Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Motel Personal Responsibility

In these enlightened times, there is always someone else to blame for our actions. Modern society dictates that individuals should be regularly relieved of the burden of personal responsibility.

It is pleasing to note that guests that stay at motels can also expect to absolve themselves of personal responsibility - in most cases.

Last year we asked the question: Does a sex accident that occurs in a motel while on a business trip count as a work accident?" 

While staying at a motel on a work trip, an Australian public servant was injured after a glass light fitting came away from the wall above the bed as she was engaging in vigorous horizontal activities with an acquaintance. The light struck her in the face and she sustained injuries.

It was established that the public servant was entitled to compensation as the court ruled this was a valid work related injury. 

While it was found that an Aussie public servant's extra curricular in-room activity injury was 100 percent someone else's fault, a court in America has taken a slightly differing view in another motel room misadventure.

A jury has recently awarded a Georgia woman $3 million over her husband's heart attack, finding that his doctor should have warned the Atlanta cop against strenuous activity like the three-way sex he was having at the time he died at an Atlanta airport motel.

The jury found that the deceased husband's medical practitioner was 60% to blame for this death as his high blood pressure, chest pains, shortness of breath and irregular heartbeat were not properly diagnosed and he was also not warned to avoid strenuous physical activity.

The court found that the deceased husband by checking-in to an airport motel and engaging in strenuous 3-way activity was 40 percent responsible for his own death.

By the numbers, can we assume that the tide is slowly turning and personal responsibility is making a come back?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Even More My Family

The scourge of those insidious My Family Stickers applied to car windows appears to be continuing. I'm sure you've seen them before - they're those girly stick-figure personas representing each family member that are affixed to car rear windows.

We do our bit to expose the swelling mass of pride-deficient car-owners that insist on all this masterbatery-sticker-madness. 

It is pleasing to see that there is a growing revolt of car owners fighting back by applying their own car stickers that include poking fun at smug nuclear families.

This couple highlight a consequence of opting-out of a child breeding regime

These two dads are happy to promote same-sex parenting. 

While the country is about to debate if same-sex-couples should marry (The Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill),  It would appear that similar car adornments could be targeted by a few over-zealous folk with too much time on their hands:
Gay stick figures suppressed
"Yes, those family stick figure car decals!" exclaims Simon. "Our friend had two dads on her set of family. She parked outside Knox Church in Parnell one Sunday. Came back a few hours later. One of the dads had been peeled off and a mum drawn in place with a permanent marker!"

"Nice To Have" Employment Law

Labour MP Dr David Clark is promoting a populist bill of Mondayising Waitangi Day and Anzac Day when they fall on a weekend. Having extra holidays is nice to have, however someone has to pay. David Clark waves away this concern away with a pithy response:
"Some employers would be disadvantaged but given this situation will only happen for two out of every seven years, the cost is likely to be reasonably minimal."
Small business owners will be pleased that he's got this covered.

We note with interest that David Clark is also behind a member's bill to raise the minimum wage to $15. Interestingly, he has admitted that he is "clueless on the minimum wage price tag." One would assume that the Labour MP would have also not troubled himself with working out the cost to employers for Mondayising Waitangi Day and Anzac Day?

It is disappointing that the Tourism Association of NZ (TIA) under "new" CEO, Martin Snedden are out of step with mainstream business groups by blindly supporting Labour's Mondayising bill with the woolly rationale that this impost on business may "boost the tourism economy."

Using this fuzzy logic are we to assume that the TIA will be advocating further employment law impost to business by swinging behind Labour's minimum wage bill? In order to boost domestic tourism, maybe the TIA should be advocating a minimum wage of $50, to encourage more Kiwis to go on holiday? 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Games Highlight

Kudos to any nation that can take the p*ss like the Czech Republic:

Motel Association Conference - Part Two

Motel specialist broker extraordinaire, Kathie Shepherd spent an exhaustive few days networking with Motel Association of NZ (MANZ) members at their conference this week in Wellington.

One highlight of the conference was a fitting recognition of tourism industry stalwart, Peter Blackwell with an Hon Life Associate Membership of MANZ.

MANZ elevated one deserving property to hospitality stardom with the AA Supreme Host of the Year Award.

And as we predicted, it would appear that Pam Corkery was an entertainment highlight.

Kathie has found the energy to write about her observations of the final half of the conference and we've utilised our cut and paste expertise to share her thoughts:
"Day two contained the AGM where Peter Blackwell was awarded an Hon life associate membership and the marketing plan of where MANZ is heading in the future. After lunch delegates were given a look at the new website from Maree Surrey along with the capabilities it had and tools it would provide for members. There was also a raft of tips and things delegates should be doing with their own websites. After lunch Jennifer Rolfe gave a fantastic insight in to branding, what it is and how to review or develop your brand.
Of course the night displayed all the delegates in their finery at the Gala Dinner. The mass of black ties and fancy dresses created an amazing atmosphere which set the scene for a great night. During the night The AA host supreme award was won by Roselle and Peter from Shadzz in Palmerston North. Congratulations to them on this. Then in typical conference tradition there was dancing well in to the night.
Today had Kerry Prendergast describe the direction and activities of Tourism New Zealand and then a final session by Pam Corkery Which was highly entertaining but also very poignant and reminded us to make sure our life was full of good memories by ensuring we create them with the way we live our life.
This conference certainly delivered what it needed to for its delegates. Everyone should go home with ideas for their business, new skills and highlighted areas to expand their learning and knowledge, but also with new friends or further cemented old friend relationships. Moteliers are a special group of people and those pro active ones who attended conference have shown just how good they are."

