Saturday, June 30, 2012

Saturday Inspiration

The motel is quiet...Great to have the kids home. They fill a large space in our home. 

While watching YouTube videos with the family on a lazy Saturday....the following video didn't look promising. I played it anyway...I'm glad I did.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Blogging Lite

Mrs Motella and I are off for some much needed R & R, leaving the motel in the good hands of our relievers.

After going online and surprisingly finding some great flights, we will be making our way to the deep south with Air New Zealand. Looking forward to boosting the domestic tourism economy while spending some time on the other side of the counter, playing the role of a customer.

The Motella secret lair will be unoccupied for the next week or so, but I'll be updating the odd pithy observation via Facebook and Twitter ...


Wotif Release iPhone App....At Last

I see that Aussie Online Travel Agency, Wotif.com has soft-launched their new iPhone App yesterday by announcing its release to their 80,000 + friends on its Facebook Page. 

Interestingly, Wotif were one of the market leaders in mobilising their consumer website and unlike its major Northern hemisphere competitors, held back on releasing a native mobile app...until now.

The strategy seems to have worked with Wotif maintaining a good chunk of the online accommodation booking space in Australia and New Zealand, turning over US$1.1 billion worth of bookings per year for the 10,000 accommodation providers in Australia and New Zealand and 7,000 in Southeast Asia listed on its site.

A quick test drive of the app quickly reveals that it is extremely user friendly and intuitive.

The user is prompted to either search properties in their immediate location or type in a location. While tapping in a location, the auto complete option will quickly prompt and land the user where they want to go. The check-in screen gives over-sized buttons that prompts the user to enter the date of check-in and number of nights.

The next screen takes the user to the property listing page that only displays properties with availability and ranked in order of quality. For New Zealand accommodation options presented, this will be a mixture of Qualmark star ratings (star icons) and property self ratings (circle icons).

From a customer perspective, displaying properties in quality order is the most logical and this is the default option, however the user can easily filter the results by ranking properties: "cheapest first" or by "hotel name."

On the property listing page, the user can quickly alternate between the property listings and a customisable map interface.

Once a property is selected, the property page displays a selection of pictures and usual property descriptions along with room types available.

The booking process is much like the familiar Wotif desktop website interface making it quick and easy for the customer to complete a reservation from their iPhone.

Wotif will be closely monitoring the immediate reaction from their Facebook community in order to iron out any immediate bugs before their app is announced via mainstream media.

From what I can see, it's a great app. There is no great ground-breaking new features that can't be found on other accommodation apps, however a lot of time has been spent getting the look and feel just right.

If Kiwi based accommodation apps are to compete head to head, they will need to dump the model of appeasing different stratas of property advertisers and shift their focus to the needs of the end user - studying Wotif's new app would be a good start...

After a long wait, the app should make it easy for Wotif's customer base with an iPhone to make an impromptu accommodation reservation in their living rooms, during television ad breaks while relaxing on the couch...

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Reality Check For The Motel Industry - Part 2

The Motel Association of NZ (MANZ) seem to have taken a bizzare position against overseas based Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) with an alarmist opinion piece that has been widely circulated in various publications - Read it HERE.

In the second of a two-part post, Tania Witheford, managing director of Staah.com takes a more realistic tact and urges the motel industry to stop grizzling, catch up to the realities of an evolving world and make informed decisions when choosing marketing opportunities with OTAs - no matter where they are domiciled.

Tanya responds to the quotes (in green) that have been extracted from comments written by MANZ CEO, Michael Baines:
“ the fact they are not investing back into New Zealand. They have no vested interest in ensuring that New Zealand-owned businesses prosper, as the New Zealand based online reservation companies do.”
Whether the business is on or offshore based the reality is they are all commercial operations  with stakeholders to please, and business objectives to meet. Ultimately these operations rely on their established databases and brands to drive traffic, increase databases, sales and conversions.

Many of the OTA’s have worked or work with  TNZ in varying forms  and/or a number of regional RTO’s to help improve the visibility of the regions to their consumers and databases, above and below the line advertising.

