The Budget Motel Chain has expanded to incorporate three tiers of accommodation as well as taking on a new name, the Arra Accommodation Group.
In February 2009, the Budget Motel Chain saw the launch of a new trading name, Arra Accommodation Group, that encompasses not only the Budget Motel Chain but also Paragon Motels and a new mid level brand called Orbit Inns.
While it remains intact and has grown to incorporate more than 300 properties, the Arra Accommodation Group now also caters for those wanting mid-range and up-market places to stay through the Budget, Paragon and orbit brands.
The Budget Motel Chain – which is aimed at economy-conscious travellers and offers good, clean comfortable accommodation at below average rates – has been operating since 1978 and covers all Australian states and territories and both islands of New Zealand.
Paragon provides stylish, high-quality four star plus accommodation and is ideal for the corporate sector and discerning travellers whilst the new Orbit Inns are 3.5 star properties with the guarantee of greater room space and a series of affordable luxuries.
Arra Accommodation Group general manager, Ross Luhrs said the three tier Arra structure ensures everyone interested in good accommodation is now catered for.
“Our properties can satisfy everyone from the budget to the executive traveller, from those on business trips to families and seniors.
“No chain has a greater depth of accommodation choices at prices ranging from $60 to $180 dollars. We are extremely proud of our range of independently owned and operated motels. In launching Orbit Inns, we recognise there was a gap in the market and have now filled it.
“The Arra Group has done its homework and added greater space and more quality to its offerings,” Mr Luhrs said.
Arra Accommodation Group
Arra Accommodation Group is setting a new standard in affordable accommodation. At a time when the discerning traveller demands good value and exceptional service, Arra provides a unique balance of attractive aesthetics and moderate pricing.
There are over 322 individually owned and operated motels throughout Australia and New Zealand and today there are 293 motels with over 6100 rooms located in Australia and 29 motels in New Zealand and 430 rooms offered to the travelling public.
With over 322 motels in the Arra Accommodation Group, properties are found in the smallest country towns through to the largest cities and you would find you are close to an Arra Member property just about wherever you are in Australia and New Zealand.
A large percentage of member properties within Arra are owner operated smaller motels with average size of 19 units. These businesses are often family run, located in all regional areas of Australia and New Zealand. However, it is not to say large motels located in the capital cities and metropolitan areas do very well by being a member.
With guaranteed tariffs and strict quality assurance, Arra properties are well positioned with accommodation to suit every travel need and sets a new standard in affordable accommodation.
Some of the strategies and benefits member properties receive by being a member of the Arra Group include: rights to use our proven internationally recognised registered Budget, Orbit or Paragon trademark name and logo; listing in the Arra Accommodation Directory, that enjoys annual worldwide circulation in excess of 460,000 copies by member properties, tourist information centres and major airports; current motel industry and group information via our newsletter; participation in a committed ongoing internal Quality Assurance Program of our entire membership; advertising online and in numerous accommodation publications including AAA Accommodation Guides, Jason’s Advertising, AA Advertising and Yellow & White Telephone Pages and listing on the Arra Hotels website and free use of online channel manager.
The Arra Group is arguably the lowest cost referral chain in Australia and it is extremely difficult for an independent motelier to market their motel on a national and international scale equal to what can be offered as a member of the Arra Accommodation Group.
With the introduction of the Arra Accommodation Group and the importance the group places on technology it is currently reshaping its website strategy. At the forefront will be www.arrahotels.com website that will cater for all Arra brands.
Due to the popularity of its current websites (www.budgetmotelchain.com.au and www.paragonmotels.com) these sites will continue to form an important ingredient in the Arra marketing strategy. All websites contain detailed information on all member properties including telephone numbers of your property and website links to member home pages.
The Arra websites are proving very popular with Internet users and regularly attracts over 30,000 visitors per month. Member properties can participate in selling their own motel rooms via the websites 24 hours a day with the knowledge bookings are securely paid and instantly confirmed for guests.
As well as selling rooms on the Arra websites, members can also utilise the Arra Group’s channel manager. The channel manager allows member properties to currently list inventory on seven other party website portals including www.wotif.com, www.lateminute.com.au, www.travel.com.au, www.checkin.com.au, www.needitnow.com.au, www.quickbeds.com and www.bookeasy.com Arra plans to continually increase the number of website portals throughout 2009 including holiday guides and rates to go. Arra does not interfere with the business arrangement for commission members have with the third party website channels.
Budget Motel Chain
The Budget Motel Chain was established in 1978 and is a not for gain registered public company structured as a non profit co-operative run by members for the members. It all began after a visit to the USA by a group of Canberra businessman who identified the need to establish a motel chain with a similar in concept to Motel 6 in the USA, here in Australia. So, they built ‘Motel 7’ in the Canberra suburb of Narrabundah that then became the inaugural member of the unincorporated association known as the Budget Motel Referral Service Association. The basic philosophy of their motel chain was to offer clean, comfortable, affordable accommodation to the Australian market.