Friday, July 27, 2012

AA Supreme Host of the Year Award

One highlight of the Motel Association of New Zealand (MANZ) Conference is the announcement of the AA Supreme Host of the Year Award.

Moteliers are traditionally a reserved lot, so this award is an opportunity for them to gather, celebrate and pay homage to those that a doing that little bit extra in providing excellent quality customer service.

This is the Academy Award for moteliers that exceed guests' expectations beyond the call of duty.

What we like about this award is that it unashamedly singles out a high achiever above all others and recognises the motel industry's biggest point of difference - the hosts. The award underlines that motels are part of the "hospitality industry" and the way they provide customer service and host their guests sets them apart from the scrum of other accommodation providers.

The AA Supreme Host of the Year promotes the importance of the human element in the motel experience. It is a tremendous feel-good opportunity to record and recognise great deeds in hospitality. We like that.

This year the Automobile Association, in conjunction with the Motel Association of New Zealand, recently announced three motel finalists for the 2012 AA Supreme Host of the Year Award.
  • Manukau Motor Lodge (Manukau)
  • Shadzz Motel and Conference Centre (Palmerston North) 
  • Grange Lodge (Papatoetoe).
The three worthy finalists all represent the best of the best, but there can only be one winner.

The winner of the AA Supreme Host of the Year Award for 2012 is:

Well done - we offer our hearty congratulations!

Olympic Inspiration

Hopefully the imminent orgy of obscure sports will not deter domestic travel, however I suspect that most Kiwis will be more than happy sitting at home in darkened lounges intently watching their recently hire-purchased flat screens.

In my own special way I've been attempting to join in the enthusiasm for the forthcoming Olympics and have found two sources of inspiration.

This looks like it will be worth a watch:

Although Michelle Jenneke is not part of the Australian Olympic team, her efforts earlier this year have opened my eyes to a new sport to follow: 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

LIVE - From the MANZ Conference

Motel specialist broker extraordinaire, Kathie Shepherd is currently mixing and mingling at the MANZ Conference in Wellington. She kindly shares with us a run down on the proceedings to date:
"John Key was as usual a very dynamic and informed speaker. Information of the economy , the world and tourism in NZ all delivered with a good dollop of laughter and affinity to the ordinary kiwi person.
Following this Steve Lange the owner who grew Tonys tyre service to 20 stores gave plenty of advice about customer service , expectations and tips to get all your staff on board with the ethics of your business. Turning complaints in to loyal customers and exceeding your competitors was another strong message to come through.
Debbie Mayo Smith followed up with 8 tips to free up time and make more money. Smart phones were a tool of the customer and needed to be considered from a business point of view. Outlook tips also gave ideas to be far more efficient with the email tasks.
A good time for visiting all the suppliers enabled delegates to make the most of having them all in the one place and get the maximum amount of information without having to spend hours by phone or email contacting them all.
The day was wrapped up with two workshops from Harmans lawyers and Blakemore group valuers. Seaton Read and Brian Burke discussed improvement rental and the impact on both lessee and lessor and the factors effecting the termination of a lease for various reasons. Bruce Mainwaring gave delegates an insight in to valuation and arbitration processes and highlighted points in a lease which could effect a valuation.
All in all it was a very full day loaded with information and tips for delegates. Top this off with the networking and discussions between moteliers and it is not surprising there were so many positive comments from delegates at the end of the day saying how glad they were they had made the decision to attend."

More 50 Shades of Outrage

The story of the hotelier at the Damson Dene Hotel in the Lakes District UK, that replaced the Gideons Bible in his guest rooms with risqué-mummy-porn, Fifty Shades of Grey has become a viral news hit.

UK media were able to elicit quotes of outrage from church groups and now we have American media stoking-up the bible belt on the other side of the Atlantic.
Gwen Sebastian, who first captivated viewers (and her mentor, now touring partner Blake Shelton) while competing on "The Voice," is among those protesting a British hotel's decision to change the reading material available to its guests. But she's using a song and some air-mail stamps to make her personal protest known. 
After Gwen got wind (via a story in USA Today's travel section) that Jonathan Denby, owner of the Damson Dene Hotel in England's tourist-heavy Lake District, had replaced the Gideon Bible with the wildly popular soft-porn bestseller "Fifty Shades of Grey," her record label, Flying Island Entertainment, dispatched copies of Gwen's single, "Met Him in a Motel Room" to the hotel. 
"I've read and really liked 'Fifty Shades of Grey,' but I don't understand why he would replace the all-time bestseller with a popular bestseller," Gwen notes of the dubious decision.
"Met Him in a Motel Room" tells the story of a desperate woman contemplating suicide and changing her mind when she discovers the Bible in the drawer of the motel room.
Seems to be a promotional match made in heaven!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Motel Car Parking

A little known fact is that moteliers were all car parking wardens in a previous life.

Moteliers spend a lot of time thinking about car parking. A motel with a car park full of cars is a badge of honour. Cars neatly stacked outside guest rooms shows the outside world that a motel is successful and a desirable place to stay.

