super Motella gone?

Well, I can tell you that wearing a lycra jump-suit and cape for the last 18-months has been rather challenging. I must say that I have had more than a few strange looks wearing a superhero costume while running my motel.

With the start of the New Year we have freshened up our social media presence and the suit has now been consigned to the back of the wardrobe.

Sorta sad to see it go;-)

How's Trade?



For most motels, the peak season starts from Boxing Day and this is a crucial time to maximise revenues and fill the tank in order to get through the more difficult cooler months trading. 

It should be a rare time when operators have the upper hand and can cherry pick reservations in order to exploit the opportunities abound. The object of the game is to strike a balance between increasing the average number of nights stayed, minimising the number of people per room while increasing the  average room rate. The New Year period can also provide a challenge that requires identifying quality reservations while weeding-out young revelers at the reservation inquiry stage.

We are now 12 nights into the season and after talking to a few "Motellas" around the traps it would appear that demand is fairly flat and not as intense as it has been in previous years. We get the feeling that while pockets of good quality accommodation are trading well, older lower quality properties are not receiving the benefit of overflow expected at this time of the year. 

Much like last year, we have found that traditional middle class families of Mum, Dad and 2-kids have been conspicuous by their absence. New Zealand's latest beneficiaries, the middle-class "Working for Families" subsidised honky family still appear to be coy about loading up the credit card with motel accommodation in spite of talk of recessionary times abating. 

Disappointingly, we have also found a decrease in quality longer stay bookings. More holiday makers appear to be less willing to commit and are more likely to chance their arm by turning up unannounced, stay for one night and then moving on. We get the feeling that Kiwis are still hitting the road, however are leaving it more last-minute, mixing up accommodation sector options and staying away for a shorter time frame. 

Compared to a low recessionary trading base last year we are predicting that the traditionally busiest and most crucial trading month of January will either be the same or at best marginally up.

For some motel businesses this may be enough to defer the call from the bank manager or the landlord until much later in the year;-)


So, what's your thoughts on the holiday season so far?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Stain Removal


Lisa Lewis is a friend of the Motella Blog, a perennial user of motels AND has our support for her nomination in the 2010 Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award. 

We last did a post on Lisa Lewis HERE. 

In order to enhance our Qualmark social responsibility credentials we would like to call upon the vast readership of our humble blog to assist Lisa in a vexing problem. On her Facebook page, Lisa comments:
Argh - cant get the lipstick out of my white genie costume... Any ideas?
As many of out motelier readers are experts in stain removal, please feel free to lend a hand and send in your recommendations.

Top 20 Kiwi locations


With the end of the year giving us numerous "best of" lists, Wotif.com have released a the top 20 Kiwi locations booked through their online accommodation website in 2009.

Wotif.com are well honed in getting their brand exposed without paying for advertising. Their latest press release has succeeded in being repeated numerous times in the MSM with media in each geographical location putting their own spin on the results.

Not surprisingly, Auckland remains the number one spot. Interesting that Christchurch has edged out Wellington as the second most booked location. 

The Top 20 New Zealand Destinations in 2009 were:



2009
2008
Auckland

1
1
Christchurch
2
3
Wellington
3
2
Queenstown
4
4
Rotorua

5
5
Dunedin

6
6
Taupo

7
7
Hamilton

8
8
Napier

9
9
Palmerston North
10
10
Nelson

11
11
Te Anau

12
14
Tauranga

13
12
Paihia

14
13
New Plymouth
15
16
Wanaka

16
15
Hamner Springs
17
20
Mount Cook/Aoraki
18
17
Blenheim

19
19
Invercargill
20
18


Source: Click HERE

Monday, January 4, 2010

Exclusive Motella Merchandise

Many weeks ago we engaged a third world sweatshop to produce a range of Motella Merchandise with a specified level of quality fitting our dear readers discerning tastes.

After a long wait, we have just finished unloading a large container that arrived at Motella HQ only a few days ago. Our storeroom is now stacked with dozens of boxes bulging with some exciting new branded products.

We are pleased to announce that finally you have the opportunity to display with pride the mark of the Motella Blog by purchasing Motella Apparel!

You will find exclusive Motella Merchandise permanently displayed on the right side-bar of this blog for purchase. To whet your appetite, here are a few selected items ready for purchase now:


The Motella-T only comes in black and is Teflon-coated to repeal those pesky egg stains. 
We haven't let technology pass us by and can offer these advanced Motella Mouse-pads for our more technologically advanced readers.