In 1983, the Budget Motel Chain became incorporated to form the National Budget Referral Chain Ltd, a fully registered public company, not for gain and structured in similar form to a non profit co-operative run by the members for the members. After this merge, the Budget Motel Chain grew steadily over the years, expanding membership to all states and territories of Australia.
In 1991, New Zealand motels were invited to join the Budget Motel Chain and over the years since then, the membership in New Zealand has grown beyond 70 member properties.
In 1999, the Budget Motel Chain celebrated its 21st birthday and proudly boasted 21 years of servicing the travelling public with their motel accommodation needs and then in 2003, the Budget Motel Chain celebrated not only its 25th birthday but also its success as a major player in the accommodation industry; servicing the travelling public in the future with clean, comfortable and affordable accommodation.
October 2007 saw the Budget Motel Chain launch the brand Paragon brand to cater for the four to five star rating motels and then a year later, to celebrate its 30 years of servicing the travelling public, the group head back to Canberra to celebrate where it all began.
During its 30 years, the Budget Motel Chain has earned credibility in the accommodation industry as being reputable, reliable and a financially sound motel referral chain.
Ross Luhrs said, “Our research has shown the travelling public is more and more price conscious with their spending habits, which includes their choice of motel accommodation. In other words, they are after ‘value for money’. We are delighted with the response it receives from the travelling public, especially the ‘over 50’s age group’, who continually use our member properties. They are affectionately referred to as Budget Guests, who consistently and regularly support our member properties. Over the years we’ve grown with our customers needs and kept our key values, whether it be providing service with a smile or comfort at an affordable price.”
Before becoming a Budget motel, properties have to pass a list of criteria to determine their market position and compatibility with the brand. This criteria includes being a economy conscious clientele; fits into the “Spend a night, not a fortune” slogan; clean, comfortable and affordable; strong over 55 age group appeal; no wholesale travel agency commissions; guaranteed tariff policy which fits with the property’s guest demographics; good basics such as bed, shower, television and a clean room over higher quality décor provisions and great value for money; good standard of maintenance.
Once a property has passed these criteria, it is then assessed through Budget’s ‘Comfort Control’ requirements to ensure the property is value for money.
When assessing a new motel, the group does not use the AAA Tourism star rating system, although as a guide member motels are a minimum of 2½ star rating, with the majority either being three or 3½ star and several in fact being four star.
Many Budget motels have much more than the usual minimum requirements. Many features include swimming pools, barbeque areas, playgrounds, tennis courts, tour facilities, restaurants and bars, laundry facilities, and recreation rooms.
Ross Luhrs said, “Our longstanding and continuing philosophy of providing the travelling public with good, clean, comfortable accommodation at an affordable tariff has been the hallmark of our success. We are keen to attract genuine business for our member properties by offering the travelling public with a simple value for money approach.”
The new Orbit Inns brand was launched in February and listed three Orbit properties in the April 2009 edition Accommodation Directory. Since April the new brand has created a lot of excitement and interested from the accommodation industry and have signed several more properties.
“Orbit Inns provide you with the space to relax”. This slogan exemplifies the groups property type and customer; spacious luxury and value for money. Providing Foxtel or Austar pay television, a queen or king size bed in every room and extra special amenities such as spa baths and room service, Orbit Inns caters for the business or holiday client.
Like Budget, before becoming an Orbit Inn, properties have to pass a list of criteria to determine their market position and compatibility with the brand.
This criteria includes clientele are seeking a mid range style property that displays pleasant external and internal presentation; consumers willing to pay a reasonable yield rate but are still price sensitive; comfortable, well equipped, nicely furnished room not showing obvious signs of wear and tear; value for money is still able to be satisfied; good corporate appeal as well as responding to the more discerning guest; neatness, good order and commands a “yes, looks good” reaction; good standard of maintenance internal and external and fits well with the slogan “ you will always come back”.
Each member property of Orbit Inns must be a minimum of 3½ star rating as assigned by AAA Tourism or Qualmark (NZ) or equivalent assessment as determined by Arra.
Paragon Inns, Motels and Hotels
Launched in 2007 as the up-market alternative for accommodation needs throughout Australia and New Zealand, the philosophy of Paragon is quite simple, “A group of properties that deliver attractive presentation, excellent facilities, and where guests will say – this has appeal!”
The objective of the group is to provide a selected list of locations that deliver attractive presentation, excellent facilities and added benefits that will leave guests pleasantly surprised. At present there are 23 Paragon properties throughout Australia and two in New Zealand with all listed on the www.paragonmotels.com website.
Like the other two brands, before becoming a Paragon branded property, properties have to pass a detailed list of criteria to determine their market position and compatibility with the brand.
This criteria includes presenting a stylish, up market, quality establishment; quality furnishings, fittings and property maintenance is of a very high standard; good range of services to satisfy corporate, special occasion guests and consumers seeking good quality accommodation and related services; facilitate online booking services; well presented staff and comfortable with the slogans “affordable luxury” and a “pattern of excellence”.
Each member property of Paragon must be a minimum four star rating as assigned by AAA Tourism or Qualmark (NZ) or equivalent assessment as determined by Arra Accommodation Group.
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