Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Air NZ's Latest Safety Vid

Air New Zealand is the undisputed king of Kiwi promotion across all media channels. One of their many successes is making the pre-flight safety videos a must-see.

Not only do passengers stop what they're doing and watch, the quirky videos are widely viewed outside the planes via social media channels and this helps build the brand.

The new safety video gives us a welcome rest from Hobbiton and features internationally known British adventurer and television personality, Bear Grylls along with a few familiar Kiwi faces and iconic natural scenery.

An airline company taking the p*ss and providing entertainment during what used to be a somber pre-flight safety briefing risks ridicule...but Air New Zealand has managed to inject fun into this process and does it well.

Worth a look...

More Social Responsible Tosh

One of the many reasons we created this blog was to provide an independent lone voice that challenges and offers a different view from the non-producers and "Pollyanna" left-leaning mainstream tourism media.

Cue Tourism Business, a bi-monthly dead-tree publication that often cut-and-paste shrill, left-wing slogans that are far removed from the realities of running a tourism business. I generally devote some time to flick through the contents, however this month's magazine was binned earlier than usual after the following tirade leaped from the inside-page editorial:
"A living Wage
Just as this magazine was heading to press a group of community and faith-based organisations and unions launched The Living Wage Aotearoa New Zealand campaign, to promote the goal of achieving a living wage as a necessary step in reducing inequality and poverty in New Zealand.

The group says that more and more New Zealanders don't get paid enough to meet their needs, enjoy their lives and participate in society.

The campaign's website describes a living wage as "the income necessary to provide workers and their families with the basic necessities in life. A living wage will enable workers to live with dignity and to participate as active citizens in society".

They are calling upon the government, employers and society as a whole "to strive for a living wage for all households as a necessary and important step in the reduction of poverty in New Zealand".

A report in the NZ Herald says that the living wage rate of $18.40 an hour, has been calculated by researchers at the Anglican Church's Family Centre.

And the truth be told parts of the tourism industry are amongst the lower payers across employment groups.

As a small business owner I am very aware of the pressures on any employer to ensure their business is sustainable. But it seems to me this campaign is very well worthwhile and something that the tourism sector as a whole could get behind and even promote to international visitors as something that tourism businesses are doing for the greater good...."
Not surprisingly, Mana, the unions, Labour and Greens would tend to enthusiastically agree with this sort of tosh out of misguided ignorance.

Disappointingly the editorial also seems to be parroting the sentiments of the Tourism Industry Association (TIA) that claim to be the voice of over 1,500 businesses.

We are predicting a new licensing regime that offers a badge to "responsible" businesses sucked into this propaganda so they may smugly display to the world that they are a feel-good social adjunct.

Tourism businesses operating in the real world that need to improve productivity, lower compliance costs and increase quality levels need to be better served than this... 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Travellers' Stress Tested At Airport

It is well known that travel can be stressful for many people. Airports (and motel receptions) can be ideal locations to witness a range of human emotions.

Skin care company, Nivea recently upped the ante at a German airport in an attempt to tip the stress levels of random travellers over the edge for a new multi-media marketing campaign.

Many of us obviously enjoy other perople's discomfort, as Nivea's video has been watched by almost 4.5 million voyeuristic viewers in just over a week.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Naked Man Locks Himself Out Of Hotel Room

Security cameras in public areas can catch some amzing scenes...including every travellers' worst nightmare.

Watch this viral video as the hotel guest room door locks behind a hapless man as he stands in the corridor naked.

The highly embarrassed guest seems to gain confidence as he makes his way to the reception desk.

What interests me is the reaction of the reception staff. Instead of quickly summing up the situation and using initiative, they default to script and ask for ID - hilarious!

Hat tip: Whale Oil

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Buy The MOTELA Personalised Plate

We've managed to secure a pair of personalised plates that shows the world that the car owner is proud of their respected profession: "MOTELA"
Dictionary Definition
Motella or Motela
Pronounced "Mo-tell-a"
More commonly known as “Motelier”
Noun - New Zealand colloquialism.
Origin: est 1973–93; origin uncertain.
A manager or owner of a motel, motor inn or motor lodge.
This is an incredible opportunity for a successful career motelier to secure ownership of these plates for a lifetime and affix them to their own motela-mobile.

We are running a simple tender process and have set a reserve that reflects the plate's uniqueness. If you have any questions please feel free to ask.

