Saturday, October 27, 2012

More Motel Hell...

Goodness me! Roving reporter, Michelle Sutton from the Nelson Mail has caused a bit of a stir amongst Nelson moteliers after her syndicated Fairfax newspaper article was published last week (covered in our previous post below).

The article painted a bleak picture for Nelson's motel sector by claiming that there is a trend for hard-up local motels to offer long-term accommodation to offset reduced visitors. The article identified three examples of properties offering long-term accommodation: a former motel that now operates as residential flats offering rooms for $200 to $250 a week and two operating motels offering weekly rooms for $260 and $280.

While two operating motels offering long-term accommodation is hardly a trend, it was reported that "other Nelson moteliers said they took long-term residents in winter, but normally for up to a month only."

Adding to the cringe-worthy publicity,  a follow up story published yesterday headlined local social groups giving Nelson Moteliers a back-handed compliment by praising them for offering furnished long-term accommodation to the great unwashed:
"Salvation Army Nelson community manager Major Jill Knight said long-term, furnished rooms rented out by motels and backpacker hostels were helping to ease demand for urgent accommodation.
The situation was on track to be the same as last year, when more residents became homeless, living in cars and garages, she said."
In her latest article, Michelle Sutton claims to have been issued an eviction notice from one of the motels featured in her newspaper article. Does this mean her breaking story was mainly sourced from interviewing her x-landlord?

It has also been reported that some fellow Nelson Motel Association members angered by the weekly rates reported in the article wanted to have one of the the featured motels offering long-term accommodation banished from their local branch.

Nelson moteliers can be be forgiven for a collective face palm moment. Leading into a busy Summer period, they would be over-sensitive to negative publicity that incorrectly paints their industry as down-at-heel and offering knock-down rates.

Hopefully this type of regrettable publicity will serve as a real-life lesson in dealing with media and only provide short-term titillation for readers.....However, does this also signal potential problems ahead for the entire motel sector across New Zealand.
  • Just how does the general public perceive the overall quality and value that motels offer as a collective accommodation option? 
  • How can the motel sector raise the bar and improve an image that is probably taking a hit as properties age, quality levels spread and alternative competitive accommodation sectors emerge?
  • Who is going to take responsibility?

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