As the digital age has taken shape a newly empowered guest has evolved.

In order to survive motel management must take these guests into account and provide them with enhanced experiences accordingly or face extinction. Their power certainly lies in the digital landscape we now live in has provided them.

Digital Darwinism as described by futurist and digital analyst Brian Solis is “the phenomenon where technology and society evolve faster than the organisation can adapt”

Change with the times or watch your bookings disappear

Many traditional businesses unable or unwilling to embrace the digital age have been either destroyed or disrupted as technology evolves. It is apparent only those who are asking themselves the question “how can we do this better?” will survive.

Motels that embrace digital tools used by the consumers during their decision-making journey. These motels are gaining online bookings, either directly website or other online booking agents.

So many small regional motels have websites that potential guests are unable to book on them

Many have only a “contact us” page, where the guest can leave their name, dates and contact details and is expected to sit and wait.

Guests today, are time poor, multitasking and require immediate results. Waiting for someone to call them or send an email back is now seen as a waste of their valuable time.

Guests want to book and book their accommodation now and not later in the day when you decide to call them or send them an email. They are equipped with their own technology and know how to use it.

Today, guests are booking more online because they can achieve their desired result immediately. Once booked the confirmations flow through to the inbox, and everything is sorted in just a few clicks.

Society is now mobile and we communicate with more and more people in more places in more ways.

Mobile phones have certainly made us more reachable at any time of the day or night. Making communicating with each other easier, but they also give us another option to do more in our day-to-day life.

You no longer need to be in the “office” or at home in front of a computer to make a booking. You can be at the supermarket, kids school or cafe having lunch with friends the result is immediate.

Are you keeping up with the changes? Are you making it easier for your potential guests to book in ways, and at times, that suit them?

Take your business to potential guests – don’t wait for them to come to you


In the past motel’s marketing plans were localized because that was what worked. A Motel marketing plan consisted of having a good sign out the front and a phone number in the phone book.

Owners relied on word of mouth and position to fill their rooms each day. Wait for a guest to walk in, that was it and at the end of the day the motel owner/manager would sit back and say “we can’t do better than that”.

Forward bookings were few and far between. After all, if someone was travelling from Sydney to Brisbane unless they had stayed at the motel previously, how would they know your motel even existed until they got there?

Today guests have the tools to research what they want well in advance of their trip. They can compare prices, value, position, facilities, availability and read reviews, without leaving their home or workplace.

Word of mouth is now more than just your circle of friends with the adaption of social media, the world has expanded. The social circles that people listen to for advice are no longer just family, friends and people in the town where they live.

Circles are larger and geographically bigger. We constantly crave the need to stay in contact with more and more people. We belong to online groups and access pages online to receive news and information..

The information highway brings in far more guests than a sign out the front of your motel.

Are you in all the places you need to be, to connect with you potential guests?

Why should your potential guests choose you over your competitors?


Your online presence and reputation are critical for your survival. Motel management can no longer sit and wait for a potential guest to walk in your door.

Guests are making informed decisions about where they are staying, long before they get to there. They are looking at your location and comparing prices, filtering your business against their own needs and wants. If you haven’t got it right online they do and will stay somewhere else.

They have choices, can see more and research more to find what suits their needs. Whether it be price, location, value for money, parking, pool, WIFI and other facilities, they check it all out and then decide which one bests suits them and make then they make the booking.

Are you giving them all the information … both written and visual … to help them choose your motel above all your competitors?

Customer Centricity

While customer-centricity isn’t a new term, we often talk about it without really knowing what we mean. So, let’s have a go at really defining the term and how it really does relate to a motel business.

Firstly, what does it mean to be customer-centric?

Some define it as making the customer the centre of attention. In fact, many businesses both big and small will say they make the customer the focus, but do they?

Truly becoming customer-centric is critical. Customers today have the power to share their opinions easily online. They can learn more about your motel and its services simply by going online and looking at the previous guest’s opinions and experiences.

It’s never all about you … it’s always about your guests and what they need?

This poses an intense challenge for motel management as missing the mark can cost you, impact your reputation and damage future/potential guests’ decisions to book with you. On the other hand, when you engage with your guests in each aspect of their journey, the rewards for you will be tremendous.

Each guest creates at least five touch points along their journey while they stay at your motel. Information & query, booking, check-in, stay (use of motel services and facilities) and check out.

Make the effort to engage with the guest at each step and do your own research into what they really want or need from you.

Put yourself in their position, think like a guest instead of a proprietor or manager and you will soon see where your motel succeeds … and fails.

Work on those points of failure and you will soon be able to make the statement “we are customer centric!”

The players who get it right will be reaping the rewards while others will be left behind.

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