Simply send us your best bid to by the 10 March 2013.

Caravan Carnage

There is a common New Zealand psyche that dictates that when choosing holiday accommodation, Kiwis err on the side of...being miserable. That's why the number one preferred Kiwi holiday activity involves sponging free accommodation off friends and family.

Slightly higher up the food chain is a hard core of mean-spirited Kiwis that revel in clogging up the highways and visually polluting the scenery with cumbersome caravans and other assorted mobile motel-dodging camping paraphernalia.

Regular readers of this blog will appreciate my intolerance for caravans and any other form of camping. I'm not alone:

Jeremy Clarkson has been so outspoken about the blight of caravans that he has been stalked by disgruntled members from the the UK Caravan Society that have seen fit to protest outside his Top Gear television show

Fellow Top Gear host Richard Hammond has released an interactive DVD where the viewer is rewarded at the end with the chance to blow up a caravan. (Worth considering as a Christmas stocking filler for the kids).

Meanwhile in New Zealand we also have enlightened commentary on the scourge of caravan culture.

Media personality and car-nut, Paul Henry has been quoted: “Have you ever seen a caravan blow up? Oh, you can not get enough of watching caravans blow up. ..."

You just can't argue with logic like that!

Ex-W(h)anganui Mayor Michael Laws in one of his more insightful rants once said "Holiday parks are for people who can't afford motels."

In today's Herald On Sunday, I see that Jaquie Brown has joined the select group of insightful Kiwis dissing the scourge of caravan culture plaguing the nation. She has written the following succinct opinion piece in reaction to the reported trend of thieves stealing caravans:
"If I could get my hands on these people stealing caravans, I wouldn't be able to control myself.

I'd launch at them and savage them with ... hugs.

Yes sir, I'd kiss the living daylights out of them. They are doing what I've wanted to do for years.

I've often dreamed of forming a secret gang of vigilante motorists, clearing the roads of caravans and restoring peace and order to New Zealand highways.

The "Great Caravan Cull" is something I'd gladly get behind.

We all know you don't want to get behind an actual caravan on the road; holding us to ransom; dribbling along at 12km/h; swerving their big bottoms left to right; blocking the view.

I can't tell you how many summer road trips have ended with me sick and sweaty - spitting insults at the selfish road lump in front of us.

So whoever you are out there, stealing caravans: stand strong, be proud, and know you are doing right in the world".

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Motel Fraud

Oh dear! It looks like a former Taranaki motel manager went off the rails.

I wonder if you can run a motel if you are sentenced to home detention?
"A former Stratford motel manager and prolific gambler was yesterday convicted of conning trusting elderly people out of their savings after pleading guilty mid-trial.

Steven Francis Younger, 45, also admitted changing the names on Antonio Mews Motel cheques to the value of $5530.

The money was paid to the motel by sports teams who stayed there in July and August 2011..."
To read more: Click HERE

Whalers 1, Sea Shepherd 0

Great to hear news of the Japanese Whalers stepping up to the plate early this year by making a preemptive hit.

Yes, the Japanese are pushing the boundaries of harvesting a resource under the guise of scientific whaling, however they are legitimately in the South Sea and playing by the rulebook of international law - Unlike the rag-tag team of hypocritical pirates, lead by pathological liar, Paul Watson.

While we agree that whales are incredible, mystical creatures, we question the uninformed hysteria from groups with selective morality on harvesting natural resources.

It's interesting to read the media reports on the latest incident that parrot Sea Shepherd's claims that two of its boats were deliberately rammed. The more likely explanation is that Sea Shepherd illegally placed their vessels in the line of a powered-up Japanese vessel and faced harsh consequences - Diddums!

Funny how there is no video released by Sea Shepherd showing how those mean Japanese were at fault. Sea Shepherd, that heavily rely upon social media may have learned a valuable lesson from last season where video footage caught them out...

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Will This Be Another Emerging Accommodation Sector?

I must admit having an unhealthy disrespect for motel-dodging, road hogging caravans and campervans. I consider them to be a blight on the landscape and generally inhabited by mean-spirited misers that are too tight to pay-up for decent accommodation.

So please don't tell anyone, but I think a new proposed startup company that plans to act as a catalyst for owners of unused caravans and campervans languishing in Kiwi backyards to rent them out to others is onto a winner.

