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Our early motel boom

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Benefits of branding

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Transition to more super

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VoIP integration

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Motel Owners’ Journal

Volume 11 No. 1


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contents

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29

5 Publishers’ Message 7

Message from the Minister for Tourism

9

What can we do when the economy goes bad?

15 Australia’s Early Motel Boom 22 Branding seems to work

69

6 4 49 51

70 Let’s Get Practical 72 Sparring in the Motel Spa 75 Pool and Spa Heating Options 78 Product News

Profiles The Online Travel Market Choosing the RIGHT Microfibre for Your Facility

4 Showing Your True Colours with 5 Colour-Coded Cleaning

25 Search Engine Optimisation

9 A safe bet – a motel at the track 2 34 Transition to more super 37 Getting hot and sweaty in bed? 42 How integrating your IT &

5 Company Profile: 4 John Beazley & Co.

Telecommunications can benefit your motel

56

PCI Compliance – What Australian Businesses need to know

59 62

Insurance – who needs it?

65

Bed Bugs – the problem and the solution

Australian Inventor Tackles Global Bed Bug Pandemic

REACH FOR THE STARS – and reap the rewards

Advertising Sales Melbourne: Neil Muir Ph: (03) 9758 1433 Fax: (03) 9758 1432 Email: neil@adbourne.com Adelaide: Robert Spowart PO Box 213, Summertown, SA 5141 Ph: 0488 390 039 Email: robert@adbourne.com

Production: Claire Henry Tel: (03) 9758 1436 Email: production@adbourne.com Administration: Robyn Fantin Tel: (03) 9758 1431 Email: admin@adbourne.com Marketing: Tania Lamanna Tel: (03) 9500 0285 Email: tlamanna@bigpond.net.au

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mo PO Box 735, Belgrave, VIC 3160

www.adbourne.com

DISCLAIMER Adbourne Publishing cannot ensure that the advertisers appearing in The Motel Owners Journal comply absolutely with the Trades Practices Act and other consumer legislation. The responsibility is therefore on the person, company or advertising agency submitting the advertisement(s) for publication. Adbourne Publishing reserves the right to refuse any advertisement without stating the reason. No responsibility is accepted for incorrect information contained in advertisements or editorial. The editor reserves the right to edit, abridge or otherwise alter articles for publication. All original material produced in this magazine remains the property of the publisher and cannot be reproduced without authority. The views of the contributors are not necessarily those of the publisher.


Publisher’s Message “ T Our front cover, along with a story and pictures inside, is about one of Victoria’s newest motels, this one at Melton.

he key to operating a successful and profitable motel is your occupancy rate over the year. As is our usual policy to help readers in this regard, a number of the features in this issue have been prepared by experienced writers to help you achieve better occupancy rates. These include Robert Garde’s tips on how to improve your customer base and business; another article about the online travel market, and Jeremy Newman writing about search engine optimization.

Our front cover, along with a story and pictures inside, is about one of Victoria’s newest motels, this one at Melton. What makes this feature so unusual is how this two-storey project, built on a highly raised base, was specifically designed and constructed to overlook the home straight of what is surely Australia’s finest harness racing track. In the short time this $45 million project has been opened, it has become the hub of entertainment and a convention centre in Melbourne’s west. If you enjoyed Part 1 of our history of early motels in Australia, then don’t miss Part 2 which appears inside, bringing you a further exclusive look at the foundations and development of motels around Australia. It is must reading for all motel owners.

A Sure Bet

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> Story on page 29

Mattress cleaning, perhaps not the nicest topic in the business but one that cannot be ignored, is provided by Col Nation, Director of Woolsafe, widely recognised as one of the most knowledgeable and respected names among cleaning technicians in the country. There is more on the subject of Microfibre and how it makes cleaning much easier. We also look at VoIP and telecommunications; and there is an in-depth look at branding and the benefits this can bring to motels around Australia. Our Profiles in this issue take in a special project that overlooks Lake Hume (near Albury), a motel named after the local gliding club at Benalla, and how good research by a couple taking up motel ownership for the first time is now paying off handsomely at a Toowoomba motel. A subject that simply does not go away is that of bed bugs, and our mail bag still comes up with questions on this subject. Again, we have gone back to Stephen Doggett for more on these pests, as motel owners just cannot ignore the problem. So, until next time – good reading and good luck with your accommodation business. n