The offshore OTA’s have recognised and established brands, with users and databases in markets that the average property could not be readily seen and this means accessibility, value and opportunity .
“Secondly, a number of the off shore booking companies are, in essence, high jacking the name of properties by bidding on Google search engines for use of the name and providing a booking link at the top of any Google search page”.
The consumer has the choice. The information is available; there is no cloaking of names or entities. The monies are being invested on paid search adword campaigns and website optimisation, with the aim of increasing the visibility of the OTA’s website and the name of the property concerned to increase sales. Good or bad? This can be argued, however  make sure your own website is of a good standard, is current, invest in good site construct and optimise, participate in applicable social media, so that when the consumer decides to find the source website they can do so easily and when they get there, their needs are meet, reservation and payment can be made securely online.
“In actual fact, looking at the advertising blurbs that come through my computer, the international based companies are always promoting “sales” and trying to push down prices as much as possible"
Let’s turn this around. Retailer’s know that a special or promotion for a nominated period stimulates the market and a “good value price” can spur sales, impulsive or otherwise.   Therefore  you need to understand your pricing structure, your tolerances, know value can be added with high perceived benefits and how participation will meet your objectives.

There are a variety of OTA’s and each engage with their consumer very differently. The way OTA’s works and presents information to a customer should be understood. Some run varying “offers or sales” around which they build additional advertising and exposure and the properties have a choice to participate or not. As there is “NO cost” for participation except for commission on success – where else could you have opportunity with this level of exposure.
On other sites  promotion is managed differently some vary commission levels for a period of time in exchange for the exposure, again all success based promotion.

So if you plan and have a good pricing structure in place,  these can be managed and participated in when the business deems it beneficial and align with objectives.

What about all the voucher based sites - now that is another discussion as well – How to use and when to use? Is this type of  activity good for business? Is this discounting or a promotional “sales and marketing” activity? 

In summary 

As the business owner,  the choice is yours.  Make informed decisions and understand how the variety of different tools can be employed within your business to meet  your business plan objectives. Embrace online, as  it is all about visibility. Invest time to understand the OTA websites you choose to participate on and invest in your own website and presence. It is easier for a business with focus on a smaller set of keywords and terms to potentially elevate visibility.

Own your decisions and take responsibility, review price structure, offers and tolerances. Meet the market and do not be afraid to innovate. Sitting there and waiting for business to “come to you” will guarantee you one thing –  you will sit there! 

Positive Security Cams

Busy weekend with the motel near full, trying to catch up on all those jobs we've been putting off before we go away later this week...

We still managed to watch a few YouTube videos between drinks....one of our favorites is an innovative campaign from Coke. I guess they need to lay on the charm offensive as regulators attempt to "protect" a small element of the public that are unable to cope with the responsibility of personal choice. 

This is very cool...

Friday, June 15, 2012

Motel WIN

Interesting case played out in the High Court this week with a French travel agency, Groupe Couleur taking-on Emerald Inn on Takapuna beach in the High Court in Auckland after its accommodation booking for the Rugby World Cup was cancelled by the motel.

The media sparked interest due to the motel being owned by high-profile, multi-millionaire businesswoman Diane Foreman (pictured).

The case proved that the motel suffered damages due to the travel agency reneging on their agreement by changing booking arrangements and not paying deposit installments as agreed. The motel cancelled the reservation and retained the deposit paid. The High Court decision ordered the travel agency to reimburse the motel for the difference between the accommodation rate agreed and what the rooms where able to be sold for when the RWC didn't live-up to its hype.

Even with the extenuating circumstances of the RWC, the motel held the rooms in good faith for the exclusive occupation of the travel agency during a time when other business (that may or may not have agreed to pay the same the same price or better) would have been turned away. 

Groups can be a vexing issue, especially when an agency block books allocations of rooms on the assumption that they will be able to on-sell. The importance of a motel having a robust agreement is highlighted in this case and when dealing with overseas entities it is imperative to include a clause that dictates the country where legal recourse is to be served.