Just to show that we have street-cred, we can offer the Motella-Hoddie.

 
I have been wearing a pair of these Motella Boxers all week and I must say they are extremely supportive and comfortable!

And finally for the laaaadies - the Motella-G. For research purposes, all purchases of the the Motella-G will be fully refunded if you send us a photo of you modeling this item.

What are you waiting for! Go to our online store NOW by clicking: HERE

The Return Of...The Bell Ringers


After experiencing a harrowing and needy guest last year, we did a post on "Bell Ringers".

We have cut and pasted the post in its entirety, as this time of year tends to bring them out!

Certain guests leave an lasting impression on you and tend to dominate the entire complex when they stay at your motel.

A motelier has a sixth sense that can detect at an early stage that a potential guest will be hard work. We call these guests "Bell-Ringers" as they will need to be continually reassured and maintained before and during their stay. Why "Bell-Ringers?" Well it's simple: in order to get attention they will consistently ring you on the phone or set off the bell at reception.

If the motelier knows that they can easily fill the room, is feeling somewhat frivolous and is able think on their feet quickly, a Bell-Ringer can be cut free at the reservation enquiry stage and informed with "regret" that there are "no suitable rooms available at the inn".

A Bell-Ringer can be infuriating, self-important, needy and seemingly ignorant time-water, however they can present a positive challenge to satisfy and will sing your praises wide if you are able to appease them.

What are the signs of a "Bell-Ringer"?

It often starts with the reservation process.

Such guests will always desire verbal stimulation. Any information widely available in accommodation guides and on the web need to be verbalised. Before a reservation is even made the wife will generally make several "inquiries" making liberal use of your toll free number.

Queries will start off on a generic nature that will include general chat about the availability of a room over a range of dates and things to do/attractions/restaurants available in the city. The phone calls will continue as she verbally pontificates if she will even be coming to your location and if so when she will be able to travel. No final decision can ever be made as all information will need to be relayed and confirmed by her husband.

Once she has decided when they can stay and that they will be indeed traveling to your location, the questions are then drilled down to the motel's facilities and types of rooms available. A barrage of questions will continue over several more phone calls and will often get down to where the unit is located in the complex, witch direction does the room face and what are the interior colour tonings?

The husband will then second-guess the whole process and make his own multiple phone calls. The wide ranging question and answer session covering old ground will start again!

Toward the end of the process the three children are mentioned for the first time and it needs to be laboriously explained that the small studio unit with a queen bed may not be suitable. After discussing more suitable room options and subduing the endless whining for a discount a conclusion is finally reached and a reservation will be made.

Inevitably after the reservation is made, more phone calls by the guest are necessary as the the in/out dates are changed, the number of persons staying are amended and more questions are required to be asked.

Before the guest has even arrived they have clocked up a wedge of 0800 call charges and you just know that they will continue to badger you after they arrive.

At check-in, we identify these guests early and always like to allow additional time to laboriously go through all of the motel's amenities, room features and giving them every map and brochure that we can muster. An extra 10 minutes with our high maintenance guests will often save a lot of grief and future time wasting during their stay.

After checking-in one of our "Bell-Ringers" recently, I walked back to the reception after taking them to their room and giving them an extended run-down on all of its features including the perennial favorites of how to use the telephone and turn on the TV. 

I then waited for the inevitable phone call.

It took 3 minutes!

"Have you got a sandwich maker we can borrow?"

Bugger! these guests are booked in for the next three nights and I know we are going to see a lot of them.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Motel Story Competition Winner - Motel Horror Guests

We announced the winner of the inaugural Motel Story Competition just before Christmas. 

After many hours of deliberations, the winning story was deemed to be from, Carl Smith of www.travelmonkee.co.nz

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

The yarn will be appreciated by moteliers that are experiencing an influx of leisure guests at this time of the year. While most guests will be easily satisfied, others will be habitual "bell ringers" that seem to struggle with simple tasks when away from a familiar environment;-)

Here's the winning story:

So a little time ago, I received a booking for a family of 3, no they didn’t want the family apartment, they would take the studio with the pull out sofa, cheaper and they would only be here for one night so that was okay.

So at about 6.30 pm the family of 4 arrived, right at dinner, (but that what happens in a motel, always at dinner, or when you are on the bog etc)

Conversation

Them: We are here to check into the family apartment.

Me: Arrr you booked the studio with the fold out sofa for the three of you, except I see there are four!

