What am I ?

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06/12/2008

Okay, so, some of you know that I've been following this site for quite a few years now, am still an aspiring who is beginning to think the dream is just not going to work out.  I still follow you guys because, honestly, I appreciate all of you for your intelligence, ingenuity, creativity, dedication, etc., etc., etc.  So, recently an opportunity came up that we're checking out.  It's not a B&B.  It's not a hotel.  It's not a newfangled motel.  It IS one of those older motorcourts from a bygone era (part of it is very nicely done).  It is in a great spot, high traffic, seasonal interest, clean, somewhat updated, but has a terrible website, no online reservations, not even online pricing, and ..... no breakfast.  So, we're just starting to scope it all out.  First thought is to improve the website, provide for online rez and honest representation of what people will get, and the thought is to add continental breakfast, maybe better than continental on the weekends for which we would charge more, of course.  There are no chain hotel/motels in this area.  There is other lodging, but while they do not offer breakfast, they are probably newer, more updated (though, interestingly enough, don't have the curb appeal this place has).  So, my question is, if we were to offer continental during the week and better-than-continental on the weekends, what would we be?  A motel that happens to offer continental or better?  Would we be a retro bed and breakfast?  A motorcourt with attitude?  Smiling))  What do you guys think?  Would we fit in here or not at all?  Are there any others on here in the same category?  Okay, 'nuff questions.  I so want to hear what you all have to say.

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10/07/2008

I have missed you second act!

There is a place in Colorado that is an old funky retro style place and they have so many events and functions, even soup night, where you have a big cup and get your soup. They have dinner and paddle events on the river, etc. No breakfast.

Let me find them, my parents stayed there and all they could do was tell the owner to talk to JB, and I got her onto reservation key! Until now they had been taking every rez over the phone only year round,. They were scared of them, like many of us were.

The owner told me they were NEVER able to get on board with any of the tourism websites or groups since they had VALE and big money, and this place was "only a motel".  So they call it a resort motel.  They have hunters in the fall (who all bring their spouses along as it is such a fun place to stay, a fire ring, s'mores in the evenings, etc)

They are in the process of redoing the website, it is a TERRIFIC PLACE, and the website is not so good. Type in Isla  nd A   cres R  es   ort .com

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06/12/2008

Awww, JB, you are sweet.  Thanks for this bit of insider info.  I checked out the place.  Agree, the website is not so good, but it does have a LOT of info.  They have a huge number of rooms!  Place we're looking at has 16 rooms.  I love the ideas on extra activities.  Somewhat of a similar situation here.  While it is not in an area with any chain hotels, it IS in an area where there are 3 upscale lodging choices owned by some folks who have pretty much made a monopoly of it and, to some degree, do control much of the vacation marketing dollars.  My thoughts are, good, let them spend the big bucks to promote the area and bring people here and we would be able to benefit as well.  We are going back to look at it again this week, so should have more info soon.  

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

May everything fall into place for you. You have done your homework, we did not scare you off when the rose-colored glasses were removed so we know you will be successful. I know that because you said let them spend the money bringing the people in to us. Good luck with everything.

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06/12/2008

Smiling  Made me smile.

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06/12/2008

Thanks, Samster.  The website is definitely poor, but I get the idea.  I was actually googling some vintage  and retro motor courts this morning and getting some ideas.  It seems there is some interest in staying in those places IF they are clean and appropriate.  We used to have an older place in our town several years ago that still had the old metal showers in the bathrooms, but the place was known for being super clean, the owners were friendly people, and it  was "just enough" for the price for short stays.  My brother stayed there twice when coming to visit us.  They tore the place down a few years ago.  If I'm able to get some pics, I will post them so you can all get a visual.

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05/30/2008

Here is a funky motel in South Austin that might give you some ideas.  Embrace any quirkiness and it could be a good undertaking.

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02/18/2012

I love that you can see the heart that people put into this hotel! Had to laugh at their shopping page.

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05/22/2008

Funky can be good...but they need to have a good website to really play it up. A funky site isn't good Sad

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05/30/2008

The website isn't great for this place that I posted, but it is always in high demand because of the history, location, and so forth.  Just wanted to give the poster something to think about.  Smiling

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06/12/2008

Thanks to all of you; you've made some really great points.

Kathleen, we have all those things here; we are a 4-season tourist area.  That being said, lodging properties do suffer in the cold weather months.  Agree on WiFi in all rooms.

EAB and EmptyNest - great point about sticking with one thing and doing it right so that everyone who stays can count on getting the same amenities.  Makes sense.

SM101 - that's encouraging!  And, I think the "pride of ownership" is important.

Madeleine - thanks for the ordinances reminder.  Ohhh, to relive my childhood ... Smiling)

Skamokowa - since my FT job is done remotely over the internet, should this all pan out, I'm thinking to stick with it until I can wean us off and then just focus on the lodging.  In that interim, grown son and DH would do the heavy lifting.

K9, love your ideas for schmoozing the folks at the Visitors Center.  Also like the idea of renaming "Continental" as I agree, I always view the term as a negative unless and until I can say first-hand that it was way more than that, and by then the guess could have decided to go elsewhere.

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

Then in the cold weather months you remind them about how much fun it was to "play in the snow". Come make a snowman. Let the kid in you come out to play. Etc, etc. If you allow kids, use the little suckers as a reason to come play in the snow - make memories with your kids, come play in the snow.

In the Spring  when gloves are marked down to nothing to get rid of them, buy up a lot of different sizes, colors and have a glove basket - in winter check-ins get a pair of gloves or mittens to keep warm while building the snowman. Have a snowman contest weekend.... USE the weather rather than let it use you. Just some thoughts.