No doubt the idea for the new start up company was influenced from the apparent success of AA's Bookabach and TradeMe's Holidayhouses that operate a similar concept by matching owners of private holiday homes with short term renters.

Judging by the growing web traffic generated by Bookabach and Holidayhouses (and the excitable buzz amongst my wife's 40-something friends), it would appear that there is growing demand for alternative accommodation such as holiday rentals. It doesn't seem to be such a stretch to expect a similar success with a web-based business reselling private campervans.

The overall concept seems to fit-in well with the Kiwi psyche of trying new holiday experiences to save a dollar: ie most Kiwis have short arms and long pockets ;-)
Kiwis with a campervan in the driveway can soon earn income from renting out the holiday-on-wheels to other travellers, while they are stuck in the office.

At "54 hour startup sprint" Startup Weekend in Wellington from February 16-18, local IT sales executive Dean Goble's idea for person-to-person motor home rental and letting service WagonShare won from 30 ideas pitched.

Startup Weekend is a global initiative where concepts for companies are tested during an intensive period of brainstorming, networking and business planning under the guidance of experts such as professional angel investor Dave Moskovitz.

WagonShare, where people can rent caravans directly from the owners, was just an idea on Friday but now Goble has won prizes including $10,000 of Trade Me advertising, a domain name and $500 cash from Hyperstart to get the business off the ground.

While touring California, Utah, Nevada and Arizona recently on the trip of a lifetime with his wife, Louise, and three children, Rosemary, Matthias and Charlotte, 46-year-old Goble found the rental process for a temporary RV overly sterile.

"When it came to dealing with the big corporate motorhome vendors, I just thought there has got to be a better way, a nicer way, for someone to rent a motorhome from someone else who cares about the person's motorhome experience."

Motorhome owners cannot list their own vehicle for rent in New Zealand without a Transport Service Licence to operate a rental service, which WagonShare deals with. It will also handle insurance, roadside assistance services and payment processing on behalf of consumers and vehicle owners.
At the Startup Weekend Goble got his ideas down on paper, formulated a business plan and was given some background about running a business. Market validation came back with results that three-quarters of people surveyed would use WagonShare's service and another 19 per cent would consider it.

WagonShare's main income would come from a percentage of the rental fee but vehicle owners would set their own prices, letting the market decide what renters were prepared to pay. The website would have a rating and comments system for owners and renters to indicate satisfaction.

Goble would require motorhome owners to meet certain standards to have their vehicles certified.

Source: Click HERE

New Bates Motel Teaser

A lot of new footage for “Bates Motel” has been released as a teaser before the TV show debuts on Monday, March 18 in the States.
“In “Bates Motel,” following the tragic death of her husband, Norma Bates buys a motel on the outskirts of the idyllic coastal town of White Pine Bay, seeking a fresh start. As Norma and Norman get ensconced in their new home, they discover this town isn’t quite what it seems, and the locals aren’t so quick to let them in on their secrets. But the Bates’ are done being pushed around and will do whatever it takes to survive – and will do whatever it takes to protect their own secrets.” 
Hopefully we won't have to wait too long for it to air in New Zealand - It doesn't look too bad:

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Another TIA FAIL?

We have blogged before about our thoughts on the concept of politicians price-fixing a minimum wage upon businesses.
"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 whole discussion on Minimum Wage provisions have been escalated by unions and given a new softer, politically correct tagline "Living Wage".

I see that the Tourism Industry Association (TIA) are "consulting" with their membership on the left-wing driven concept of a "Living Wage" with the preposterous proposition that tourism businesses should lead they way and unilaterally increase wages.

I must admit that I can see why Trade Associations go through the process of consultation. It's a frustrating process, especially when you already know the correct answer. Judging by the bias, I suspect the TIA are starting this consultation process with the wrong answer!

What is interesting about the way TIA have presented their poll on the front page of their website (ignoring the fact that it's a silly proposition) is that the only "discussion" appears to be a hotlink to the left-leaning, shrill Living Wage website (Google it - I'm not providing a link).

If the TIA are unable to think sensibly on-their-feet and come-up with mainstream business friendly policies for the businesses they allegedly represent, surely they are obliged to provide a balanced debate during the charade of a consultation process?

Why not provide a link to a website that points out that raising the business costs for the businesses they represent during a continued stagnant time of economic growth is.....well, crazy!