Them: Well can you give us the apartment at the same price as the studio, since we forgot to mention our other son.

Me: No sorry for one the apartment is booked, and secondly it would cost you an extra $60.

Them: Okay, (sighing) we will be forced to take the studio, even though you should have put us for no extra charge in the apartment.

Me: (Trying hard to ignore them) okay let’s get you checked in.

So I took them up to the room, showed them how to fold out the sofa, put in extra blanket as requested, (as they were from a warmer climate and it is so cold here).

Sit down to resume dinner, the phone rings.

Them: This is room 21 there is no remote for the TV.

Me: Okay I will come up.

I enter the room and the TV is playing, the 3 year old is watching TV with the remote in her hand.

Me: Your daughter has the remote.

Them: Don’t be silly...Oh did you just give it to her?

Me: No, (smiling condescendingly because by this time I had their number sussed).

Them: Ok we will call you if we have any other problems.

Me: Oh I’m sure you will be fine, really!

Sit down with fork in hand, phone rings.

Me: hello room 21.

Them: yes the doors in the toilet do not shut.

Me: Oh, I will come up.

In the hall way I noticed a pungent smell coming from under the door of room 21, upon opening the door, I notice the microwave has smoke pouring out of it. I look around the room, they are all watching TV, (with the found remote).

Me: Did you noticed the microwave, I say as they look at me. By this time I have the remainder of microwave popcorn smoldering and burning on the tray, and place it out the door.

Them: What is wrong with this product, it says microwave for up to 5 minutes.

Me: or until it stops popping, most occasions in under 3 minutes.

Them, Silly microwave, you should have it looked at.

Me, examining the Microwave: Ah I think you have burnt the wall of the oven, (and stunk out the room and upper floor).

Them: Never mind, you should fix these broken doors, (these are sliding doors that open the bath tub into the room, most people know how to work sliding doors).
 

Me: Okay just pull them together like this (demonstrating sliding doors).

Them: oh the silly things didn’t work before.

Me: Funny that...

So sitting down to cold dinner phone rings.

Me: Hi room 21.

Them: How do we get an outside line to call a pizza place.

Me: on the phone handset there is a sticker that says push one for outside line.

Them: Oh how can I see that when I pick up the phone?

Me: You are dead right, I never thought about not putting a sticker on the phone.

Them: And by the way, there is an issue with the pull out bed.

Me: Would you like me to come and put it together?

Them: It might be hard because it is broken.

Me: How?

Them: Not sure my husband thinks it was broken before we got here.

Me: I will come up.

I come up the stairs to hear their door slam, and the sound of broken plastic, the microwave which is placed beside the door, has its door jammed in the door way, (sorry I know that sounds confusing, but with over 20k guests we have never had the microwave busted).
 

I enter and Mrs. Them is standing holding the microwave door shut, Mr. Them is staring at a broken bar in his hand from the pull out sofa.

Me: What seems to be the problem?

Them: When I tried to pull out the bed this bar fell on the ground.

Me: Mmm did you lift the lever like I showed you before?

Them: There was no lever, and I think you must of damaged it when you showed me.

Me: Okay we will sort this out later; I fixed up the bed, and wedge the broken bar back into place.

Me: Okay anything else?

Them: I want to tell you we are Doctors and are very intelligent people, never have we had so much trouble as we have encountered staying here.

Me: Good night.

20 Minutes later the phone rings.

Them: how do was shut these sliding door properly?

Me, I will come up and wedge them shut.

Them: Okay.

Enter the room the Microwave is sitting on the bench, the door squ-wiff (ignore the door).

Me: What is the problem with the doors? 



Them: these doors are terrible, the will not shut at all, our daughter can see me through the gap,.

Me: what gap?

Them: This gap, showing a door that is now off the rails: I fix the doors and leave.

30 minutes later the phone rings, it is now about 9.30 pm.

Them: We want to use the laundry to wash our clothes.

Me: Sorry the laundry is closed, because we don’t want to wake up the other guests.

Them: Don’t be silly, we will be quiet.

Me: The laundry is closed, you can get up early in the morning and use it before 8am.

The next day they checked out early, settled their account. I went up to the room, it was totally trashed, the microwave was stuffed, there was rubbish all over the floor, human waste from the young boy left by the rubbish bin.

What proceeded next was a battle as I used their credit card to pay for new microwave, and extra cleaning costs.



I don't think that I have ever had such annoying guests, I know that this is long, but believe me it is the shortened version!



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