- Repeat of a TRM Report dated 15 July 2013
July 15, 2018 B&Bs v’s motels? Is TRM doomed?
Taupo moteliers are reported in Taupo Times as struggling to come to terms with what they claim is unfair competition from B&B’s in the form of homestays booked through Airbnb and Bookabach. TRM concur. Life is so unfair.
In the Taupo district alone Airbnb have over 900 listings. Bookabach have over 600 listed. (Stats pinched from the front page feature article in Taupo Times 13 July by Chloe Blommerde)
By comparison, across NZ in 2017 Airbnb had 37,600 listings, Auckland had 10,900 listings, Queenstown had 2,300 listings, and the other most important hub of NZ tourist angling – the little jewel in the crown – Turangi had over 100. These most popular tourist gems like Turangi are now targeted for this type of business – evidence is a recent sale of 7 residential properties to one Auckland buyer who then listed them all on Airbnb.
Further research as at February 2018 indicated of the 929 Airbnb Taupo listings, 599 were complete houses – that is 600 more than five years ago or about 1500 more bedrooms catering for tourists. That equates to adding around 75 typical motels like TRM. That is real competition that we have to overcome. But how? SWMBO is TRM’s business strategy advisor who has Her own cunning solution, providing far better customer service and benefits that Homestays cannot compete with. Read on…
The basis of complaints from motels are that none of the 600 have to meet any council compliance measures. So unfair! Obviously motels are struggling to compete with such a large sudden increase of rooms available through all residential suburbs. All they ask Council for is parity – that these competing businesses are treated similar to motels as businesses. That is fair enough. i.e. In Turangi the domestic water supply to all these Airbnb houses is free. Meanwhile TRM pay commercial water rates, commercial Council rates, commercial fire protection, etc….
Hospitality NZ Manager, Alan Sciascia says “it’s
gone beyond owners letting out their house for a week or two while they
take a holiday, this is serious business, I am aware of four hosts who
between them control over twenty properties… there are over 100 Taupo
hosts with more than one property each.”
So if motels are now apparently so obsolete and redundant (?) is TRM doomed? Why should tourist anglers prefer motel accommodation over a suburban house at a similar price?
After 50 years operation as a motel, TRM could try to ignore the competition but realise prospective inmates need to know how TRM has to offer much much more than just accommodation. And that has to be to guests’ advantage…
SWMBO’s (She Who Must Be Obeyed is the relentlessly positive indefatigable delightfully young Manager of everything at TRM) first response was to check TRM occupancy rates. They are much the same as in the previous 12 years. Whew! So Her first worry was solved – TRM should survive, even if there is no profit in it… Fortunately for guests, to maintain the occupancy levels has been at the expense of $ room rates. NZ tourism has enjoyed riding the crest of a wave of success in recent years but motels have not been able to capitalise on this – proven by TRM’s room rates at much the same levels as ten years go. So the inmates have to be on a win on the pure $ economics of their decision.
But in addition to just beds and self contained units, TRM really offers very good value. The advertised room rates have to reflect commissions to agencies like booking-dot-com etc. for overnighters, but for anglers who need to stay longer and return again and again, TRM have an entirely different level of fishy room rates about 15-20% lower!!!. Please keep that to yourself as we do not want to upset tourists. But the message is clear – book directly, avoid all OTA’s (Online Travel Agents) so that you enjoy their commission savings.
In addition, where TRM really win is in the “after-sales-service” department. For any tourists unfamiliar with the region SWMBO offers so many advantages to help make a holiday more enjoyable and memorable. New guests do not need to waste any time on local reconnaissance. It has all been done for them. Then there are the little ‘extras’…
Right from the time they arrive, TRM can even collect them and return them to Taupo airport in TRM’s classic vintage taxi. How can any Airbnb compete with that?
Just that one little extra special service alone illustrates the significant difference in TRM catering to guests requirements, rather than just providing accommodation. But there are many more…
TRM can advise on all the essential info that tourists need, the best places to eat (RUST?) , the best cafe (Creel?), the best tourist package (NZ Rafting?) the best tramping trails (Taranaki Falls), the best most scenic lake stroll (Rotopounamu), the best river trail (Tongariro River Trail), the best physical challenge (climbing Mt. Ruapehu). And just as important, SWMBO will advise where not to go, to avoid disappointment. It’s Her personal touch that matters.
Most important of all for TRM inmates is “info” on trout fishing – where are the best fishing pools (Secret!). TRM have a full range of fishing gear – from rods, reels, waders, wading poles, fly tying gear, etc. – all available free of charge.
Only TRM can offer fishy advantages like hidden stone groynes built on the river bank exclusively for TRM anglers (these provide access to cast into the “eye” of a pool so much easier).
Only TRM offers special bikes (free of charge) equipped to carry fly rods with pannier bags to access pools that others cannot reach.
Only TRM offers a commercial sized smokehouse free of charge for guests.
Only TRM has a choice of rafts available for anglers on Lake O – providing the guests are suitable experienced.
Only TRM has rod racks in every unit.
Only TRM offers free special Tongariro Bucket List maps of 50 pools to fish before you die.
Only TRM has an extensive library of trout fishing books and magazines.
TRM could be likened to more of a vintage trout fishing club with many anglers preferring it as their favourite social meeting place to swop stories and tell lies where they caught their biggest trout. That creates a friendly fishy environment that no Airbnb or Bookabach could possibly hope to compete with. TRM even get anglers staying at local homestays calling in to source latest fishy info. They cannot stay away for long. We understand…
SWMBO acknowledges you all. TRM have so many fishy inmates who have been regularly staying here for many years. We know most of our guests. We love catching up with so many old friends and hearing their fishing tales. So this a BIG thank you for their continued support. We know you have a lot of accommodation choices out there and value your loyalty so much.
A typical readers' response:
Hi Ross. I can see where you're coming from with your comments about Airbnb etc. I moved to Taupo 4 years ago and am lucky enough to have a separate and complete flat on the lower level of the house we bought in Taupo. We tried Airbnb for a whole season and must have been unlucky. We had the place trashed three times in one season, plus we me some real assh*les!!! (NONE of them fishermen) We still have the flat, but rented only on a longish term basis by someone we checked out for OURSELVES.. Perhaps other landlords will learn?? Always motels for us when we're away, but thanks for pointing out the cheaper way of booking. Good luck with this problem though - great website you have.