How it played out: 
  • Under the agreement, the travel agency was to front-up with 50 per cent of the accommodation costs as a non-refundable deposit, paid in installments amounting to more than $340,000.
  • $136,000 was paid, there were delays with the remainder and changes to the booking.
  • By November 2010, the motel "had run out of patience" with the agency and told it the "agreement was at an end and the deposits that were paid were forfeited."
  • The travel agency claimed that the motel "had no right to retain the deposits" and it would be dishonest to do so. 
  • In the High Court, the travel agency sued for the return of the deposit and $202,840 in damages and legal costs.
  • The motel argued that the travel agency had breached its contract and filed a counterclaim for damages.
  • Although the motel re-let rooms for the cup after cancelling the booking, it argued it did not get the amount it would have under the agreement.
  • In his decision, Justice Murray Gilbert found in favour of the motel and ordered that the travel agency  pay $58,658 in addition to the deposit already paid.
Source: Click HERE

Jasons Travel Media Update

I see that Jasons Travel Media have released to the market its latest update for the year ending 31st March 2012.

Overall, Jasons seem to be tracking as expected, only marginally behind their 2011 full year financial results. While the results are unspectacular, Jasons can be relatively pleased with the way the year has progressed while trading in a difficult economic climate that included taking a hit from the fallout of the Christchurch earthquake.

The major strength in the business continues to be the distribution business unit with growth in the tourism brochure distribution network servicing over 2100 brochure displays. While everyone's focus seems to be online, end users are still reaching out for print. Brochures continue to be used as a significant marketing channel - particularly by tourism businesses.

Jasons periodical visitor guides throughout the country have experienced a steady growth in revenue, with the exception of the Christchurch.

Jasons Australian operations are also expected to contribute positively to the end of year results.

As expected, revenues in the accommodation sector print directories have softened and this has been attributed to: "a very difficult trading environment for many operators in the visitor accommodation sector and the continuing proliferation of global online accommodation booking sites."
 

While accommodation sector advertising revenues drop for Jasons, this has been partly offset by a rise in web commission revenues.


JTM Results Summary for Ye 31 March 2012

Thursday, June 14, 2012

A Reality Check For The Motel Industry - Part 1


I've long admired Tania Witheford. She has been involved in the travel industry for many years and is currently the managing director at Staah.com. Her position before that was General Manager (Accommodation) NZ at Wotif Group.

Tania is one of those rare selfless folk that willingly gives back and spends a lot of time as an unpaid consultant by offering the benefit of her experience to accommodation providers - particularly in the motel industry.

Tanya recently approached me and was uncharacteristically grumpy. Her usual sunny disposition had temporarily deserted her as she revealed her disappointment at the latest opinion piece from the Motel Association of NZ (MANZ) widely circulated in various publications. (Read it HERE).

Not wanting to see the motel industry languish in the past, Tanya has kindly put her thoughts in writing and characteristically offers a positive solution to move forward.

In the first of a two part post, Tanya's words of wisdom are worth reading by all motel operators:

 I  cannot sit on the sideline any longer  and watch the  ongoing beat up of “online travel “ agencies (OTA’s).  Whilst the OTA’s are certainly big enough to fight their own battles, my comments are meant to balance the  discussion rather than defend.

I refer to the article written by Michael Baines in the recent issue of Inside Tourism.

In 2003 when I first started with Wotif.com, the early adopters of OTA’s, predominantly from the hotel sector, embraced online as a means to quickly and effectively, market and sell rooms to a “new” audience via a medium that granted immediate gratification, and similarly results.  The traditional wholesale channels whilst effective were “slower”.  You could not release a promotion into the market place with immediate measurable effect  and results.

The internet, removed the geographical barriers and enabled individual properties to compete with the larger chain, leveling the playing field.  The emergence and growth of OTA’s has been  a natural progression, as they found opportunity to exploit the  appetite for shopping online and to meet the need of the consumer through presentation of a range of offers in an easy to use and  consistent format.

Other sectors of the accommodation industry have taken longer to utilize online tools effectively and continue to struggle with incorporating these components into their business for benefit.

