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Old 09-02-2014, 11:03 PM
989 posts, read 1,502,704 times
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Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
I think the skepticism here is because of jealousy of not coming up with this idea.

Things can be made secure so they are hard or virtually impossible to break.
I don't really think it's "jealousy", especially since the general idea isn't new - noting Tune Hotels. The skepticism is based on some elements of reality of the hotel business mentioned as is in the US. Airlines probably get away with it because the customer decides they can put up with inconvenience for two hours - but different approach once they put up with that bad airplane ride and now want to relax in their room.

SIDE NOTE: Motel 6 was founded on (at least on the name/price) similar idea. When Motel 6 was founded in the 1960's all rooms were $6. Keep in mind that was 6 1960's dollars, not 6 - 2014 dollars and today they seem to run around $49-59 (on low side). Admittedly, it's the full basic room but again inflation has taken its toll.

Anyhoo...being one who has worked in many different elements of hotels for about 15 years I find the concept mildly interesting but don't think it's more than a fun conversation on a public forum - especially when thinking about "real life" in hotel operations.

The concept seems to work for Tune Hotels (who charge more than $4, by the way) for the locations they operate. I don't think the American traveler in US hotels views the shopping experience in the same way the guest views hotels in SE Asia. The American traveler who will tolerate this in the US is , again, the kids looking to party cheap or elements of society engaging in activity you really do not want at your hotel.

So, who is going to be your target market? Your concept is a hotel based on price. I don't see enough US travelers people having the money to travel, that obsessively thrifty to spend time to shave a tiny bit of expense, and not already finding a glut of economy level hotels in most markets - for not much more $$ and without the hassle. The economy shopper, by and large, is going to go to the known names such as Motel 6 and just be done.

You sure aren't going to win any business people - they flip out if there isn't instant high speed internet, much less screwing around trying to pay and get signed up for more than basic connection and electricity. You're not offering any family amenities and Mom is not going to put her babies into this basic of a hotel. Dad isn't going to feel like listening to kids screaming because the TV has no fun channels. If someone is vacationing they've already decided, for the hotel, to pay for the comfort and experience.

How are you going to police the charges? Hotels already struggle with guests disputing incidental charges and often adjust them off. It will also cost you money to inventory and charge all these items.

For example, how much are you going to pay someone to monitor the showers to make sure everyone uses only their 5 minutes? What if the guest stays in there and uses more - are you planning to have the employee run into the shower to pull wet, naked people out? What if they won't pay for their extra time, are you going to throw mud on them? I'm not trying to be snide - I'm asking real life operational questions.

For that matter, who is really going to forego a shower/pay extra for it? Separating out that charge is just going to **** people off - not even Tune charges for a shower.

$4 for housekeeping? What happens to the room after a guest checks out? You have to clean the room anyway, right? Leave it dirty and nasty after the kids partied? You'll eventually not even get the kids to come back - they'll pool their dollars and go party at the Econolodge.

Security is going to cost money, and more than $4/night will allow.

You haven't factored in any costs of doing business such as mortgage, licensing, inspections, taxes, insurance, utilities, pest control, marketing, and more (and presumably you're doing this in hopes of profit).

Movies as revenue stream? A person looking for a room for $4 is probably not the same person willing to pay $10-16 for the convenience of in room movie. The industry is also generally moving away from this given everyone streams their movies on their Ipads or phones via Netflix.

I think your concept will come across to people as feeling they will be nickel-and-dimed at every turn. They either won't bother in the first place or will start finding every problem they can with the room to get those charges removed. They already do that at hotels.

Again Tune is doing it seemingly successfully in a market a bit more open to a la carte hotel stays, but I don't see a single hotel brand even remotely considering this sales approach to the level you are describing. Choice Hotels and Wyndham Hotels (which own the majority of the economy brands - Super 8, Days Inn, Comfort Inn, Knights Inn, etc) don't bother with this approach - and trust me - those brands have plenty of their own problems without trying to figure all the logistics out of a la carte hotel services.
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Old 09-02-2014, 11:21 PM
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
7,653 posts, read 15,335,685 times
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This thread was made partially as a joke. Of course this idea wouldn't make it in the U.S.

I've stayed at "private rooms" in hostels that were not much more than this (and beware, no matter what Wikipedia tells you, an "hostal" in Mexico is likely to be a youth hostel, unlike in Spain.) However, they had free wi-fi, pools, entertainment, etc.

