Motel Market - The search has evolved

by Andrew Morgan - QTHB 15th April, 2019

Motel Market - The search has evolved

Whether you’re looking to buy a small leasehold motel or a large freehold hotel, the search must start somewhere. So where does it start? How does one find what they are looking for?


Way, way back in the 1990’s, ‘the good ol’ days’ those looking to buy a motel would check the newspaper on a Saturday morning and see columns of motels being advertised for sale under the heading “Hotels/Motels for sale”. Caravan parks had their very own heading however, there were generally only about three or four advertised compared to dozens in the Hotel/Motel section which was a combination of pubs, motels and resorts.


If the reader liked something they saw in the three or four lines within one small newspaper column, they would pick up the landline in most cases (mobile phones were in their infancy) and call the office of the broker who had advertised and information on that motel was then posted by the broker via ‘snail mail’.


Fast forward 25 years to today, and things have changed significantly. The ease of finding information is simply a couple of clicks away and people can access substantial amounts of information on scores of different businesses quickly. No waiting for the postman to turn up with an A4 envelope three or four days after having made the initial enquiry.


The days of advertising for the industry in the Saturday newspaper are pretty well over. You will still find the odd agent stepping out of their field of expertise and trying to sell a motel business in the newspaper, however it is just not cost effective anymore for this particular field. Colour photographs in newspaper print were not a common thing all those years ago, but again, things have changed and advertisements via any medium without colour just don’t cut it from the point of trying to attract buyer’s attention. Not only this, but they need to be large, and that makes hard copy ads very expensive.


The web offers as many idyllic photos as you like and the space to write as much dialogue as needed. The costs can be high sometimes however, in most cases can be kept to a minimum if the motel is also advertised with professional specialist motel business brokers. These brokers are focused on the sale of motels and therefore dedicate all their time to that sector. Marketing campaigns are largely centred around the web, which reaches the target market looking for such a business directly. In fact, currently many motel listings are sold before even being put out to the view of anyone who has internet access.


And where web advertisements allow for photos to be ‘touched up’ to make the product look better than it is, specialist motel brokers present photos they have taken themselves of the property and are generally untouched. As much as they want to present a property as best as possible, professional brokers know they will be attending the site with their clients and need to show the property in its real state. The line about ‘things looking good on paper but when you get there it is a different story’ is not what a professional broker wants their client to experience.


Starting the search for a potential new business on the web is the obvious choice, but this will usually just provide a preliminary base to work from. The way to progress from general research to real action is to speak directly to a specialist motel broker and you will be provided with those select properties that are for sale but may not have been listed for confidentiality reasons. Serious buyers know that the way to cut through all the outdated information and hyperbole that can be found on the web is to go to the source – the people who deal with this industry on a daily basis



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