Is running a motel a 24/7 nightmare?
This is one of the most common questions I get asked by potential buyers. Often people are discouraged form motelling by friends and family who say. Oh no you will be stuck there like a prison not being able to go anywhere.
This is well meaning advice from people who care but the reality is a different picture.
A motel is your own business and as such you can operate it however you like. The way you operate it will reflect on the efficiencies of the motel business and ultimately your bottom line profit but it is your choice as to what you do and how you do it. There are a variety of people running motels from many different backgrounds and also a variety of ways in which they deal with managing their motel. This can also be dependent on the type and location of the motel. Most people choose to have someone on site 24 hours a day seven days a week but some choose to occasionally switch the phone over to their mobile and head to town for dinner. This is often in locations where there is very little guests arriving at night due to the travel time to get to the area and people wanting to be settled for the night. Pahia is an example of this type of location. Some motel operators also transfer the phone to mobile and go out for lunch on a Sunday knowing there are few guests around on that day. The choice is yours as a motel owner.
For those motel operators who choose to always have someone on site there are also a number of ways they control this. Some people have an employee who works a day or afternoon a week to allow them time off or an alternative is for each partner to have a formally allocated time they are away from the motel each week whilst the other “mans the fort”. Some motel operators have a very informal arrangement and spontaneously agree between the partners as to when they will have time away from the motel. All of this is usually for short breaks of a few hours to shop, play sport or socialise.
As for any worker, operators running a motel need a longer holiday break which is usually more carefully planned. There are also options for this type of time away from the motel as well. Many moteliers hire a professional motel minder. These are people are usually experienced at running a motel and choose to travel around and look after motels while the owners are away. They are booked well in advance and this allows the motel operator to plan their breaks throughout the year. Many motels have trained one of their staff, often a cleaner or cleaning supervisor to run the motel in their absence and thus it can be easier to organise a holiday break with less notice. Lastly some motel operators use their friends and family to run the complex. This must be very clearly defined though and sometimes differing opinions can cause ruffles in the relationship so it needs to be thought about carefully.
The amount of time off you need is individual. Some people need a day a week, some a week every six weeks, some 2 weeks a year and many other alternatives. You need to plan your time off according to your needs and make sure you get it. It is essential to your business that you do take time off. A tired overworked host doesn’t make for the most welcoming face for your guests and can have a big impact on the success of your business. Motels are 24/7 but only if you do not plan for a healthy alternative. Managed correctly they are an enjoyable lifestyle designed around your own needs.