Potential guests driving along a motel-mile will be easily put off by an empty motel car park - like lone-flying ducks, customers will only feel comfortable to land when others are already there. That's why many moteliers will often use their own vehicles or those of friends and family as decoys to lure guests into their motel driveway. Many moteliers also like to stack their rooms, so that early arrivals are allocated rooms that has a car park visible from the road.

I once knew of a motel that seemed to be always busy...it turned out that the motelier also owned a second-hand car business. I've also heard stories of moteliers breaking the monotony by playing a large scale game of connect-four with cars that entailed allocating rooms to guests according to the car colour they arrive-in.

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;-)

It never ceases to amaze me the inability of some folk to park a car. How some people mange to maneuver a vehicle out of their own driveway and traverse several hundred kilometres to arrive at my motel without leaving a trail of mayhem is beyond me. After standing by and agonising at some people's pathetic attempt to park their car in the wide open space in front of their guest room - I've been known to politely ask if I can park it for them - instead of embarrassment, this offer is often met with relief and appreciation.

While motel car parks in New Zealand are meticulously self-regulated by sometimes over-zealous motelier car parking nazis, I was amused to read that in the township of Cinnaminson, USA, motel guests that park incorrectly outside their guest room could attract the wrath of the local police department. 

The new  municipal code dictates that cars are to be parked in front of motel guest rooms "nose-in." Apparently, this style of parking reduces a motorist’s ability to easily drive off if police need to make a stop and thwarts guests that back-up to a motel guest room using their vehicle to shield criminal activity. Motel car parking infringements will be subject to a US$100 fine.

Maybe moteliers in New Zealand could consider a new revenue stream by issuing in-house fines to guests with dodgy parking abilities? 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tourism Association's Fuzzy Logic?

Using some obscure fuzzy logic, the Tourism Association of NZ are howling for a further impost on small businesses to "boost the tourism economy." 

We urge all politicians, local government employees and....trade associations purporting to be looking after the interests of business to click on the following graphic, print, laminate and place in a prominent position on their office wall:

 Source: Not PC

50 Shades of Outrage

Smaller accommodation properties don't have the economies of scale to deliver in-room pornography via pay-per-view television systems - maybe there's a better way?

In a brilliant PR move, a hotelier in the Lakes District UK, has managed to cajole a local vicar's outrage by replacing the Gideons Bible in his guest rooms with risqué-mummy-porn, Fifty Shades of Grey.

The media appears to have easily found supporting quotes of outrage from church groups that have given the Damson Dene Hotel a global wave of free publicity:
"Mr Bartholomew, who runs the 40 bedroom Damson Dene Hotel, Crosthwaite, has placed the erotic best seller on the bedside cabinets of both male and female guests.

A copy of the Gideon Bible will be retained for those who want it - but they will have to request it at the reception desk.

His argument is that the Bible is also full of references to sex and violence and that the best seller is a much easier read.

But local vicar The Rev Michael Woodcock has accused the hotel boss of cashing in on the EL James novel's runaway success. He said: "It is just a gimmick really.

"It is a shame that the Bible has been taken out. But I am sure it will be put back in the future. The more attention that is drawn to this the more bad publicity it gets."

He hit back at suggestions that the Bible contained as many sexual references as Fifty Shades of Grey.

"You can choose bits out of the Bible and take it out of context I suppose," he continued.

Crosthwaite parish priest Mr Woodcock oversees services at the nearby St Mary's Parish Church. He said he had not read Fifty Shades of Grey - but neither had the owner of the hotel.

He continued: "It is a great shame that Bibles have been removed from rooms and very inappropriate to have been replaced by an explicit erotic novel.

"The Bible remains a source of comfort and inspiration that many people do find helpful."

Mr Bartholomew said he was only responding to popular demand.

He added: "I thought it would be a special treat for our guests to find it in their bedside cabinet and that includes the men too.

"They are as desperate to get their hands on a copy as the women. "The Gideon Bible is full of references to sex and violence, although it's written using more formal language, so James's book is easier to read."

He underlined the Gideon Bible would remain available at the reception desk. Mr Bartholomew believes many people intrigued by the book were too shy to buy it.

A Diocesan spokesperson said: "Fifty Shades of Grey is all the rage but is likely to be a passing fad.

"The Bible is a classic, shaped and reshaped by Jewish and Christian communities over many centuries."

"It is also an enduring source of comfort to travellers around the world and, we believe, the words of life."

The Damson Dene, which is near Lake Windermere, featured in the first series of the fly on the wall TV show The Hotel.
Source: Click HERE  

Australian No Tell Motel - Round Two

It is common for motels to have a general house rule that restricts guests from operating businesses from their rooms. The rationale behind this is to ensure that all guests are able to enjoy peaceful occupation without being disrupted - this is fair enough.

This rule is not only directed at prostitution, but from occupants operating any business offering goods or services from guest rooms. There are obvious exceptions to this rule and this can include guests contacting job interviews, reps showing a range of clothing to retailers etc and this is generally disclosed by the guest before arrival. The accommodation provider has the choice to accept the guest or not, but as these activities generally do not cause disturbance or offense to others, consent is freely given.