At the moment:
  • Most OTA’s do not charge for participation on their websites.
  • Commission  Only (which varies by channel) therefore  results based. GST consideration or not.
  • OTA’s  invest heavily into their website visibility through search engine optimisation and adword campaigns.
  • To achieve this many OTA’s promote their website name in conjunction with the properties name participating on their website – this is not limited to the offshore OTA’s and most are clearly identified.
  • Many of the OTA’s have offices in New Zealand, employing anywhere from 1 – 9 staff each.
  • A number of the OTA’s invest in above and below advertising campaigns to promote New Zealand and its regions, including specific activities involving direct marketing activity with their own massive databases and partners alike. Onshore and offshore.
Need I remind you of those in the NZ market who were quick to desert a NZ based OTA last year when they implemented new business commercial terms, which asked for a relatively small annual participation fee and a commission for success.  These are the same businesses who  over the years have paid significant fees for print/online advertising and not attributed or equated these fees to commission or cost of sale. These too are the same businesses who will pay for advertising on sites that provide a more gunshot approach rather than a targeted approach without result or raise their prices on commission paying sites by x% because they have to pay a commission.

AA and Jasons,  have had to revisit their business models and plans to incorporate  online, not only for the consumer but also for their paying advertiser.  These two businesses, differentiate themselves as an online resource to their customer, integrating the online and print media together with the diversity of offer to direct traffic  and business to their advertiser.   
There are more serious issues in the NZ accommodation sector to be addressed:
  • Rates  strategy and positioning
  • Value – representation and understanding
  • Offers – innovation
  • Sales and Marketing – online/offline
  • Sustainability.
  • Profitability
Many of our accommodation providers under value themselves, most too afraid to move rates /offers and many have not done so in a very long time. 

Whilst I appreciate the ideal for an accommodation provider may be for  all bookings to be via one’s OWN website, you need to remember;  the consumer decides how they search and book, based on an increasing number of triggers, options and influencing factors, including the social media and review sites alike.

And we cannot forget the search engines, as they evolve rapidly,  they ultimately play an  even more significant role as traffic director,   dictating what  results are viewed based on previous search behaviours among a multitude of other factors.

So as an accommodation provider what can you do?
  • Have a good website of your own
  • Ensure you own your domain name
  • Ensure your website has good functionality and facilitates online bookings
  • Invest in the ongoing visibility of your website
  • Consider each OTA or similar as a tool that is available for you to use in your business. 
  • Consciously make a decision about your online partners and how they fit your requirements.
  • Engage with and understand the  OTA
  • Take control and understand the terms of engagement with ANY distribution partner:
  1. Market reach
  2. Market segment/demographic
  3. Visibility
  4. Results
  5. Commission
  6. Payment method
  7. Support
  • Rates /Offers – revisit position
Invest in your own website.  If you are paying commissions to OTA’s why not spend at a minimum  the equivalent of  what you spend on advertising with an external partner and/or in commission paid.
...Tanya will follow up in another post, by providing a reality check to the individual issues outlined in MANZ's opinion piece.

Funding Tourism?

It is the season of submissions to local council's long term plans around the country and it is interesting to follow the mixed messages from tourism groups as regional tourism funding goes under the blowtorch.

Collectively, councils dole out millions of dollars in corporate welfare in the name of tourism. Councillors like to be seen promoting tourism ventures. Compared to their own dreary lives, tourism is cool, wind-swept and exciting. The photo-ops are tantalizing and bearded, cardigan-wearing councilors have recurring wet-dreams about of running their own dynamic tourism business. While councils have a habit of subsidising the tourism sector, the tourism industry have become addicted to welfare and have lost sight of real net benefits. 

There is a new wind sweeping through local government that is giving lip-service to the rhetoric that nonessential "public good" areas of public expenditure need to more rigorously demonstrate a clear public good or be privately financed by those with a vested interest. Most rational business-minded folk believe in this mantra, however this means that many aspects of tourism funding need to rationalised along with other expenditure.

Tourism representatives should be joining mainstream business groups in their call to reign-in councils that have strayed into areas well beyond their core services. This includes fanciful spending on social, economic, cultural and environmental pet-projects. Councils should be exiting assets that are better managed in the private sector. ...and rationalising tourism expenditure. 

While there is a risk that some non performing tourism events or infrastructure may be abolished, tourism groups don't seem to have a desire or acumen to qualify the benefits of tourism funding by councils. As a consequence they may be saddled with an onerous targeted rates regime that return dubious benefits.

In Napier we have a local motel representative demanding an Obama style stimulus injection of $500,000 into the RTO to "create jobs, better market the area and align tourism services" - there is no mention of any cost-benefit-analysis or how this spend-and-hope proposal could be funded?

