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May 29, 2007, 05:40 AM
During this time of year they keep fairly close to full occupancy, perhaps because it has low end rental fees--upper $20's I think.

Hi, Jerry - one of the hardest things to do when you stand behind the counter of a store or any other business is to believe that you are worth more money .... because you know the cost price of everything, the gross profit element can seem a huge mark-up on your overheads.

If your family are improving the comfort, the appearance and cleanliness, then they should charge more - another $1/person/night would soon add up to better revenue. $3/4 might take the pressure off completely. If the competition is charging $30/night - then perhaps the paying guests are expecting to pay that for the quality of service and accommodation that your folks are providing.

Your statement also implied that there are parts of the season where they have vacant rooms; their real challenge is to fill more of those bednights by improving the marketing then. At the very least they should have a good idea how many rooms they have to let each year to break even and the consequences of discounting rooms in the low season to get business.

The idea of a free postcard to give to guests is good; if you get a good digital pic of the motel, Vistaprint does free print offers on postcards - and you can make sure that the contact details are on the reverse.

I think it is essential that the motel has a web site; even if your folks don't take online bookings, more and more people make accommodation enquiries online. That might make the difference between being full out of season and having beds to spare.

The motel must have a leaflet which is sent out when people enquire about accommodation; do they also advertise in local tourist maps or any other area specific initiatives?

Networking with similar businesses in their area - other motels and guest houses - is also a good idea; although these businesses are competing for guests, they also have times when they can't fulfil demand and need to be able to recommend somewhere for overflow enquiries. Invite them to see the motel and the improvements. Make sure that they like what they see.


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