Their membership may also wish to be informed that by imposing an unrealistic "price floor" you are ensuring that the most vulnerable will get hurt (Unions don’t care because they don’t represent the unemployed).

Why not point out that in order to increase wages, an environment of higher productivity is required?

The TIA may also wish to add some basic economics to the debate that dictates that by increasing wages without increasing productivity would in fact decrease employment.

It's about time tourism trade associations start hardening up, stop pandering to the left and start advocating a bit more smarter .

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Motel Guest WiFi - Benefits and Threats!

Wireless internet still seems to be the main must-have service that guests consistently ask about before they check-in. For many travellers, after a hard day's journey, the most burning desire after they find a bed for the night is to hook into the WWW to checkout the latest digital happenings or share with the world their latest pithy status on Facebook.

For moteliers, it's easy to mock the irony of  intrepid travellers shuttering themselves in their guest rooms for seemingly hours on end gazing at glowing screens, however the reality is that travel experiences (business or leisure) are often measured by the quality and availability of a wireless internet connection. TripAdvisor is littered with disgruntled comments from guests that can't get instant wireless internet satisfaction from their accommodation provider.

I'm in the process of evaluating a new wireless internet system that has been developed for motels and other businesses that provide a wireless internet service to their customers.

This is the third system that I've used in our motels and so far it looks like it has potential to provide my guests with improvements in all that you can ask for in a motel commercial system including: stability, guest intuitiveness, speed and security along with a few extra added value features...(more of that later).

For moteliers, a general rule of thumb for providing a guest wireless internet system is that it shouldn't be set up by a well-meaning family member with equipment purchased from the local Dick Smith store.

Providing equipment and software for a publicly accessible internet system is a specialised field and Moteliers should be out-sourcing this vital service to a professional company that has developed a robust and specific solution.

Along with the obvious benefits of providing a wireless internet service, moteliers should be aware of some threats.

Our small but perfectly formed digital-friend Patrick Vallely, the Director of Skagerrak Software has kindly allowed us to reproduce his recently published pertinent ponderings along with some interesting links:
"Guest expectations are always rising. Rooms are expected to compete with homes in comfort and features, like flat panel TV’s, multiple Sky Channels, home cinema etc. It’s an expensive arms race.

Internet access for your guests is no long an extra, it’s now as obligatory as running water. Business travellers and families need the Internet. Laptops, iPads, iPhones and portable games all devour your supply of data from your ISP.

The Good

Free Internet signs abound at hotels, motels and holiday parks but free allowances differ, Internet provision can be an asset and a liability.

A generous free allowance will encourage the use of your system, charging reasonably after that will then allow you to create a revenue stream.

Think of it as a open bar with a two free drink maximum. Attract your consumers and then charge afterwards.

The Bad

In September 2011 the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Act came into force. This stated that among other things, you are responsible for any infringing files that your guests download on your Internet account. eg If the guy in Unit 13 downloads a Rihanna song of only 5Mb (very small) in size, which will probably take 1-2 minutes, in the eyes of the law you are responsible and can be taken to task accordingly. 

The Downright Ugly

The copyright Infringement law allows for three strikes or three written warnings and this will be followed by a day in court.

What happens is:

• A download is detected by a music company monitoring system
• They send a standard letter to your Internet provider, eg Telecom Xtra
• Xtra sends you a letter telling you you have been detected and put you on 28 day notice (the letter tells you what song was downloaded and what date and time)

The first court cases were brought by music companies in NZ in October 2012.

What can you do?

As you can see, a tiny 5Mb song can get you into trouble, so “small” allowances offer no protection and only annoy your guests.

Some systems offer data logging as the solution. It’s nice to have, but this won’t help, as you are still the account holder and therefore responsible. The ability to identify the guilty party, your guest is immaterial in the eyes of the law. It’s your account, therefore, your responsibility.

The law may be unfair, but it’s worth investigating a system that will protect you. A few guest Internet systems offer anti-piracy features that limit guest access to copyright infringing downloads, particularly those monitored by the cyber-specialists contracted by large music and movie companies.

So far only music companies are chasing copyright infringements, the movie studios will be next.

This will get worse, not better, something to consider when upgrading or replacing your guest Internet system. 

