The evolving landscape of the motel industry and why they are currently having their ‘moment’.
For a long time, hotels have sat at the top of the hierarchy in the accommodation industry by being the preferred choice of stay for holiday goers. A lot has changed over the past year and a half, international travel is no longer on the cards (and more like a distant memory), and more people are turning to their backyards for a holiday. Many people are looking for alternatives that are affordable, uncomplicated, and tranquil places to stay. Looking to skip the full elevators, crowded lobbies and busy hallways, guests are turning to the sibling of the hotel, the motel, as they can enjoy their own private space without rubbing elbows with other guests.
Road-side pit stop or COVID-safe holiday haven?
In the past, motels have had a reputation for being a budget-friendly pit stop, usually reserved for 1-night stays or people on the go. The name itself ‘motel’ originated from ‘motor hotel’, a place designed for people on the road who needed a quick place to stay and rest. Motels typically offered the same characteristics – an attached restaurant, a big vacancy sign, a drive-through reception, and a row of numbered doors. Guests can make a last-minute pull in and get a comfortable, no frills, room to rest for the night.
Nowadays, however, the motel landscape has changed, and more and more are popping up with modern twists and trendy décor. This revamping of motels could perhaps be linked to the influx of Airbnb’s. Motels are no longer the only option for people wanting to skip the big high-rise apartments. The impact that Airbnb has had on the motel industry has been compared to the impact that Uber had on the Taxi industry. So, it’s no wonder that motels are trying to shed away the old stereotype and revamp themselves as a funky and unique way to stay.
With many people still apprehensive about booking a holiday due to COVID outbreaks, especially one that consists of a flight, due to the continuous changes in laws and border closures, more and more people are turning to easy to access holiday destinations. They are choosing to drive rather than fly and embracing the no-contact that motels often offer. Having direct car-to-room access and the outside corridors typical in motels are ideal in these pandemic times. Moteliers have embraced this comeback and are looking for ways to stay popular long past the pandemic days.
Is the motel trend here to stay?
Those in the motel industry will know firsthand the ups and downs. With many motels being a family-owned business or only having a few staff, staying relevant in the present era is so important. Not every motel owner has the budget to revamp their décor to suit the influx of luxe motel designs, and how can we be sure that this isn’t just a phase and people will bounce back to fancy hotels in no time? By embracing some of the newfound changes that COVID-19 has brought onto travelling and implementing new forms of technology, moteliers can help provide autonomy for guests whilst minimizing their costs. Moteliers can now implement specifically designed motel software solutions that can do the job of past employees and minimize guest interaction, which is extremely appealing to guests now. The HiSITE Front Desk App allows motel managers to check-in guests from anywhere, minimizing physical interaction with the guests and saving time for the motelier. We may not have come as far as the robot room service in other parts of the world but, there is no denying that technology moves fast in the accommodation industry and embracing this may be the only way to stay relevant to future guests.
It is impossible to know what the next year will bring, will the world open back up? Or will we still be shuffling through lockdowns? Will hotels regain their hierarchy, or will motels hold onto the reign? Whatever happens, to stay afloat, those in the travel industry will need to continue adapting – something we have all no doubt become good at by now.
With so much in the world unpredictable right now, don’t let your software let you down too. If you are looking for a motel software solution that streamlines your operations and drives revenue, contact the HiRUM team today. The industry-leading motel property management software, along with HiRUM’s Channel Manager, will boost revenue and save you time allowing you to put your focus on the guests. Find out more about HiRUM’s motel software solutions that your property needs.
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