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02/13/2012

The fact that you're across the street from the lake & Visitor's Center is a HUGE plus!  There's no reason why that can't be profitable & full if done right.   

We schmooze our Visitor's Center pretty heavily and they send us alot of business.  We will take cookies individually wrapped with our business card attached on a platter and put them in the VC for visitors to have.  We bring the ladies goodies for the break room.  Call or fax them weekly with a list of our availability.  Participate heavily with the Chamber of Commerce for visibility.  Always have our Inn t-shirts on anywhere we go for visibility.  You can't do too much to make sure you are always the first to pop into their heads when someone asks for lodging.  

The phrase "Continental Breakfast" can be a turn off (because we all know we've seen the worst of CB's before), but if you offer lots of fresh options, local stuff, homemade if possible it will be a hit.  Maybe you can find a new phrase for CB - Breakfast Bar?

Skamokawa's picture
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08/24/2008

Just from the information in your post, I would definitely look into this.  If you can carry the bills and live while you get going (and plan for double >or more<  the time you think to get profitable) then it sounds promising.

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gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

Just make sure wifi is available in EVERY room.

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

Make sure the local ordinances don't preclude serving breakfast. Around here, if you don't have a kitchen, you can't serve food.

Other than that, I would play up the 'bygone, America hits the road' vibe. If the place is clean, comfortable and up to date, you can really lay on the retro attitude. There are folks 'of a certain age' who would love to relive their childhoods!

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08/19/2012

I stayed somewhere similar to what the OP is describing up in Vermont a couple years ago.   It was an older place and privately owned in an area where there were no chains - clean, comfortable, well maintained, obviously some pride of ownership even though everything wasn't the latest/greatest.  

They had one of the rooms redone into a "breakfast room" with seating and had whole fruit, different breads and bagels, (and a toaster) with jam, cream cheese, yogurt, cereal, coffee, tea that you would help yourself to.  

And they were VERY busy.

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05/22/2008

I am with the others. All can fit in here. Sounds like an interesting proposal. "jazz up the place" give it a good web presence and go from there. You have been here long enough to know pitfalls. As for breakfast. go continental all the time make it a nice one not just the chintzy muffins and juice. Give them a nice spread and charge for it. Good Word will spread.

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02/24/2011

Fit in, sure. 

Now as for your ideas, definitely need to choose what you want to be and what people expect because, well, you have to market as something.... as for breakfast, I think you need to be consistent, you can't serve one way on the weekends and another during the week because people won't know how to judge you, will read reviews and find inconsistency and then the complaints will hit the reviews. So either you do continental all the time or "better" all the time. 

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05/30/2008

There is  a local bnb who does Continental M-F and full breakfast weekends. They have been in business many years.

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05/22/2008

Sorry midwest madam...you must not have read all completely. This is not going to be a B  & B. They can't do meals/breakfast

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05/30/2008

I must not have. Thanks!

Joey Camb's picture
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04/02/2010

also you have to remember about stock ie different stock for the weekend and how many etc

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Arks's picture
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05/22/2010

Sure you'd fit in here! As Swirt once said (about me), where else would you go?

Like my own place, a vacation rental, you won't fit in with some of the discussions, but for most, you'll have much in common with the innkeepers here, or anywhere. Sheets and beds, cleaning bathrooms, reservations, websites and online reservations, dealing with the public. We all have that in common.

Assuming you have the financing under control and can handle it all, I'd say go for it. Start with continental and grow from there, if it seems the thing to do. Be flexible.

Some friends of mine recently bought a run down 1960's motel here, remodeled it in a "rock 'n' roll" theme, and reopened it with a basic continental breakfast. Not a lot of business yet, but it's new and no advertising so far. They have no regrets!

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06/12/2008

Oooohhh, Arkie, I definitely appreciate that feedback.  Glad your friends have no regrets.  Fantastic.  I hope they do well.  This place is right across from a huge lake and visitor's center.  The challenge will be to keep "heads in the beds" during the winters, but I do not have to leave my job; I work remotely, so can keep working from anywhere there is an internet signal.  And, that's what I was thinking too ... it's the beds, bathrooms and reservations, putting a smile on when you don't feel it, and figuring out some way to "wow" them into coming back or spreading the word.   Smiling

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

It sounds interesting. I assume it already has a name. Does it have a good rep with that name or could you rename it easily. Thinking if you could call it something that would evoke motor court memories kind of thing.  Think of it as cabins (which we have here so yes, you would easily fit here - regardless imnvho) in a row. It is lodging that you could make as the best in the area. It sounds as if you could with the knowledge you have gained here update it to be a GOING concern rather than an "on-the-way-down concern. Good luck. You have been here long enough to know the pitfalls and the things to look for.

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06/12/2008

Thank you, Kathleen.  It does have a name, not a great name though.  I think it has a good rep but not good exposure.  I do think because it doesn't have good web presence that it could be renamed easily.  Good question on that.  Yes, trying to think of the "everything old is new again" type thing with the memories.  Maybe adding Adirondack chairs for "settin a spell."  Like the thought of "going concern" rather than "on-the-way-down concern."  Thank you  ..... will keep you guys posted if it's a go.  Smiling

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

Now you are cookin'! Photos of those chairs looking at the lake kind of thing. Photos of rooms to show what they look like, Enticing photos of the lake and the grounds and I bet you will be book quickly. 

As for winter, I do not know the location obviously, but in the UP of Michigan they are busier in winter than in summer - in winter it is the snowmobiles. If your location would be good snow country and there are trails for snow mobiles, if the lake freezes good enough for ice fishing, again if there is snow and rail-trails for cross country skiing.....

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