You’ll find good information at the following links:

TrafficMate - Guest Internet System
Netsafe - Aimed at school but still very relevant
Vodafone NZ - Copyright page
The actual legislation on the NZ Government site"

Patrick Vallely is the Director of Skagerrak Software.
Skagerrak produces front desk software called MotelMate and the popular guest internet system TrafficMate.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Return To The Bates Motel

Some may say that the motel industry needs a bit of a spruce-up in the public perception department. Those of us in the motel industry may often look longingly over the fence at other accommodation industries that are perceived to have a sexier image such as the hotel, holiday park and apartment sectors.

In reality, the motel sector is in reasonable heart and consistently over-delivers on product and service.

It's difficult to say if the imminent launch of a new TV series based upon the Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho, "Bates Motel" will assist uplifting the public's perception of the motel industry?

If we are to believe that "all publicity is good publicity," then we have nothing to fear as the fictional Bates Motel reestablishes itself at the forefront of people's minds as the most famous motel of all.

The Psycho franchise is a gift that keeps on giving.  

There seems to be a big investment in the social media build-up to the new original scripted TV drama series, including a very cool interactive website complete with peepholes and other bits of nasty tailor-made for your prying eyes...

Just click on the image below to get started!

More Motel Car Parking

One of the many compulsive disorders of an average motelier is their obsession with car parking.

We have covered this fascinating syndrome in previous posts, including HERE.
"Most moteliers are obsessed with ensuring guests' cars are parked in an orderly manner, in the correct car park and exactly between the lines. Moteliers when showing a guest to their room have adopted their own unique gestures and hand signals to assist in the car parking process that is up there with the best of any New York traffic cop.

There are good reasons for a moteliers' obsession with car parking, as guests tend to get grumpy if they are unable to squeeze into "their" allocated car park or a driveway is blocked by other guests erratic car parking attempts;-)"
A fellow motelier (that has elected to remain anonymous) has sent in a picture of an amusing attempt to back into a motel carpark. We are reliably informed by the motelier after his scene investigation that there were no obvious signs why the vehicle came to a rest so wide of the mark. Weather conditions were favourable and the immediate environment was clear of any obstacles.

Please feel free to share your own examples:-)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hotel Elevator Express

One of the great, under-appreciated features of a low-rise motel is the ability to park right outside (or close to) your guest room. Accessibility is a real bonus. You want to get out quick? - No worries. Just open your motel room door, take a couple of steps and bam! You're in your car and outta there!

One of the frustrations of a typically multi-level hotel are those pesky elevators that everybody else always seems to use at the same time as you..... You know the routine - you are in your hotel room and you want to duck down to the lobby in the morning to grab a quick breakfast bite before the conference commences. You think you've got plently of time...until you hit the line at the elevator on your floor where everyone is waiting for the rest of the hotel to evacuate at the same time.

Here's something that's currently doing the rounds of the internet that you may want to try the next time you're in a hurry in a multi-storied building:

I'm naturally suspicious and are calling bullsh*t on this, but invite you to find out for yourselves if this is an internet myth...or not.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Jasons CEO Resigns

I must admit that this news was not entirely a surprise, however it has been announced that due to personal reasons, Jasons Travel Media's CEO is about to depart.

In October 2011, Kevin Francis took over the CEO role from Matthew Mayne after he unexpectedly resigned in 2011.

Kevin was a more mature look similar to past CEOs Stephen Joyce that left the position to pursue his high profile political career and iconic company founder John Sandford.

Prior to his Jasons role, Kevin spent his early years as an officer in the British Army and after arriving in New Zealand 16 years ago has been involved in a variety of industries, including telecommunications, internet, IT and, the Online / Digital Marketing industries.

From a motel industry point of view, the apparent revolving door of CEOs is not the best look as Jasons reps ready themselves to visit the living rooms of motels throughout the country.
Jasons Travel Media Accepts CEO Resignation

Jasons Travel Media today announced the resignation of its Chief Executive, Kevin Francis, effective 13 May 2013.

Board Chairman John Sandford said he has accepted Mr Francis’ resignation with sadness following an exciting period of change within the company.
“It’s with real regret that the Board of Jasons has accepted Kevin’s resignation”, said Mr Sandford. “His departure is for personal reasons and he is very sorry to be leaving the tight-knit team at Jasons.
“Kevin’s extensive knowledge of quality management, technology and digital marketing has helped re-shape the face of Jasons over the past 18 months. His exemplary performance has seen him engage really well with our customer base, build a highly talented new executive team in the company, and create and lead significant strategic change to restructure and refocus the business around its core functions. Ironically, the work that Kevin has done in restructuring the business and delegating authority means that his departure will be far less disruptive than it might otherwise have been.