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Message from the

Minister for Tourism T

here is no doubt that the Australian tourism industry is only now emerging from very challenging times. The Australian Government’s economic stimulus package and an increased focus on domestic marketing – particularly the No Leave No Life campaign – have helped deliver a better result than what may have otherwise occurred. Australia has also out-performed the rest of the world in international tourism during the downturn, but we have a goal to encourage even more international visitors to discover Australia. That is why Tourism Australia has launched its new $150 million global marketing campaign – There’s Nothing Like Australia, which gives Australians the opportunity to use the internet and social media to share their favourite place in Australia with the rest of the world. The Government recognises that marketing can only do so much to maintain Australia’s competitive edge. We need to unlock investment, recognise and improve quality and harness effective leadership in order to have the infrastructure, expertise and innovation to support the tourism industry into the future. Encouraging investment is particularly important to the accommodation sector, with the majority of Australia’s 3 and 4 star properties having been built between 1965 and 1980. That is why, for the first time in our history, through the Australian Government’s National Long-Term Tourism Strategy, all tourism ministers have signed up to a cross-jurisdictional process to attract investment in accommodation. One of our objectives is to assist in expediting the construction of

establishments presently in the development pipeline and unleash capital for re-investment in existing businesses. Together, we’ll assess the planning system, environmental regulations and building codes, and seek to remove barriers to investment. While new investment is critical for the industry’s future, so too is ensuring the quality of tourism product and service delivery. In this regard, the Tourism Ministers’ Council recently established the Tourism Quality Council. The Council will be responsible for implementing Australia’s first National Tourism Accreditation Framework, designed to provide consumers with increased confidence by marketing businesses adhering to a quality standard. The new Framework will build on the success of all existing accreditation and will allow operators to be licensed and display a new, internationallyrecognised, symbol of quality alongside their existing accreditation. While the Australian tourism industry has weathered recent challenges remarkably well, the Australian Government recognises that the future success of the industry lies in building Australia’s competitive edge. While our tourism product should be innovative, the business of tourism is hard work. Magazines such as this, allow tourism operators to learn from – and help each other by bringing together industry news, stakeholder commentary and advice, which will ultimately lead to a stronger industry overall. Martin Ferguson AM MP Minister for Tourism

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What can we do when the economy goes bad? By Robert GARDE | Starfleet Systems

C

urrent economic conditions over the last year or two and for at least the next year are providing stressful times for some Moteliers. As usual, most news media are quick to spread the word on the basis that anything about doom and gloom always gets plenty of interest and keeps their sales and circulation up. And, there’s an old saying that is true most of the time that it’s not the problem that’s the problem but it’s the way you react to it. So on that basis, lets look at some ways to keep things going and generate some new business rather than look at how you can reduce costs. Having said that, I’ll never forget the motel manager many years ago who admitted to me that he had bought a bulk supply of shampoo cheap and that he saved “quite a bit” by keeping the used shampoo bottles after guests had left, refilling them and reusing them again until they looked shabby! Just think of the Occupational Health and Safety problems alone! So I have no intention of going into possibilities of cost reduction at this point. Although it could be said that most of us head in that direction sometimes! Just don’t overdo it! There’s never a bad time to be pro-active I believe, and if ever you needed an excuse to act in this fashion, now’s the time to get to it if you haven’t already.

Where does your business come from?

Here’s some questions:

If you know where your business comes from you can review this and explore other areas you might get business from separate to what you have already and if you are starting from scratch it’s so much harder. I have seen Moteliers that have a motel on a main road and they just wait for people to walk in and they run a manual system with no records. Nothing else at all. Completely at the mercy of the local environment! Fortunately the average Motelier is better than this!

So, do you know where your business comes from?

And do you know why your guests chose you instead of the motel down the road?

Where do your regulars come from?

Are any of your regulars not coming any more – do you know why?

Yes, I know it sounds corny but it’s true – knowledge is power. And if you don’t know

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What can we do when the economy goes bad?

If you provide a value service with courtesy and professionalism your guests will remember and pass the message on.

< it makes it harder (or more expensive) to generate new business!