Meanwhile the Tourism Industry Association under new CEO, Martin Snedden have parked an ambulance at the bottom of the cliff by issuing a media release that kicks-back at the daft proposal by Napier and Hastings mayors to introduce a dreaded Bed Tax:
Proposed bed tax on visitors discriminatory

The bed tax on visitors being proposed by Napier and Hastings mayors is a ‘lazy tax’ that will unfairly penalise travellers who stay in commercial accommodation such as hotels and motels, says the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA).

Proposed bed tax on visitors discriminatory

The bed tax on visitors being proposed by Napier and Hastings mayors is a ‘lazy tax’ that will unfairly penalise travellers who stay in commercial accommodation such as hotels and motels, says the Tourism Industry Association New Zealand (TIA).

“It won’t capture the many visitors who stay privately with friends and family or those who stay in rented homes for example,” says TIA Chief Executive Martin Snedden.

“It also doesn’t target other businesses that benefit from visitors such as vineyards, restaurants, bars and caf├ęs, supermarkets and petrol stations.”

Mr Snedden says New Zealanders as well as international visitors will be hit by the tax.
“Kiwis who pay council rates in their own region will have to fork out again for another tax when they holiday in the Hawke’s Bay.

“A bed tax is also expensive to administer. Major hotels would need to employ extra staff just to process the red-tape associated with a bed tax on visitors.

“It will leave accommodation operators with the stark choice of increasing prices or absorbing costs in order to stay competitive in an already difficult trading environment. Many tourism businesses operate on slim margins, so absorbing the cost of a bed tax may risk the viability of some smaller operators such as backpacker hostels and B & Bs.

“I will be writing to both mayors outlining the industry’s position on bed taxes and why we do not support them and suggesting alternative rating proposals for them to consider.”

Mr Snedden says a bed tax will make visitors feel they are being unfairly used as a cash cow when they already pay GST of $1.7 billion annually, pump millions of dollars into local economies and support thousands of jobs, not only directly in tourism but all the downstream businesses that also benefit from the visitor economy.

“We are seeing an unwelcome trend from councils in many parts of the country to unfairly penalise people for visiting their regions.

“TIA only supports targeted rates if such a rate is evenly distributed across all businesses and the revenue generated from the rate is reinvested into tourism promotion and visitor infrastructure and services.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Qualmark Stiffed By Hackers


I see that Qualmark NZ's website was hacked last week in an act of cyber terrorism.

Potential travellers searching for New Zealand quality rated tourism products were subjected to online offers to buy viagra and cialis.

This is embarrassing for an image conscious organisation that is fighting for credibility and relevancy in the tourism industry. This serious security breach will require a reasonable amount of scarce funding to be diverted to resurrect the website and beef up security.

To their credit, Qualmark were reasonably quick to advise their quality assured operators in a newsletter email blast and have taken the site offline while they work on it in the background. 

Unfortunately the fall-out will continue for some time, as any current Google search relating to Qualmark will bring up dozens of individual pages in the search results with cached descriptions that boldly offer various male enhancement products.



Maybe Qualmark could use this as an opportunity to start quality assessments on products that treat erectile dysfunction?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Motel Pillow Menu

The bed is a big part of the guest experience and we've noticed a few motels emulating their big hotel cousins and are starting to introduce pillow menus...

 Source: Motivator Motel

You are not special

English teacher David McCullough, Jr.’s faculty speech to Wellesley High School's Class of 2012 last week has become a viral YouTube sensation...
"You are not special. You are not exceptional.

Contrary to what your u9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you… you’re nothing special.

Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped. Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again. You’ve been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored. You’ve been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie. Yes, you have. And, certainly, we’ve been to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs. Absolutely, smiles ignite when you walk into a room, and hundreds gasp with delight at your every tweet. Why, maybe you’ve even had your picture in the Townsman! And now you’ve conquered high school… and, indisputably, here we all have gathered for you, the pride and joy of this fine community, the first to emerge from that magnificent new building…

But do not get the idea you’re anything special. Because you’re not."

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Are Motels Being Exploited By Offshore OTAs?

I see that the Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ) have been sucked into believing the alarmist protectionist chants from local travel media companies that are feeling the heat from successful overseas Online Travel Agencies (OTAs).