Mr Francis says that due to personal circumstances, he needs to focus his energies elsewhere and is unable to offer Jasons the commitment that the role of CEO demands.

“Jasons has been an exciting and rewarding role for me,” said Kevin Francis. “We’ve made significant changes to the direction, structure and overall strategy to ensure that we continue to bring to market the unique multi channel capabilities that no other travel media company in New Zealand can offer. The year ahead looks very positive in realising the benefits of these changes and I will be working with my Chairman and Board on a transition plan over the following few months.

“I am not engaged in other career opportunities. I am a committed supporter and shareholder of Jasons and do not intend to sell my shares in the company”, he said.

Meanwhile John Sandford says the Board and staff of Jasons will be sorry to see Kevin leave.
“We sincerely thank Kevin for his diligence, progress and care with our business. The Board will now undertake a review of future requirements and expects to announce its plans regarding the transition early next month.”

Jasons Travel Media is a multi-channel media company specialising in exciting and dynamic sectors – travel, tourism and leisure.

For further information please contact:
John Sandford, Chairman
Cell: 021 926 942

Escape To Las Vegas

By default, moteliers spend the frantic Christmas/New Year season working in their business, catering to the festive demands of others....including bludging family members ;-)

After almost two-decades of being stranded on a motel island during this time, what started as a tongue-in-cheek remark has now been firmly embedded onto our bucket list - to one day runaway to Las Vegas over Christmas/New Year.    

Maybe 2013/14 is going to be the year? So where to go? Well, we've long decided that a return to Las Vegas would be the best place on earth to escape.

I've always had a healthy admiration of Las Vegas, a city built in the middle of an inhospitable desert by rich eccentric folk of dodgy origins. Vegas is the pinnacle of man changing his natural environment for the better. For me, there's something very admirable about blasting rock and pouring concrete in the middle of nowhere to produce a wonderful fairy-land of ostentatious and often tacky architectural marvels on a ridiculous scale.

I see that our friends at Murder Motels that enjoy the bizarre curiosities in their travels through the underbelly of America, have recently visited one of the many must-see Las Vegas attractions: The Neon Boneyard.

It looks very cool....
"When I anticipated exploring the Neon Boneyard, the main attraction at the Neon Museum (770 Las Vegas Blvd. North) in Las Vegas, I imagined us wandering through the cemetery of signage on our own. That, however, is not the case.

A trip to the Neon Museum is a guided, hour-long tour through the Neon Boneyard, full of Vegas legend, mobster anecdotes, and gritty Americana. The knowledgable Mitch was our appointed tour guide, and the tour begins standing outside of the Neon Museum’s building, formerly La Concha Motel"....Read More
Pictures stolen from: Murder Motels

Friday, February 8, 2013

Our Predictions For 2013

After a somewhat stuttering start we are well into 2013.

So as we cautiously look through the peephole of a motel guest room door, what lies ahead for this year?

Trade - Will this be our last winter of discontent? Overall, trade will be "not bad" in 2013. But we have to believe this don't we? 

i-Sites - If you a good intentioned fellow working at an i-Site - be worried. The world is moving on from static, publicly funded brochure racks. This year the blow torch will start to be applied to to these outdated, feel-good, job-creating institutions as councils reluctantly go through the motions of reigning-in unqualified spending.

Qualmark - Also heading in the direction of the dinosaur is Qualmark that promote themselves as New Zealand tourism's official mark of quality. Sadly, Qualmark will continue to be unloved and "underfunded" in 2013.

Tourism New Zealand and the AA are reluctant shareholders and are looking at a face-saving way to get-out. Accommodation providers and marketing chains (the backbone of Qualmark) are starting to question value, while travellers ignore the stars and rely on crowd sourced opinion websites such as TripAdvisor.

The only bright light ahead for Qualmark is the possibility of lurching through with scarce resources beyond the next election. A left-wing grand-coalition government cheered-on by Trade Associations will be more than happy to throw other people's money at Qualmark - in fact, they probably will make a Qualmark licence for tourism businesses compulsory!

Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) - Much to the bewildered angst of the Motel Association, overseas owned OTAs will continue to gobble market share. The rule for 2013 is that existing well-known OTAs North of the equator are likely to prosper. Sadly, OTAs South of the equator, are going to be out-muscled and only achieve modest growth at best.

Oh, and just to make accommodation providers even more frenzied, expect further OTA commission rises in 2013.

Trade Associations - Any free-willed collective of businesses has to be a good thing, but an eclectic grouping of business's wants and expectations from their respective "trade union" are wide and varied. Trade Associations by providing their members leadership, distribution of relevant information, networking opportunities, support, advocacy, setting standards and generally promoting their relative industry can be under-appreciated.

As workers trade unions are under threat by flagging membership, so are Trade Associations. They need to lift their game, get professional and start changing what they have always done.

We suspect that 2013 to be a year of culling and merger.  

Bed Tax - Whenever I've done yearly predictions, the possibility of Bed Tax is always raised. Maybe this hoary prospect isn't likely this year, however with socialist Mayors like Len Brown looking for ways to fund their wet-dreams anything is possible - 2013 is a year to continue vigilance.

Social Media - The buzz around social media seems to be bigger than the phenomenon itself. Accommodation providers jump-in and publish Blogs, Facebook and Twitter accounts et all, but only a few have the acumen or the time to update meaningful content that will enhance their business.

The promise of social media channels evolving into a mainstream method of marketing for the mass of the accommodation industry is not going to happen in 2013 - or anytime soon.

The mobile channel will continue to grow as a viable new source of business. Apps will continue to generate leads and moteliers will mostly rely on OTAs to be part of this space. The mobile web is where the growth will occur in 2013 and moteliers need to look at their own web investment to catch this wave.

Travel Media - Probably one of the most safest predictions for 2013 is that being a rep for one of the two major travel media companies will be challenging. For moteliers, the allocation of the advertising dollar will prove to be more vexing that it ever has been before. 

Moteliers - please be nice when that beleaguered AA and Jasons rep calls to see you.

Disruption? Other than the mobile channel, change seems to be occurring at a predictable and pedestrian pace. Will a new disruptive channel be released that will throw us all? Maybe the might of Google will release something in 2013 that will change the travel industry? And what is Apple up to?

Thursday, February 7, 2013

More Eco-Hypocrisy

Eco-poser Lucy Lawless along with other fellow bewildered criminals cause a business $648,000 worth of damages and the consequences are being slapped with a wet-bus-ticket - What are these hopeless judges thinking!

We're Back!

After an unprecedented break away we're back! The Motella secret lair is bursting with life, with the small but perfectly formed team looking forward to an exciting year.

So how's trade been? A quick straw pole amongst fellow moteliers scattered throughout the country has mirrored our initial suspicions that the December/January holiday period has been....flat! While some motels have experienced positive trade, the majority seem to be disappointed with relatively soft demand.

This is an important time for most moteliers that should be making hay while the sun shines. And shine it did with one of the best periods of weather for many years. In spite of favorable climatic conditions, it would appear that the mass of 4 million Kiwi holiday makers that traditionally take time off together were missing-in-action from commercial accommodation.

So where did Kiwi holiday makers spend their valuable time shirking from productivity? Maybe they stayed at home, working on home improvement projects? They could have dusted off the family tent or travelled overseas? Maybe some took advantage of cheap surplus campervans languishing after the RWC? More likely the bulk of savvy Kiwis that are still smarting from the perception of recessionary times have reduced their time away and have consciously steered away from commercial accommodation and bludged "free" accommodation off friends and family.

The Commercial Accommodation Monitor will give a definitive picture on what occurred over the January/December Holiday period. The split between the accommodation sectors will be particularly interesting to note. In the interim, we'll stand by the assumption that Kiwi leisure travellers were and remain MIA.

Have Kiwis been lured into recessionary habits? If so, when will Kiwis become bored hibernating and start to see the value in creating memories and Facebook moments, by investing their own money into domestic leisure experiences that includes holidaying in motels?

While for some the peak domestic leisure season may have been disappointing, however with the kids back at school a new wave of travellers are busy trolling about the countryside enjoying the sunshine.

Pensioners, clutching their Winston Gold Cards, a smattering of overseas visitors and the welcome return of commercial travellers will assist getting the year back on track for most moteliers.

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