Friday, June 10, 2011

Qualmark Announces Split.

Only a month after introducing new branding, we see that Qualmark NZ have announced today that they intend to split the existing self Contained and Serviced accommodation category into two new sector categories in order to differentiate "Motels" from "Apartments."

The existing Self Contained and Serviced category includes motels, motor lodges, motor inns, motel apartments, serviced apartments and serviced holiday cottages.

It appears that the two new accommodation sector categories will be most likely named "Motel Apartments" and "Serviced Apartments" from the 1st of September. 

While for years unable to provide clear advocacy in the elongated Self Contained and Serviced criteria review, the motel industry has devoted a lot of time and wasted emotional energy into what trade name Qualmark should use to describe the "motel" accommodation sector. Many moteliers consider the generic term, Serviced and Self Contained having little relevance with an accommodation category that is largely made-up of motels. There is a sensitivity about the perceived poor recognition the odd time the term Serviced and Self Contained is presented to the travelling public. Many moteliers have also long harboured a wet-dream to promote and separate themselves apart from those pesky apartments. 

I'm not totally sold on the concept of separation.

Many moteliers have an unhealthy inferiority complex to their perceived flash-harry apartment sector cousins and will be celebrating the removal of apartment businesses from "their" sector. I suspect that the old-school seasoned campaigners that have long since advocated separation will be under the illusion that with the competition removed, motels will somehow now have a fairer crack at the stars. 
Moteliers are quick to point-out the perceived unfair operating advantages apartments enjoy with differing ownership structures, council rating and Building Act interpretations etc, however this can be played out on a different stage. While motels and apartments started off life in very different camps, the two sectors have a lot in common and in time I can see them morphing together. 
Purely from a guest perspective the main difference between apartments and motels would appear to be that most apartment units are built on top of one another while motel units are built alongside one another. This is of course not strictly true and guests would find it difficult to tell the difference between the two sectors and more importantly they probably don't care.
I can see that there are more advantages keeping motels and apartments under the one sector group that is benchmarked under a common quality criteria as it is now.
In my opinion the motel industry will be the loser in the proposed separation and there is a risk that they will quickly become the poor second cousin to the new Serviced Apartments sector. 

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