Your best database is guests who have stayed with you before.

And, with other properties in your area, where does their business come from? Are there any tips you can pick up?

If some of your business comes from travel agents or wholesalers, find out why your business levels have gone down (if you haven’t already!). Are there any other wholesalers or travel agents you don’t deal with at present that you can contact to gain some business? And, of course the same applies to companies.

Let’s repeat that because it’s important. Your best database is guests who have stayed before! You can use this data to encourage previous guests to come again by doing some appropriate marketing. For example, if you have guests emails you can send marketing information to selected groups to encourage return business (if you have a system that collects that information, of course). If not you can always send promotional information by mail, but I believe it’s another opportunity lost! And doing something like sending a postcard by mail is good in the right circumstances – traditional mail is not dead yet. For example, a friend of mine runs a seasonal resort and he regularly contacts guests that have stayed for one of the last several seasons to encourage them to return.

If your business is highly seasonal are there any unexplored avenues you can look at to get a better response from this group?

If you provide a value service with courtesy and professionalism your guests will remember and pass the message on. Not

When guests arrive find out if they have stayed here before if you don’t know already. If not you now have an opportunity to give them some extra attention at which time you can also glean some additional information. For example, why did they pick you?


to mention be more likely to return. Ensure your guests are happy and feel valued. If they feel they are looked after, they’ll be more likely to remember you and tell their friends. But if you ignore them, they’ll probably ignore you too. Motto: If your guests are satisfied, encourage them to tell others, if not get them to tell you. Word of mouth is one of your most cost effective advertising methods. One manager I met a while ago would leave it to the staff to resolve any Guest problems, and if asked he would refuse to come out of his office and handle the issue. The staff resented this and the guests didn’t get their complaints handled properly either. Any issues guests might have need to be handled immediately and appropriately, even if they are wrong. And if they are one of several guests at reception at the same time, it’s even more important to resolve things as soon as possible. Remember they will spread the word about you better and at less cost than anything else – good or bad.

When guests are leaving have they got feedback forms to fill in? Are these forms easily available and easy to fill out? Did they enjoy their stay, and for what reasons (good or not so good). If you are not getting many forms back consider giving some incentive to fill them out and return. Have you got current promotional material for the guests to take with them? I have seen out of date manager’s calling cards hidden behind things like flower pots at reception. When I’ve known the previous manager had been gone for quite a while! Ask guests if they have filled out feedback forms and / or ask them at check out time. Tell them before they leave of anything that may be of interest to them like local attractions or changes to driving conditions. If necessary have appropriate promotional material for them to take. What’s the bottom line here? Maximize the potential for your guests to come back or refer others to come thus giving you more business.

Your Website I have noticed a lot of confusion around this aspect of promoting a Motelier’s business. Let’s just say that creating a website and getting extra business as a result are two completely separate things. You can create a website but this does not mean that doing a search for accommodation in your area on (say) Google will find you. And if you are not on the first page of Google results no one will find you. So something needs to happen, and this is called Search Optimization. Basically it’s letting Google know before someone searches for (say) accommodation in your area that you are there. This process is called SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and usually requires an on going monthly commitment to get this working. There are quite a few companies that specialize in this area, and as you might expect there will be monthly charges involved. Now, you could also consider being on other companies websites, like the local


What can we do when the economy goes bad? Get on to the Internet and Google some common phrases for accommodation in your area.

< tourism body that promotes business in your area as an alternative to getting someone doing a SEO on your website if you are a small property. Or you might do both. Other Internet possibilities Under this heading we have the following. “Last minute” websites (also known as “distressed” websites), Channel Managers, Tourism Exchanges, Trip Advisor and Facebook. A good thing to do in this category is to get on to the Internet and Google some common phrases for accommodation in your area and see what comes up on the first page. And remember, if you are not on the first page, not many people are going to find you. The Last minute websites are websites you can put your details on to get extra bookings that you might never have got otherwise. Originally they got the name “last minute” because they only originally offered properties with availability for a week or so from the current date. Probably the one most people know is www.wotif. com although there are quite a number

