8 Tips for Running a Motel

Blue Swallow Motel, Tucumcari, Route 66, New Mexico, USA.

8 Tips for Running a Motel

When it comes to running a successful motel business, there’s a difference between doing it and doing it well. Your success depends on more than just comfortable rooms with all the amenities. Those are a given in today’s busy marketplace. Motel owners must do a variety of things to attract guests and encourage them to return when they’re in the area. Fortunately, Signal Connect works with motel owners across the country. These folks offered us some important tips for running a motel business. Hopefully, this advice can help your motel operation too.  

Upgrade Your Motel Operations Software

Twenty years ago, motel owners needed a desktop software program to run their businesses. In 2018, we doubt that any motel owner could stay in business without one. The question is, how up to date is your motel management program? Some owners are using programs that have long become outdated, often claiming, “If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” Pro tip: Old programs aren’t as efficient as newer programs.  Antiquated software often lacks many of the modern tools needed to run your business. Your outdated program is as good as broken, and it needs to be replaced.

When looking for motel operations software, you need software that has these functions:

  • Reservations, bookkeeping, and payroll
  • Creates guest invoices
  • Keeps track of inventory such as linens, etc.
  • Provides space for details about guest and group histories
  • Keeps track of revenue and room price
  • Allows guests to make online reservations
  • Integrates with your online system

Focus on Customer Service

Small business owners are always fretting about competing against big national chains. It’s no different for owners of small motels. Some of you wonder how you can thrive in this environment. Others continue to be successful by offering great customer service to their guests.  Big hotel chains often fall short on the small things, such as remembering guests by their names.  Get the best training for your front desk, housekeeping, and maintenance staffs.  This will earn plenty of return customers.

Motel Marketing and Promotions

No one will stay at your motel if they don’t know it exists. This is why marketing and promotions are so important. Your motel marketing plan must have a website and social media accounts at an absolute minimum. Use these marketing platforms to explain why your motel is better than anywhere else in town. Some of the things your website and social media should discuss include:

  • The history of your motel
  • Owner’s bio and key staff member profiles
  • Everything you have to offer at your property
  • Excerpts from positive reviews on Yelp, etc.
  • Links and info about nearby attractions

Networking should also be a big part of your motel marketing plan. Increase your reach through your local Chamber of Commerce and tourism bureau. You also should network and cross promote with compatible local businesses. You never know how these connections can help your motel business.   

Maintain Your Motel Property

Is your parking lot well lit? Is your pool and hot tub clean and regularly maintained? What about the carpets in your lobby? All these things and more are important to your guests. When everything is clean and works the way it’s supposed to, people enjoy their stay. You can’t neglect a thing. Even your lawns, landscaping, and utilities maintenance are also important. Every aspect of your property has to be up to par if you want to meet your guests’ expectations.

Spy on Your Competition

Do you spy on other motels and hotels in your area?  If you don’t, you should start doing this right away.  It’s a great way to find out all their strengths and weaknesses, which can help you improve your business.  If you’re ready to check out the other hotels/motels in your area, here are some of the things to look for:

  • Your competitors’ nightly rates
  • What they offer besides rooms (Restaurants?  Pools?  Gyms?  Breakfast services?)
  • Customer service… or lack thereof
  • Property maintenance
  • Read online reviews of your competitors’ services

Once you have all this information on your competitors, what do you do with it? Use it to improve your property and services, of course! If you see the competition is doing something better than you, improve those things at your motel. When you find areas where you do something better, make sure to play those aspects up in your marketing. Every successful business spies on its competitors.  Why?  Because the information obtained is so valuable. This is why you should try it.

Know and Cater to Your Niche

As the owner of a small hotel, it’s important that you understand what niche your business fills in your market. For example, many small hotels tend to attract travelers headed to other destinations. These customers usually spend one night at your business, so you only have one chance to wow them. Other motels can attract guests attending conferences and conventions.  In these cases, you have to provide consistently the best guest services for three days or more.

What niche does your motel serve?  Are you a rural motel that caters to travelers just passing through?  Or is your business located on the outskirts of larger hotels and convention centers.  Whatever type of client is your typical guest, be sure to market your motel to this type of person.  Let these customer profiles drive the improvements you plan to make to your motel.

Hire an Accountant

Are you a trained accountant as well as a motel owner? If not, you should strongly consider hiring one. Your business has plenty of costs such as staffing, utilities, and equipment. With so much to follow, it’s best to contract with someone who has experience tracking these things. It’s very easy to find a qualified accountant. You can ask other small business owners for a recommendation. You can also attend a Chamber of Commerce networking event.  Tip: Try to find an accountant who has experience working with motels and hotels.

DIRECTV and Cellular Signal Boosters

DIRECTV and cell signal boosters are great additions to any motel. This service offers a huge variety of programming for your guests to enjoy.  Featuring this satellite TV service in every room is an easy enhancement for any motel.  So are cell phone signal boosters.  These devices help put an end to dropped calls, missed texts, and uneven streaming.  You might think of this as a convenience, but your guests consider it a necessity.   

Do you want DIRECTV and/or cell signal boosters for your motel? Signal Connect can deliver both of these amazing amenities to your business. We’re a DIRECTV Authorized Dealer.  Our reps can help you with every step of the process of bringing DIRECTV to your motel. This includes installation and account activation. We also have plenty of experience delivering signal boosters to hotels and motels. Signal Connect reps are happy to answer your questions about these services. Give us a call at 866-726-4182.