Generally, the accommodation provider will be happy to accommodate a guest that wishes to invite a handful of locals in for a low-key in-room business seminar, however most will draw the line at hosting a working girl to service several local clients. Is the accommodation provider being discriminatory? 

GK, a sex worker from Gold Coast reckons she is being discriminated against by a motel in Australia’s Queensland state that refused her a room and has sought $30,000 in compensation.
In this case, GK alleged discrimination after being turned away from a motel claiming that under Queensland law she was permitted to engage in lawful sexual activity. The sex worker has also claimed that she was asked unnecessary questions about being a sex worker and that the motel charged over-the-odds because of her status as a sex worker.

The breakdown of the $30,000 award sought by the sex worker is interesting: $10,000 is for hurt feelings and $20,000 is to cover economic losses calculated on the basis that her average daily earnings of $2,000 from seeing four to eight clients (an admirable workrate!) If she had been able stay at the Drover's Rest Motel, she would have booked 10 more trips.

While the moteliers at the Drovers Rest Motel acknowledged that they could not discriminate against the guest's profession, they claimed that they were unable to accommodate the working girl under the provisions of the Liquor Act.

It was pleasing that the Anti-Discrimination Commission dismissed the case. It was ruled that the moteliers did not refuse future accommodation to a sex worker because of her occupation, but rather because they did not want prostitution undertaken in their motel.

It was concluded that an accommodation business owner can dictate some questionable activities that guests engage in from their guest rooms that includes conducting "business activities." 

...But GK has appealed the decision. 
"GK appealed to the Queensland Civil and Administration Tribunal on the grounds that many people use the telephone or internet at the motel for business, and a bed or a room was no different.

Tribunal members questioned whether a lawful sex worker was any different to a travelling accountant or solicitor who also conduct businesses from motels and hotels.

“How do you exclude one type of business and a not another type of business,” one tribunal member said.

“The legislation as it stands permits lawful sexual activity, (if not hotels) where’s it supposed to happen? In people’s own homes,” he asked.

The decision is expected to be announced soon." 
While New Zealand motels operate under a different jurisdiction, the Queensland case could set the scene on how Kiwi accommodation providers vet working girls.

The outcome will be very interesting...

Monday, July 23, 2012

Air NZ's NEW Livery Revealed

I see that Air New Zealand have finally announced the revamp of their livery. From next year the the iconic Pacific Jade (Teal) and Global Dark Blue corporate colours will be replaced with ...black.

The distinctive koru will remain.

The freshening of the brand will also include a new font used on the airlines logo:

I've got mixed feelings about the new "less is more"style. There seems to be no middle ground with the use of black as a style statement - it can either be refined and styley or plain and boring. 

The New Zealand public still feel passionate about the majority government owned airline and will be quick to make judgement. Painting it black is probably a "safe" option for the airline that seems to have chosen the line of least resistance. 

It will be interesting how Air New Zealand's new black and white livery will compare when parked up amongst other airlines that have a rainbow of multi-coloured designs.

Saving Maori Language?

I trust that you are enjoying the start of Maori Language Week that kicks off today. After all, you're paying for it!

The theme for Maori Language Week this year is: "cherish the language." The definition of cherish is to: hold dear : feel or show affection for : to keep or cultivate with care and affection.

If you lack the motivation or simply can't see any benefit from learning a geographically limited indigenous language, the government will attempt to reverse this widely held mindset by spending an estimated $250 million on Te Reo initiatives. Additional funding will be generously topped up by socially responsible councils.

A few corporate companies trying to cash-in on political-correctness and any entity that receives government funding will be out-bidding one another with Te Reo insertions....for a week.

Prepare for cultural-cringe as Government websites, television, radio and newspapers speak down to their audiences by giving primary school lessons as they regularly drop-in Te Reo catch-phrases.

Children along with their parents will be spending a lot of time on the internet answering Maori language worksheets from school. Selected households will be temporarily cluttered with Te Reo branded colour booklets, recyclable shopping bags, temporary tattoos, posters, pens, balloons, t-shirts and more that will be given away "free" to all and sundry.

So what are the outcomes since you and I started funding Te Reo initiatives? Well, the numbers of fluent speakers of Maori have plummeted from 70,000 in the 1970s to just 18,000 today.

So to recap, the government has spent millions to promote Maori language by intervention and coercion. Is it surprising that an unintended consequence is that the language has declined?

We hope for the sake of the Maori language that government and councils immediately withdraw funding to enable the free market to distribute resource more effectively to those that are self-motivated and truly cherish the language.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Right Social Media

With a population of over 300 million people, you'd think they could come up with a sure-fire opposition candidate to make Obama a one-term oversight.

Hard to get behind a politician just because he's less scary than his rival, however we can only hope that Mitt Romney's team are handed several more opportunities to use social media like this: 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Pam Corkery To Share Her Business Wisdom?

The conference season continues, with the most imminent being next week's Motel Association of NZ's annual get together.

After an unprecedented tough year, an intimate crowd of moteliers will be looking forward to gather together in Wellington to network, be better informed and seek inspiration.

So who is the person that moteliers will be looking to provide leadership and motivation? Who will stand at the lectern in front of weary small-business owners and stimulate debate, open minds, offer encouragement and propose an innovative pathway forward.

Ladies and gentleman, we present....Pam Corkery!

