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Old 09-07-2014, 12:24 AM
Location: SF Bay Area
13,343 posts, read 17,402,276 times
Reputation: 19654


I'm not staying there; I'll get shanked in the showers.
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Old 09-07-2014, 12:32 PM
26,590 posts, read 54,583,712 times
Reputation: 13019
Originally Posted by blueherons View Post
Here is another major flaw in your idea.

People pick motels for location not for price.
I travel to one city 2-6 nights a month. I have a choice of four different general areas with multiple brands of hotels in that city. While my company won't typically allow a Ritz Carlton, I typically stay at Hilton Garden Inn, Hyatt Place, Aloft, Courtyard, and similar type places. I typically choose the area near the airport for three main reasons. First, I like the location. It's convenient to the highways I need to get to my client's offices, second there are a lot of choices of restaurants nearby--everything from Chipotle to a locally owned casual steakhouse. The last is that there are several shopping centers around the corner in case I need something. I can get a room at any of those hotels plus sometimes the Crown Plaza for $100-150 a night, including a hot breakfast--except at Courtyard which I typically avoid for that very reason, unless I have a breakfast meeting. The location is far more important than saving a few bucks on the room cost.
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Old 09-07-2014, 01:48 PM
989 posts, read 1,502,516 times
Reputation: 928
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
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.
Originally Posted by Jukesgrrl View Post
I've stayed in Microtels that were $47. Small, barebones room, but clean and adequate for a shower and sleeping. That chain was bought by another recently, so it might have changed but when I used them I found them adequate for my travel needs.
I somewhat get what the OP was stating above - the $4 room is the "hook" to get the guest in the door with no realistic expectation most people would tolerate that bare bones of a room - they would upgrade to a point where the room was tolerable.

One of my points in an earlier post is pretty much illustrated by Jukesgrrl - by the time you upgrade to a tolerable room you're at a pricepoint of a Microtel (or close), which has the basic elements you need without the hassle of picking and choosing what amenities I want. There's also a lot of other psychology going on here that really makes the concept OP posited an interesting theoretical discussion but something I cannot see ever being truly marketable. Again, Tune Hotels overseas probably comes the closest to "a la carte" amenities for hotel rooms - and they start at a higher price point (adjusted to US Dollars from whatever currency) and automatically still include some amenities as even in those countries the expectation is a bathroom ensuite.

Otherwise, you go to a hostel -which, by the way, when backpacking for 5 months in South and Central America I used. Even in those countries, $4 would possibly buy you a hammock in a common area for the night. Enclosed room shared in bunk bed style was around $6-10 USD, private room with shared bathroom usually went $15-22/night. And all those prices were in 2008 dollars...

All that said, if we want to have a discussion of what price a room should be, then we should talk about inflation and devaluing of a fiat currency called the US Dollar - though that trends into a far different discussion on a different category in the Forum...
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Old 09-07-2014, 02:14 PM
12,705 posts, read 9,967,478 times
Reputation: 9515
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?

That's $120/month - I'm sure a lot of lower income people will want to live there if it's so much cheaper than rent...

And the minimum wage vs living wage debate would be over. You could live just fine on minimum wage if you just live in Motel 4!
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Old 09-07-2014, 02:26 PM
Location: Sunrise
10,868 posts, read 14,243,316 times
Reputation: 9011
Originally Posted by ncole1 View Post
And the minimum wage vs living wage debate would be over. You could live just fine on minimum wage if you just live in Motel 4!

The "Motel 4" concept is only going to work in a place like the Democratic Republic of the Congo. But people there would completely run out of their yearly income trying to pay for Motel 4 after 90 days.

Even the Japanese capsule hotels run about $20/day. And that's to sleep in a tube. Probably not even possible in the US. Have a look at this photo, it looks like people are crawling into an oven and sleeping in it. I don't think I'd want to do this, even for the novelty value.


There's the competition, and it's $20 per day. What do you think we're going to get in a first-world nation for four bucks?
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