Monday, March 7, 2011

If you run a motel, you might not like what I’m about to say?

We see that a friend of the Motella Blog and founder of, Genevieve Atkinson has written a post about the changing face of (inbound) tourism. 
She offers some thought-provoking and provocative stuff - we like that! 
"If you reading this – maybe you will. Why? because your online and you’re reading a blog – both indicators that you have embraced the online world. Many haven’t and in the accommodation industry you simply must be online. 
Yes I’m sure there are a few isolated incidences of properties that get away with it, but for the 99%, if you’re not on the internet every day as an accommodation provider you’re dead in the water. 
Well that's obvious, what’s not to like about that? 
Each quarter the market share numbers come out and there is a continual shift from the Bed & Breakfast and Motel industry to the Hotel sector. Small but significant. Why? 
Well there are lots of reasons and one of the more subtle was highlighted in this news piece recently “Changing face of Tourism”. 
The type of traveller entering the country is changing. The ever present Brit in a campervan or German tourists camping, that stay for 4-6 weeks and venture to the smallest locales are not coming. Or not in the same numbers anyway – but our inbound numbers are being propped up by the burgeoning Chinese middle class. Who come in groups, on packages and tours. They stay a shorter length of time and see only what’s included by the tour leader. And some would argue a fairly sanitised version of the country – the Maori cultural show at the Chinese restaurtant.
Oh I can hear the cringes and tut tutting.

But I’ll throw that one back at you? Whose been to China? I have. Where did I eat, some Chinese places but after puking my guts our for 4 days, I can tell you I was never more pleased to see McDonalds. I saw a Chinese cultural performance – eating ” dumplings”, surrounded by Westerners – it was pretty awful, but I was on a tour. The advantages of the tour far outweighed the disadvantages of a few meals and not quite getting the “locals” experience. So let us be fair here. 

Do we like this new shift in traveller?

Of course not – it’s awkward and hardwork, we like tourists who arrive and can speak English, read the signs, make their own decisions and hire cars. (Maybe as an aside there, given the comments about ethnic drivers that are often made – are we really all that keen to have our new travelers hiring cars. Before you rip into me – I’d like to put up my little “irony”,  joking sign!”.) 

We have been spoilt. 

Many of the travellers arriving here from Europe, speak pretty good English and if they don’t at least they use the same alphabet. When I was in China, I was stunned at the difficulty of getting around. The language is so foreign that it’s even difficult to recognise the right stop on the subway. As you simple can’t regonise the symbols as words in the same way we do in French and German.
Is the Motel indsutry set up to deal with change?. Not at all. 

What does this have to do with being online.

It’s taken the Motel and B&B Indsutry a long time to embrace the internet and online sales – often they don’t like reliqnishing control of whose buying the room. Which can be understandable, but in our fast-past changing sector, it’s holding them back. Just having a website is such a minor part, now there is channel management, multiple booking channels, social media and accommodation reviews. 

Most of don’t like change – it’s awkward and hard-work, but it is the speed at which we can embrace it, work with it and see the advantages along with the negative that defines how well we survive.

If our ability to move with the times, embrace change, even we don’t like it – defines our success. Then the shift change in travellers is bad news for the Motel and B&B industry. We must prepare ourselves to deal with a different kind of traveller. One that might not speak much English. Currently they are coming on packages, which is to our disadvantage but as we venture into China independently so too the reverse.

I just wonder that if we can’t be open-minded about change in the way we sell our rooms, then how are we ever going to cope with the change of whose buying them."
Source: Click HERE

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