Pam Corkery's colourful CV includes a flirtation with journalism, standing for the Auckland mayoralty, part-time talk back radio host and getting in the back-door of parliament as list MP for the loony-left-wing Alliance Party.

More recently, she has attracted the irk of a prominent blogger that ridiculed her bogan-lefty stance of supporting the public blindly picking up the tab for Aussie V8 racing at Pukekohe.

What does Pam Corkery possibly have in common with a room full of moteliers?

Well, for a start she has a vast life-experience (most moteliers are also in their senior years). She has had that well-publicised long-term battle with the bottle (moteliers are known to like a drink). And she has had more than a few attempts at finding that ideal mate (moteliers know the difficulties of maintaining a harmonious relationship).

Perhaps the most commonality that Pam Corkery has with moteliers is her burning desire to operate a successful business that rents out rooms....

So is it appropriate for a foul-mouth, self-opinionated pinko that has anti-business political leanings be invited to address a room full of private business owners...?

Absolutely! - I hate to admit it, but I reckon she'll be the most entertaining speaker at the MANZ conference!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Obama - You're wrong!

In this world we have two camps of people - Producers and non-producers.

The Producer generates their own energy and converts this into goods and services. The goods and services produced and the price they are exchanged for in an open market is determined by competition and consumer demand.

The Producer is the creator of money, jobs and wealth. The producer's own efforts produce goods and services that add value and enhance society. Producers are the good guys - in fact they are the heroes of society.

Non-producers rely on Producers to survive. They are the bad guys that loathe, restrict and leach off the productive.

We will always have non-producers in our society, the trouble is containing this sub-set of society to manageable levels as they grow in size and vote for more. As an example, in New Zealand we have 56.5 percent of households that pay net tax and subsidise the other 43.5 percent of New Zealand households that are net beneficiaries of government funding.

The heaving masses are being hoodwinked into believing that central planning by bureaucrats and imposts upon producers is the solution to economic salvation. As anyone that takes notice in High School economics will tell you - Governments do not create money, jobs and wealth - private enterprise (producers) do.

It was concerning that United States community organizer, Barack Obama recently bared his contempt for his nation's producers that have risked their own stake and earned their wealth:
"If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen.”
A day later, in order to make himself identify with the common-folk, Obama shared fond memories of his family holidays, staying at American private enterprise hotel-motel chain, Howard Johnson’s
“And the exciting thing for me was if there was any kind of swimming pool — it didn’t matter how big it was. And then after you spend the whole day swimming, then you’d go to the vending machine, get a soda and a bucket of ice.”
It just so happens that Howard Johnson’s (Hojos) is an iconic American accommodation chain that was built by courageous entrepreneurs. They were producers that earned their riches by creating a franchised accommodation chain of motels and hotels that helped revolutionise travel and create wealth for franchise owners and thousands of jobs.

Hojos - we salute you. 

And if you are receiving remuneration from a willing private sector - thanks to you too for contributing to the building blocks of a society with the living standards we enjoy today! 

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

EziBed Extend

We see that New Zealand’s original online last minute accommodation booking site, Ezibed.com will be moving their availability window from 28 to 365 days.

This is probably inevitable. It would appear that new owners, Christchurch based tourism service provider, Mitchellcorp are attempting to capture customers that were unable to instantly book accommodation via Ezibed outside the 28 day restriction.

In some respects, it is a shame that this marketing point of difference will be lost, however with most properties utilising rate parity across all websites, in reality the customer promise of "last-minute" rate options didn't stack-up against sites offering longer term booking options.

It will be interesting to see if Ezibed will use its Kiwi ownership as marketable point of difference and if Mitchelcorp can boost Ezibed's fortunes by using the scale of its existing investment in tourism.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Picture of the week

Time will tell if this fashion statement purchased from the Porirua markets signals a willingness to hand back the keys to the ministerial BMW anytime soon...

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Fifty Shades Of Motelling

The combination of a husband and wife team working at the optimum is a potent force in motel management. 

For business success, it's advisable to keep that relationship well oiled and as male moteliers well know - if your wife is happy, so is everyone around them. 

In my continued quest for business self-improvement, I've turned to current best selling trashy-chick-porn, Fifty Shades of Grey. This is the book that is the hot topic amongst the fairer sex and is currently making bondage and discipline part of mainstream conversation.

Luckily I was able to quickly track a well-worn copy from Mrs Motella's network of age-appropriate friends and have been poring over the contents to find out why woman are so captivated by this titivating book.

Within the hallowed pages are answers that will provide men with the secrets of what makes woman tick. Men acting upon these revelations will ensure a relationship filled with happiness and contentment that will flow over to a well run business.

Christian is the lead male in the story and is tall, handsome...and well endowed. But he also has more important qualities that woman find irresistible - So, here goes - for my fellow male readers, here's a handy must-have list of items you must possess to maintain that magnetic appeal:
  • Money - lots of it
  • Generosity with that money
  • A multi-level penthouse
  • A garage with a collection of Audis
  • A personal jet
The tricky part for most men is obtaining these essential accessories while running a motel?

Friday, July 13, 2012

Hotel Scam

It's been a busy day. 

So busy, that I haven't had time to respond to the following email.