Under the dramatic banner of: Tourism dollars heading offshore MANZ chief executive, Michael Baines utilizes some fuzzy economic logic as he ponders the consequences of overseas competition from OTAs: 
"When tourists book accommodation here through domestic providers, it ensures the commission stays within New Zealand and is reinvested into our economy, Baines said.

But Baines said he is worried about the international booking providers.

"When a tourist from Europe, Asia or America books accommodation through one of the big international booking agencies, that is commission that is lost to our tourism sector."

That means New Zealand is missing out on up to 10 per cent of the booking cost and accommodation providers here cannot reclaim GST paid on that commission because it is zero-rated for GST.
"These companies have no vested interest in New Zealand and our tourism sector; they are only there to clip the ticket," Baines said.

"They charge a commission which is not reinvested into our economy, and does not contribute to the wages or taxes which keep our economy afloat."

Baines argues that international booking agencies are squeezing local accommodation providers by forcing them to push down prices in order to drive sales.

The Government and tourism sector need to join forces to look at ways to stop cash flowing offshore, he said.

"Perhaps it's timely to consider introducing a Commissioner for Small Businesses that can go in to bat for these companies that employ locally, pay taxes and make sure profits remain within New Zealand."
So MANZ is promoting the meme of big bad foreign-owned OTAs preying upon New Zealand's tourism sector and apparently the government needs to do something about it... 

Overseas OTAs appear to be widening the gap ahead of local businesses that resell accommodation inventory. Kiwi accommodation providers that want to be where the bulk customers are, willingly provide room inventory across numerous OTAs - all of the popular ones happen to be domiciled offshore.

To be successful, OTAs commoditise and display accommodation options into a logical order so that customers can intuitively compare and make selections. They enable accommodation operators to easily access their platform to place their rooms alongside others to gain the benefits of being exposed to a world market. They operate on a highly motivational and accepted pay-on-success formula (commission) ie: the more rooms OTAs sell - the more money they make. They have developed trusted brands known world-wide by investing millions in their infrastructure and advertising. And most importantly, they make it easy for customers to part with their credit cards to book accommodation with confidence - that's kind if a good thing. 

I have a nostalgic liking for our Kiwi based travel media companies and OTAs. I am happy to support them, however if they wish to remain relevant to my business they need to compete in a world market by innovation, appealing to the end user and improving productivity. Sadly, some have a way to go...

A cloth-capped closed market mentality and xenophobia has no place in a modern open economy. Heads of travel related industries should be leading the charge to break down barriers, not running to the government for protectionist measures.

Opposing overseas based providers is naive and just plain silly. Open world markets allow accommodation providers the freedom to compare local providers with overseas providers of merchant services, VoIP, Property Management Software, channel management, movie streaming, booking widgets, website design, web hosting and many more innovative, cost-effective services.

What is disappointing about MANZ,s apparent protectionist stance is that this will entrench the blinkered-silly-old-man-syndrome that is already inflicting the motel industry.

Sadly MANZ will be widely applauded for standing up against those evil foreign-owned OTAs by a motel industry that is struggling to adapt in a rapidly evolving digital world.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Obtaining accommodation by deception?

The wheels of the justice system seem to be turning excruciatingly slowly as Police continue to investigate complaints of alleged dodgy mortgage deals by Kerry Buddle. 

It is alledged that Buddle, a former mortgage broker, owes about $2.5 million after persuading clients to lend her money after they had mortgaged their properties. Five people say they have had to sell their homes when Buddle did not repay their money. 

While police are investigating these serious accusations, we've been following Buddle's relatively minor charges of obtaining accommodation by deception (ie: skipping).

Media reports on Buddle have stalled as the legal system grinds slowly forward, however we see that the Dominion Post have obtained written statements that were used by police in Wellington District Court last year in support of putting Buddle on trial to face four charges of obtaining by deception. It is unclear why a court date has yet to be set.
A motel owner, sceptical that alleged loan scammer Kerry Buddle was ever going to pay for accommodation, learned through a television programme that she was wanted on fraud-related matters. 

Marie Ann Hickey, of Motel 22, Lower Hutt, said she had been pressing Buddle for a $722 payment in June last year. 

