Wednesday, September 20, 2017
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Case Study: Country Capital Motel

Wade and Mandy Berryman embarked on a major refurbishment of the Country Capital Motel in Tamworth, New South Wales, almost immediately on becoming leaseholders of the property.

Located in the southern motel strip of Tamworth, the couple moved into the premises and commenced business on 30 October last year and began their very first renovation.

New to the hotel industry, they took advice from the outgoing moteliers and others in the industry that a major refurbishment of the motel was desperately needed. The Country Capital had just had their annual visit from AAA Tourism and received their AAA rating, a borderline 3-star.

The property had deteriorated in condition, appearance and occupancy.

Wade, a former detective seargent with the NSW Police Force for over 20 years, knew that they faced a big challenge with this project.

“We jumped in head first here,” he said.

Of the 31 rooms at the motel, 21 had not been updated in two decades.

“Refurbishment of the rooms was identified as one of the immediate keys to turning the business around.”

“We immediately called on Expresso Services to advise and quote us on supply and install of fixed and moveable furniture to 21 rooms,” Wade said. “Rick Porter and Dave the factory manager were on site within days. Their attitude and customer service left us in no doubt from the outset that they were our preferred provider for our refurbishment.”

With the exception of the ten rooms that Expresso Services had refurbished under the previous owners after a storm event, the rooms had not been refurbished or updated for 20 years or more. Wade said that their goal was to implement a program of refurbishment that would result in an increased AAA Tourism rating to 3½ stars within 12 months.

AN19-4-Country_Capital_Motel_logo“At the time of our purchase, the property had been rated as just a few points shy of falling to the 2½ stars category.

“Refurbishment of the rooms was identified as one of the immediate keys to turning the business around.”

The refurbishments have included almost every element of the rooms, including hard and soft furnishings. “Basically everything was replaced except the walls and windows,” Wade said.

“The rooms were very dated and very worn.”

“It was early 80s décor with old dark brown carpets and mission brown painted fridges. Most of the furniture was the same age.”

Mandy had the task of choosing the décor themes and colour schemes for the refurbishment.

“She enjoyed the challenge and was pleased with the final result,” Wade said.

This included replacing all the appliances, carpet, light fittings, soft furnishings and furniture.

The project is still ongoing, with 75% of the work now completed.

Wade said they estimate the project will be completed by October of this year, just in time for the next AAA Tourism rating visit. “It can’t come soon enough,” Wade said.

“We wanted it all done within 12 months.”

They have faced several challenges during the renovation period, not the least of which was Mandy giving birth to their lovely daughter Lily in April. “It’s been a juggling act,” she said.

“To date we have completely stripped and remodeled 18 of the 31 bathrooms, and refurbished and refurnished 13 rooms. “

Expresso Services provided and installed all fixed and moveable furniture, along with bedside lamps and electrical appliances.

“We were impressed by the work Inverell-based Collis Berryman Tiling has completed in motels in Moree and Inverell, and used him to completely demolish and renovate our bathrooms.

“Tiles and shower screens were provided by Stuart Tiles of Inverell.

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“Everyone knows how hard it is to find a reliable tradie who turns up when they say they will,” Wade said. “We found two in Halpins’ Plumbing and Shane’s North West Electrical, both of Tamworth. “

One of the challenges they faced was with such major renovations, it required a number of different tradespeople being there at the right time.

“The age old challenge of co-ordinating all the different trades was ever present. The exception was Expresso Services. They always turned up on time or when works went pear shaped, were happy to delay until we were ready for them.

“Our single biggest issue was the joinery firm we had contracted to build and install the bathroom vanities, let us down very, very badly. That business failed to provide any of the installation on time,and any work they did do, was a disgrace.

“It became apparent that we could not continue to use them for the remaining 21 bathrooms.

“A telephone call to Rick at Expresso Services reassured us that they would build and install the bathroom vanities to a similar spec and price. Rick was true to his word and the quality of their product is second to none.”

The refurbished rooms are light, modern and welcoming to the Country Capital’s guests, with reliable new appliances and comfortable bedding. The rooms have been fitted with new 81cm plasma HD TV and DVD player with iPOD docking stations.

The refurbishments completed include new designer en suite bathrooms.

Wade said seeing the work completed had been very satisfying. “The customer feedback has been a reward on its own,” he said. “At the end of the day, what matters is what our guests think of the refurbishment.

“Our occupancy rate continues to increase, and we have been able to increase our tariff to reflect the new standard.”

Wade said that rates have increased up to 10% depending on the room.

“We have exceeded all our business plan targets well within the 12-month time frame we had set. The number of new guests referred by existing guests continues to surprise and please us.

“The number of guests who try us out but then keep coming back and the number of guests who stopped staying at the property but are now returning regularly, speaks volumes.

“And, other motels and businesses are referring guests to us on the grounds of our refurbishment program.”

The motel has a wide range of guests including corporate travellers, tradesmen, sporting groups, visitors working on the many projects around Tamworth and country music festival fans. They offer eight twin rooms, six two-bedroom suites, five double rooms with the remainder as family rooms.

Part of the refurbishment included extensive landscaping and fencing, designed to lift the appearance of the property to increase the external visual appeal to guests.

Outdoor amenities include a secluded pool and BBQ area.

Have some refurbishments you would like to show off?
Email profiles@accomnews.com or call (07) 5440 5322.

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