Please feel free to answer this on my behalf...
From: Beck william [mailto:beckwilliam007@gmail.com]
Sent: Friday, 13 July 2012 8:59 a.m.
Subject: Reservations for Guests..Rooms needed

Reservations for Guests..Rooms needed
Dear Reservation Desk/Manger,

My name is Beck William and i am a site engineer for an oil firm. Currently i am offshore drilling and i need to make reservation for 4 of my clients/Guests who are coming to your country.I will need you to book accommodation for them for below dates


Kindly send me the cost for the entire stay as i will want to settle the payment immediately with my credit card for entire stay for the 4 guests. Also i will need you to help me pay for the travel ticket (flight ticket fares) to the travel agent who will issue their air tickets once funds are received. Please note that due to the fact that the travel agent just relocated to another city he is not yet set-up for credit card payments.

That is the reason i will need you to make the charges for the flight ticket also to my credit card and transfer the funds to the agent once the funds are cleared into your bank account. Please note that i will be compensating you for all your troubles in regards to bank charges and transportation in the course of doing the transfers. I will pay you additional $800 for all your efforts and transfer charges.

I will be waiting for your swift response to send you guest names . NB. Flight tickets fare is $4500, your commission is $900. So will need accommodation totals to make payments for all charges.

Does your motel room have a rice-cooker?

There has been a lot of buzz in the tourism industry about the potential of the Chinese market. Visitors from traditional sources are tanking, while Chinese visitors are growing positively - albeit from a low base.

The stats supporting an increased marketing focus on China are compelling. In fifteen years, the Chinese middle class will reach 800 million, up from 300 million today. Over the next five years, affluent Chinese consumers will grow from four million to 20 million.

It is often earnestly reported that Chinese outbound tourism is going through dramatic change, and will continue to change the dynamics of global travel and tourism industry. This is difficult to fathom by the average motel sitting in provincial New Zealand that has yet to feel the impact.

Chinese demand for international travel is still young. But it is expected to grow by 17% annually over the next decade, driven by rising incomes and aspirations.

There will be an average of 25 million first-time Chinese travelers every year, or 70,000 every day, for the next ten years. International travel from China would become a major source of growth for providers in the destination countries.

For motels in New Zealand, I suspect that any dramatic increase in Chinese demand will be well signaled. Currently, first time Chinese visitors are more than likely in short-stay packaged tours that are attracted to the hotel market in main centres along state highway one. The motel market should be anticipating the second wave of second and multiple-time Chinese visitors that are more likely to travel independently, and not part of a group, meaning that they have a greater choice of timing and destinations.

I see that the Holiday Parks Association attracted some good media from their recent conference, including their chief executive Fergus Brown hitting the headlines with a provocative appeal for his members to add a rice-cooker to their kitchens in readiness for Chinese tourists in camper vans.

 It is interesting that the association is front-footing the Chinese potential. They have sent a group of Chinese travel agents on a famil to Fiordland in camper vans and are promoting camper van holidays through tourism industry bodies. 

Although the instances of Chinese arriving and renting campervans would be extremely rare, its good to see that the Holiday Parks Association are challenging their members well ahead of time. It shows that they have a good relationship with their members and are projecting a willingness to work-in by being open to change.

It would be fair to say that not all accommodation providers are happy with the focus away from traditional overseas markets. Appeasing the Chinese market will need a change of attitude from accommodation providers and a willingness to deal with guests that require higher-maintenance. 

It does make me wonder what the reaction would be from the motel sector if they were challenged to add rice cookers into their guest rooms?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Outrage over hotel porn?

The odd motel flirted with broadcasting the odd stick-movie in the 1980s.

The motelier (usually adorned with an open shirt, gold chain, and white shoes) would alert selected regulars of the nightly screening on a dedicated channel. The stick-flick of the day would be inserted into beta-max at a per-determined time via the motel TV distribution system.

In these more enlightened times, (as MP, Shane "Tugger" Jones well knows) the availability of porn in the accommodation industry is restricted to large hotels. The open availability in hotels is an interesting phenomenon as most folk that check-in to a hotel don't give it a second thought. Hotel guests all seem to accept without question that only a couple of button clicks separates them from an array of hard-core porn.

Unlike most major hotels, motels don't openly offer adult movies as part of their in-room entertainment. There are many reasons for this, including appeasing a broader demographic of guests that stay at motels and the initial capital cost of installing pay-for-view systems, however probably the main reason is that moteliers have a closer relationship with their guests and don't wish to look them in the eye at check-out and discuss dodgy late-night movie habits.

So why do hotels risk offending their guests by offering porn? Simply, because their guests demand it AND it generates huge profits! In the past it has been reported that up to 50% of the hotel guests purchase the material and it has been estimated that between 70 -80% of the hotel's in-room profit come from adult movie viewing.

The hotel industry's dirty little secret is that guest adult movie purchases have traditionally  outstripped  profits from those pesky overpriced mini-bars...

It is interesting to note that in recent years, demand for adult pay movies in hotels is going through the floor as guests turn to the internet. I'm sure a cursory search of bookmarks on Shane Jones's laptop would reveal all sorts of interesting websites;-)

For a nation that has its fair share of wowsers that are outraged on cue and get easily upset over the availability of choice and burden of personal responsibility, I'm pleasantly surprised that the hotel industry isn't regularly taken to task for "peddling porn".