The transaction was declined when she tried to bill the credit card of which Buddle had given details when she booked the motel. 

In her court statement, Ms Hickey said Buddle booked a motel unit for June 4. On June 5 she asked to extend her stay. Buddle was asked to pay, but still had not done so by June 10, when she said she would pay the next day. Ms Hickey noticed a male visiting Buddle's unit each night.

That evening Ms Hickey watched a television news story and realised it was about Buddle who was wanted on "fraud-related matters". 
It would appear once the heat went on Buddle, she simply checked-in to another motel that was only 2km away, but this time used an alternative method of deferring payment.
Angus Inn front office manager Arvin Singh said Buddle booked into the hotel on June 10 and stayed for 10 nights.

He became concerned that she would not pay and she gave him a credit card number in the name of Shane Storey, who she said was her business partner who had given her authority to use it.

Mr Singh charged $1289.44 to the card.

Shane Storey, a Palmerston North accountant, said he had previously had a business relationship with Buddle. In February 2011 he gave her his credit card number to sign up for an internet phone system she was selling.

In late June his credit card statement contained entries he had no idea about. After speaking to the manager of the Angus Inn, he texted Buddle to find out why she had been using his credit card.

She responded repeatedly by text, and eventually by email, saying she had made a mistake with her records and would sort it out.

She asked why she would do something like that "with all the media coverage I have at the moment".
Buddle, that appears to have traits of overestimating reality, has previously claimed that she has done nothing wrong.
Up until now, we wonder how Buddle has been supporting herself and if the goodwill of other motel properties has been exploited? 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Adultery via Twitter

You are a cool and sophisticated guy - a lot of folk have said as much. You are on a plane and find yourself seated next to a gorgeous model! Why not lay on that good 'ol smooth folksy charm. What's the harm in that. No one will find out ...
"Tip for modern adulterers: If you’re planning to cheat on your wife of 10 years by awkwardly hitting on the model seated next to you on your flight out of Los Angeles, make sure she isn’t live-tweeting the entire miserable experience to her 13,000 followers"






















Moteliers - What we really do

Click for a larger image

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Motel Marriage

One of the successful dynamics of many small businesses is the combination of a husband and wife team that own and run a business - this is particularly prevalent in motels. They throw themselves into the business and with the one partner closely critiquing the other, there is no time to welsh on the job at hand.

Employment laws don't apply to a husband and wife business owners that will generally work 7-days and if they are honest with themselves, this often below the minimum wage for their efforts. Although they work hard, the husband and wife business owners are passionate about what they do (at least in the beginning) so are motivated to succeed. It's amazing how highly motivated someone becomes in order to try and stay afloat after borrowing a large wad of cash from a bank to purchase a business.

Working alongside your significant other does have its advantages and when it works, its a formidable force against other business combinations. The trouble is when things go wrong rational thinking gets thrown out the window and unfortunately I've seen many examples. Often it's hard to fathom what came first - was it the break down in the relationship? or was it the business starting to struggle over hard times?

Most people compartmentalise their lives by separating their marriage, family and business into nicely transferable commodities. When a husband and wife purchase a motel, suddenly everything is brought together under one roof - for a small majority this has the makings of an explosive outcome.

I was interested to read about a husband and wife that purchased a Whangarei motel business for $620,000 in 2006. Less than 4-years later the "flourishing" business was brought to its knees and the landlord took over after the rent was unable to be covered.

The wife blamed the husband for the business's demise due to his alleged irrational and self-destructive business decisions that occurred as the dysfunction in their relationship escalated. It was reported that the husband withdrew from most of the day-to-day operation of the business and allegedly froze the company's bank account by falsely notifying the company's bank that Ms McKay had been removed as a director via his solicitor.

Further sabotage occurred by the husband allegedly instructing suppliers not to deal with his wife and  thwarting the sale of the businesses.

The wife won compensation of $293,071, plus legal costs in the High Court against her estranged husband. The immediacy of receiving anything from this judgement would appear to be uncertain with the hapless wife claiming to have lost all of her life savings and is about to lose her home due to a mortgagee sale.

So, the moral to this story is....if you are a man that plans to purchase a business with your spouse - play nicely with your wife!

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