The whole concept is not to make a profit with the nominal $4 rack rate. RyanAir or EasyJet offered flights for as little as GBP 0.99, but most people spent far more than a quid on them. It's the extras that count. Essentially the rooms as they come would be unbearable for most U.S. travelers. So they spend money on enhancing their experience. They pay the extra $15 / night for cable and ESPN. They pay $5 every morning to have a shower, or get a family room for $20 extra. They pay the extra $5 for a mattress cushion and extra pillow. They almost have to pay the $10 for parking, and the $7 booking or cashier charge.
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Old 09-03-2014, 12:09 AM
104 posts, read 80,398 times
Reputation: 156
Congratulations, you get your proposal evaluated pro bono by an Econ major who continually makes bad decisions re: sleeping habits.

First and foremost - the problem with allowing people to pick and choose features - and pay for them individually - is twofold:

1. People don't like fees. $5 for this, $10 for that, $3.50 for the other, makes people feel resentful and like they're being nickel-and-dimed. The more individual fees you add, the more people get pissed off.
2. When you allow people to pay in increments and evaluate an individual feature's marginal cost to them, it becomes easier for people to decide how much a particular feature is really worth to them. Maybe they'll pay $65 for a hotel room that has WiFi, cable, 300 thread count sheets, etc. and they won't think about how the cost of those items factors into the overall price, but if you offer them the opportunity to buy individual features, they WILL look at those features and decide if they're worth the price or not. I like getting ESPN when I stay at a hotel, but break down the cost for me and ask if I want to pay $5 extra to watch it? - No thanks, I can look at the scores tomorrow.

I.E. the same people who will drop $80, $100 on a nice hotel room almost certainly will not create a "make-your-own" hotel room that costs that much. They will look at what they can do without (or get for free somewhere else).

Secondly...unless truly strapped for cash, most people will avoid "cheap" hotel rooms. If you sell them a $4 base hotel room, they're going to expect it to look like a $4 hotel. I've seen hotels advertised at $35 a night...never stayed at one, but when I see one that cheap, little alarm bells start going off. It's much less likely to be the deal of the century than it is to be someplace I would not sleep in for the night.

And if truly strapped for cash? - Then they might just take the $4 rate.

If the $4 isn't enough to offset your expenses, you're going to have to pull in a high margin on the added features, which means you're going to have to charge even more for them, which means even fewer people are going to opt in for them.

It's an interesting idea in theory, I just don't see how it would work in practice.
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Old 09-03-2014, 03:20 AM
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I like it, but not for travelers. It would get most of our homeless population off the street. They can panhandle $4 in a half hour. These places would be full of drugs, crime, and prostitution, but our streets would not be.
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Old 09-03-2014, 05:01 AM
26,590 posts, read 54,590,084 times
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Originally Posted by otterprods View Post
I think you would a lot of broke kids staying there and treating the rooms like they're worth about $4.

There already are a lot of cheap, simple lodging options in Europe and elsewhere. They're called hostels.
Agree. Broke kids and homeless people. Oh goody.
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Old 09-03-2014, 06:44 AM
Location: I live wherever I am.
1,935 posts, read 3,740,102 times
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Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
With barebones airliners popping up all over Europe in the last two decades, I wonder if the idea has been applied to lodging yet. Imagine a hotel stripped to its barest, with every luxury costing extra. '

It would be named "Motel 4", and it would advertise $4 / night, no matter what.

For $4 / night, you get a tiny room with a fold-down mattress, a faucet, a toilet, a sheet, a pillow, and a shelf to put your stuff on. There would be complimentary USB charging of phones, but plugging things in costs $1 / kWh.

At $4 / night, the showers are down the hall, and cost $5 for a 5-minute wash and 5 minutes after that to dress. Rooms with en-suite showers begin at $24 / night but are showers are still limited to 15 minutes per day.

There would be a 19" SD TV in all rooms, but by default the only thing you can watch are promotions for pay-per-view movies and Motel 4 commercials. Luckily, you are able to watch network TV and a limited selection of basic cable channels for $4 / hour or $10 / day. ESPN is available for another $5 / day. Movies cost between $10 and $16.

Wireless internet is free, but it's limited to just above dial-up speeds. To unlock the full speed costs $4 / hour or $10 / day.

Cleaning service is an additional $4 / day.