For moral outrage, we have to look back to the 70s and 80s when conservative activist, Patricia Bartlett who founded the Society for Promotion of Community Standards made regular indignant outbursts. She was a spinster with a vast and enviable vast porn collection that could whip herself into a frenzy after discovering the latest example of naked depravity. Her moral outrage was eagerly anticipated by an amused media of the time.

It is probably a good thing that we no longer have anyone left like Patricia Bartlet to mock in New Zealand and we need to look to the USA for modern-day amusement: 
"Hotels urged to drop porn movies
Two leading academics in the United States - Dr. Robert George of Princeton University and Shaykh Hamza Yusuf of Zaytuna College - have released a joint letter to the CEOs of the top five American hotel chains urging them to stop selling pornographic movies in their hotels.

In it, they warn of pornography's grave social consequences, including addiction, exploitation, and loss of self-worth.

The letter does not threaten protests or boycotts, but appeals to the individual consciences of the major hotel CEOs. The letter says in part:

"We write to ask you to stop offering pornographic movies in your company's hotels. We make no proposal here to limit your legal freedom, nor do we threaten protests, boycotts, or anything of the sort.

"We simply ask you to do what is right as a matter of conscience.

"We are, respectively, a Christian and a Muslim, but we appeal to you not on the basis of truths revealed in our scriptures but on the basis of a commitment that should be shared by all people of reason and goodwill: a commitment to human dignity and the common good."

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Apple Shun Environmental Registration

I'm a Johnny-come-lately paid-up member of the Apple cult. I love raw consumerism - you have to admire a brand that costs twice as much as its competitors and generates such loyal fanaticism. 

Apple with its recent announcement that it has pulled its products from U.S. government-backed registration of environmentally friendly electronics makes me love the Apple brand even more...  

Apple are often criticised by the left for their apparent lack of philanthropy and reluctance to be lured by the silliness of triple bottom line accounting. 

As other brands are tripping over themselves to generate the impression that they are new-age, planet saving, social service adjuncts, Apple have been busy building a formidable company, creating thousands of jobs and changing the lives of millions of people with kick-ass consumer products. 

New Apple management seem to be carrying-on from former CEO, Steve Jobs that shunned an invitation to be part of the hand-wringing, grandstanding wealth apologists that formed The Giving Pledge, founded by Bill Gates and others to persuade the nation’s multimillionaires to give away their fortunes.

The company's latest move to remove Green Electronics Certification from its products in favour of design will outrage eco-zelots - I like that.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”
-Steve Jobs

Monday, July 9, 2012

Accommodation chain goes up for sale

Those that wish to enter the accommodation game in a big way have the opportunity to get instant gratification by purchasing the SilverOaks group of motels and hotels that include:

* Oakwood Manor (53 Rooms)
* SilverOaks Inn Silver Point (35 Rooms)

* SilverOaks Hotel Geyserland (68 Rooms)
* Gwendoline Motor Lodge (18 Rooms)
* SilverOaks Resort Heritage (41 Rooms)

* SilverOaks Hotel On Thorndon (64 Rooms)

With six properties, the SilverOaks group is believed to be the second largest privately-owned portfolio of large accommodation providers in New Zealand after the Scenic Circle group (17 hotels).

The owners are selling-up to retire after 40 years in the hospitality industry. 

If these properties were on a Monopoly board, they would offer a similar attraction to purchasing the set of Whitechapel Road and Old Kent Road. Comments from property agents Bayleys are not overstating the sales proposition:
"...most of the hotels were in a fairly 'tired' stage of their lives and varying degrees of investment would be needed to restore them to former glories as well as modern interior décor - in the bedrooms and communal areas....the vendors' price expectations would reflect this."
We posted last year about a fellow blogger's experience at the SilverOaks property in Wellington:
"In her revealing post she rattles off a shopping list of the hotel's inadequacies including a smelly room, a tap that wouldn't turn off, a moldy bathroom, missing TV remotes, no milk or cups, no minibar and a suspicion that that the bed linen may not have been changed since the last hapless occupant. Ewww!"
Hopefully a buyer can be found that can direct either a bulldozer or substantial refurbishment dollars at the portfolio.

Sh*t people from Invercargill never say

For most folk, the "Sh*t People Say" YouTube phenomenon has been and gone, however not surprisingly it's the latest thing to hit Invercargill.

And I reckon it was worth the wait - the following trending video encapsulates Invercargill's unique interbred cultural quirkiness very well and will also serve the local tourism industry by stimulating curiosity about the region.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sneak Preview Of Qualmark's NEW Website

It has been a month since Qualmark NZ were hacked an act of cyber terrorism that brought down the tourism quality assurance organisation's website. 

Potential travellers searching for New Zealand quality rated tourism products were subjected to online offers to buy viagra and cialis before the site was quickly unplugged.

I see that Qualmark have yet to resurrect their web presence, however our spies have sent us a preview of the new site that is being earnestly worked on by AA Tourism:

Qualmark seem to be going for a simplified "Wordpress" uncluttered style. I see that this template allows the website to be mobilised, however enabling this option simply stacks the individual content elements without consideration to design or user experience. It will be interesting to see if there is any budget to improve this functionality for mobile browsers.

Overall, the website looks good to us, however there should be some urgency to get this uploaded so that Google searches relating to Qualmark will cease presenting travel consumers results with cached descriptions that boldly offer various male enhancement products.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Motel Guru

Operating a motel business can be lonely.

