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Mastering motel management

Aimed at new operators: Emily Stephens shares some tips on how to balance work and life using automation and scheduling solutions

Embarking on a motel venture is a thrilling yet daunting endeavour. As newcomers dive into this promising opportunity, they’re greeted with a myriad of tasks to grasp and systems to implement.

Simplifying operational procedures through automation can be a game-changer, not only streamlining tasks but also facilitating a healthier work-life balance for owners.

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By embracing efficient systems, moteliers can carve out more time for personal pursuits while ensuring the business maintains its excellence and thrives. This balance becomes even more crucial for motels with onsite managers or owner residences, presenting both unique challenges and opportunities for equilibrium

Living onsite can feel like you are always on call and unable to escape from duty.

Simplifying the reception opening hours and providing a clear line of communication with management outside of reception hours can help to remove this burden. Due to the pandemic and the rise of the digital age, guests have become more independent and accustomed to automation, preferring less face-to-face interaction, especially with the prevalence of 24/7 operations.

Offering a personalised service and a friendly smile remains key in small motels or accommodations. However, just like in any job, it’s crucial to unwind and embrace life for long-term success and upholding quality standards. Taking the time to leave the property each day for a period of time, possibly for a social or sporting activity is one small way to promote success in your business and life.

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For smaller accommodation properties, a daily routine or checklist can be very useful ensuring a smooth running of the property and will also assist in staff training and communication.

Well established operators will know instinctively what needs to be done, however new operators may need a little more guidance at the start of their journey and a checklist can help to understand the property and operations easier and more effectively.

Maintaining seamless and efficient operations of a motel involves overseeing various aspects, including housekeeping, customer service, and maintenance.

Managing the different areas can present challenges, however with a few automations as well as a clear, yet flexible, checklist or routine the pressure can be alleviated allowing for an enjoyable and productive day.

Automations such as automatic yield management and synchronisation between the channel manager and property management system can be one less task to deal with on a regular basis. Unfortunately an automatic system has not yet been created (that I am aware of) for cleaning bathrooms, making beds or unblocking drains.

Customer service, answering emails, phone calls and reservations will always be part of an accommodation operator’s day so be sure to allow space between tasks or set aside time later in the day to sit down and act on the less immediate items.

Checklists are also a useful tool for properties when owners or managers take time off or are on regular days off. Not only will the checklist cover items that the staff need to be trained in, it will also encourage strong communication within the team. Having team members trained in multiple areas can be extremely beneficial for many accommodation businesses.

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Maintaining guest rooms to a high standard requires a lot of repetitive work and often a great deal more washing. While our homes receive a spring clean or update every year or so, guest rooms often require the same amount of love on a more regular basis. Setting a schedule throughout the year to cover the necessary items will help to break down the big jobs into smaller, more manageable tasks.

For example, set one month aside for washing all of the mattress, quilt and pillow protectors, another month to clean the grout in the showers and so on. There is always something to do on the property, however it does not have to be done at once. Being flexible in your schedule will ensure the jobs are completed and the property well maintained without the stress.

Maintaining a high quality product for your guests to enjoy can lead to positive reviews resulting in increased revenue and occupancy for a successful business.

Quite often when owning a motel, with the opportunity for constant distractions, it can be hard to find the time to work on the business, review the finances and other reports. Using the same method as the cleaning and maintenance, breaking down the time consuming tasks into bite size pieces can increase the understanding as well as remove the need for a large period of time.

Reviewing the financial reports every Monday for twenty minutes instead of monthly for two hours will ease the pressure of the dreaded end of month and provide a clearer picture moving forward.

Emily walking on the beach at sunrise after a workout

With a blend of automations, effective communication, scheduling tools, and a little organisation, managing a motel or any accommodation business can prove immensely rewarding.

This approach not only facilitates a successful business but also grants the owner the opportunity to savour both a prosperous venture and an enriching lifestyle.

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