Booking a room carries a $4 credit card processing / transaction fee. You can also pay up-front in cash, but that requires a $4 till fee or a $4 credit card processing fee unless you use a Motel 4 Pre-Paid Visa.

Parking is a necessity as most of the hotels would be run out of abandoned malls, motels, and big-box stores. However, that would carry an additional fee, usually $10 / night.

What do you think of my proposal?
Motel 6 started out exactly like that - $6 per night.

Your proposal would not work, sadly, and here's why.

1) The room will always, but always, have to be cleaned and disinfected after people stay there. Having a housekeeper go through the room and clean all of the basic linens (such as that sheet and pillow) would cost at least that $4, which leaves nothing for costs of doing business such as insurance, property tax, monthly payment on the building, etc... and sure as heck leaves nothing for profit. That said, the idea would work if the bare-bones price were higher, like "Motel 19".

2) Most people who would stay in such a room would be lowlifes who would be looking for a place to do drugs, get drunk, or have sex. Such people have disregard for their own bodies, so they sure as heck won't care much about the room. "But we can get their credit card numbers, so that they would have to pay for any damage!" That assumes they have credit cards, and that those credit cards have more room left over before hitting the limit. Even losing out on one trashed room can erase the profit from literally hundreds of booked rooms if the basic room price is too low... and you suggested that the total cash price would be $8.00.

3) People get tired of piddly little fees for everything, just as you get tired of seeing those commercials which advertise some service for only $19.99 per month, but then upon investigating you find that if you want that service to be good for anything, you have to purchase all kinds of upgrades that make it cost $79.99 per month. It reminds me of U-Haul - "STILL only $19.99!" Then in the fine print: "Per day, in town, plus mileage." Mileage is 70 cents a mile. Even in town, that adds up quick. Airlines are advertising "no checked baggage fees"... but don't you think they make it up in higher fares? Why would they advertise no checked baggage fees? Because people hate fees. They'd sooner pay a higher "bundle price" than to have a low base price with all kinds of fees tacked onto it later.

Trust me, I would love to see bare-bones motels too. I get tired of paying $50 for even the cheapest motel room and find that it has all of these amenities that I don't need. I'm looking for a place to sleep and wash up, not relax in the lap of luxury. Two double beds in the room? I'll take only one. My wife and I can sleep in the same bed, you know. Cable TV? I watch it but I don't need it. Coffee machines? I don't drink coffee. Refrigerators and microwaves? I use them sometimes, but I don't have to. Artwork on the walls? Bare freaking drywall would be fine for me. Dressers and closets? Who in the heck actually takes the time to unpack their clothes and put them in a dresser... just to have to pack them up again later? I have zero use for that. The only amenities I need in a hotel are a comfortable bed, a climate control unit to keep the room comfortable, a toilet I can access from my room without needing shoes nor a flashlight, and a way to wash or sanitize my hands after pooping. Even if the price had to be kept down by making the bathroom a communal bathroom in some way (sort of like the "bath house" that you find at campgrounds), that'd be fine.

But I am guessing that you are not the first person to have had this idea. The fact that it hasn't popped up in America means that nobody has yet believed it would work.
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Old 09-03-2014, 08:14 AM
Location: Colorado
2,483 posts, read 3,536,154 times
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Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
I think the skepticism here is because of jealousy of not coming up with this idea.
He's onto me…
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Old 09-03-2014, 02:17 PM
Location: Venice, FL
1,707 posts, read 1,163,515 times
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I think the local homeless charities will fill up all your rooms putting up homeless families to get them off the streets. Cheaper than running their own shelter.
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Old 09-03-2014, 02:19 PM
Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
9,217 posts, read 8,298,253 times
Reputation: 19980
Here is another major flaw in your idea.

People pick motels for location not for price.
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Old 09-03-2014, 03:44 PM
Location: I live wherever I am.
1,935 posts, read 3,740,102 times
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Originally Posted by blueherons View Post
Here is another major flaw in your idea.

People pick motels for location not for price.
This is not necessarily true. I always pick on price, because I know that I will need nothing more than the basics. I will sit for an hour, making phone calls, if need be, so that I can find a motel that charges me no more than a grand total of $60 per night. It's outrageous to pay even that much when all I intend to do in there is sleep, crap, pee, and shower. It's like paying $6 per hour to sleep. That's ridiculous. I can sleep in my car for $0 per hour, and shower/poop/pee at a truck stop for $3 - 13.
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