It can be difficult for moteliers to get specialist business advice and reassurance. Moteliers will often rely upon trade associations to fill this gap and often this will be in the form of referrals to long-time operators that are willing to share their experience.

There is a demand from the motel industry for business advice and luckily there are numerous self-opinionated moteliers that are willing to qualify their past business decisions to others. This freely given mentoring comes with no strings attached and often suits a hard core of needy moteliers that notoriously have short arms and long pockets. Cue the old adage - the value of free advice is worth exactly what you paid for it.

There is a place for an independent professional company that gives information on buying a motel through to running it successfully and exiting smoothly - that's where our latest sponsors, The Motel Guru come in!

In her recent client newsletter, Stef Haami from The Motel Guru offers some down-to-earth practical advice to moteliers when dealing with Online Travel Agencies:
"There's a heated debate going on around the pros & cons that come with online booking companies.

The big debate focuses on the fact that you do get massive exposure but they take a cut on every booking, reducing your profit margin.

In response, we’ve put together a quick checklist of what you can do to benefit from the positives of this new online phenomenon.

The key is to get pro-active and leverage off the good points of Online Travel Agents (OTA’s).

If a potential visitor is actively looking, and your motel comes up, they will check you out.

Ask yourself – Is it clear who I am targeting with this particular OTA? (Families, tourists, business travellers etc.)

Each of these groups has nuances that make certain motel offerings and qualities really appeal to them. The clearer you are on who you are looking for, the easier it will be for them to find you.

Once they’ve chosen to stay with you, your next goal is getting them to stay again (this time booking directly with you).

In order to do this, your online presence must be visible and be as user friendly as possible – if they are already comfortable booking accommodation online, chances are they will keep doing it.

Educate your clients

Ask your clients why they chose to book with the OTA. You could simply say “we’re doing market research on our most effective marketing channels, can I ask why you chose to book with.....”. This valuable feedback will help you understand what drives your customer.

Let them know if they book directly with you they will get best rate (if this is your policy). Sometimes customers choose to use OTA’s like wotif because they feel they are getting a better rate than booking directly with a property.

Make sure your website is up to scratch

Can they book directly with you?

Are you advertising best prices on your website or can they go somewhere else and get a better rate?

Look at your photos, are they current and are they appealing and engaging for your potential client? Could you replace your current photos with better ones?

Test the usability of your website - If you find it frustrating, your visitors will too

Sit down and look at your website as if you’ve never been there before. Is it intuitive? They should almost feel like you are holding their hand and guiding them through the process on your website.

Is it clear how they can book with you? Is there booking ability on each page?

If someone wanted to call you, can they find your phone number on each page?

Claim your listings on travel review and business directory websites – This will improve your visibility online

Business directory listings (like Finda) are free, and they rank highly on Google. Check the information and edit it to highlight your Points Of Difference (POD).

Check your reviews and ratings. Engage with clients on all reviews good or bad. Value Feedback.

Don’t forget to register for new review alerts so you know every time your motel is mentioned.

If improving the ways you communicate with your customers is on your to-do list, ask us about our upcoming business communication course. We cover off things like: How to respond to online reviews, what makes an effective website and how to write sales letters and emails that get results. Email me for more information."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Going Solo From My Family

I've earnestly reported on the scourge of those My Family Stickers applied to car windows. Regrettably, these masterbatery stick figures continue to regularly show up in my motel carpark.

I'm noticing that a few cars are are now turning up sporting "solo" "My Family" stickers...and that's kinda sad. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Unsatisfied Motel Guest

Last week, I checked-in a lovely lady into my motel that was celebrating her 60th birthday and I could tell she was a bit lonely. For the purposes of this post, I'll call her Ethel.

Ethel strode over to our reception the next morning and checked-out without looking me in the eye or saying a word. Judging by her demeanor, she didn't enjoy her stay and won't be back again.

I guess you can't satisfy every customer, but I've recounted the events of her stay the best I could to try and figure out what upset her so much...
After she checked in to her motel room Ethel thought, "I'll call one of those men you see advertised in phone books for escorts and sensual massages." She looked through the phone book, found a full page ad for a guy calling himself Tender Tony: A very handsome man with assorted physical skills flexing in the photo. He had all the right muscles in all the right places, thick wavy hair, long powerful legs, dazzling smile, six pack abs and she felt quite certain she could bounce a sixpence off his well oiled buns..

She figured, what the heck, nobody will ever know. I'll give him a call.

"Good evening, ma'am, how may I help you? Oh my, he sounded sooo sexy!

Afraid she would lose her nerve if she hesitated, she rushed right in, I hear you give a great massage. I'd like you to come to my motel room and give me one. No, wait, I should be straight with you. I'm in town all
alone and what I really want is sex. I want it hot, and I want it now.

Bring implements, toys, rubber, leather, whips, everything you've got in your bag of tricks. We'll go hot and heavy all night: Tie me up, cover me in chocolate syrup and whipped cream, anything and everything, I'm ready!! Now how does that sound?"

I said, "That sounds absolutely fantastic, but you need to press "9" for an outside line."
I guess we won't see that lovely old lady again...

Click the "Get Widget" link below to place this widget on your website or blog!