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(and growing all the time). You will have to pay a commission to these websites on bookings received. In my experience most people have used at least one of these at some time. This leads me to Channel Managers. These software companies offer to manage 30 – 40 other websites automatically putting your property on all of them while you only have to manage one – the Channel Manager website. There is a monthly charge for doing this and if you can get a few bookings this will easily cover the cost and you don’t have to worry much about having to manage your availability on a number of websites. If you have a computer booking system that automatically links to a channel manager you are there already! Next are Tourism Exchanges. These offer wider exposure for motels (as well as anybody involved in tourism), and briefly allow people to book available services on their website. Put your property on the exchange and you will get exposure to wholesalers retailers and anyone who visits the site. Some are only business to business (an example here is www. tourismexchange.co.nz) and some include business as well as end users. Some properties get a lot of their business from websites like Trip Advisor (see www. tripadvisor.com). And if your guests aren’t going to say nice things about you maybe you shouldn’t put yourself on there. If you are not familiar with them, go on to their site and search for a place you would like to stay. You might say why would I advertise my property on Facebook? Isn’t that a bit unusual? I’m noticing that more and more businesses have the Facebook logo on their websites. Remember I said before that word of mouth is one of your most important promotional methods? Well, If you can be happy that your guests are going to say good things about you and you have decided to do (or have done) a good website, then putting your property on Facebook under local business might be worth doing. See www.facebook.com/ FacebookPages and look under “Local Business” for more information. You are also looking at a narrow demographic so this may not be appropriate for you. Be aware that there’s a bit of work required to set up so you need to do your planning first.

Yield What’s this you say? It’s the process of optimizing the return to you by adjusting your rates as demand varies. A simple example would be Joe’s Motel. Joe is busy most weekends, public holidays, Easter, Christmas and long weekends and a bit quieter at other times. He’s been charging the same room rates for every day and the only exception is a short minimum stay period over Easter and Christmas. He investigates what is happening in his local area and discovers that occupancy levels are higher at these periods and in fact quite a few properties are fully booked at these times. Clearly it’s possible that he can increase his rates over these busy periods and also extend his minimum stay periods a little as well. Can you review your rates and do the same? If you are not sure how common this sort of thing is, visit a website like www.webjet. com.au to make an airline booking and you’ll be presented with a plethora of different rates for travel at different times by a number of different airlines. They have been experts at this for a quite a while! To chain or not to chain? If you are an independent property consider the possibility of joining an association or chain. Obviously there is an associated cost and also costs vary a lot depending as to which chain you talk to and the claimed benefits. I’ve seen people change from one chain to another and save substantial sums as well joining the right chain and getting more business. And I’ve also seen people leave a chain and become independent and be better off. An area worth investigating in depth if you have ever had thoughts of doing one of the above. Relationship building Get to know other local business in the area that attract visitors needing accommodation or those that may refer prospects to you. Or alternatively you may be able to create some project that you both can gain from. Hopefully the above has given you some ideas to consider. If so, that’s good and if more business is the result, well that’s even better! n

www.starfleet-software.com.au


Commercial Quality Linen, Bedding and Towels

G

ood quality commercial linen, bedding and towels are an investment in guest comfort and continued repeat business. Bed linen and towels are the items with which your guests have the most direct contact. To create a great lasting impression, these items have to feel comfortable to the touch and be appealing to the eye.

6% for non-Sanforized fabric) and double singed (to prevent pilling). A coloured commercial quality sheet should also be vat dyed so as to be bleach and chlorine resistant. Sheeting fabric manufactured and finished to these standards should meet AS 3789.6, the Australian Standard for healthcare fabric, which is the most rigorous Standard for sheeting in Australia.

Commercial quality bed linen, bedding and towels should retain their shape, colour, appearance and feel even after extensive use in high traffic environments and frequent commercial laundering.

So what makes a towel commercial quality? A commercial quality towel should be made from 100% cotton terry toweling with a medium length pile (to reduce pulling), overlocked seams (to reduce fraying) and either no headers or 100% cotton headers (to retain shape). A coloured commercial quality towel should also be vat dyed so as to be bleach and chlorine resistant.

So what makes a sheet commercial quality? A commercial quality sheet should be made from a minimum 155gsm weight fabric that has been woven from polyester / combed cotton yarn (to reduce creasing) that has been mercerized (to increase yarn strength and fabric lustre), Sanforized (to reduce shrinkage to 1.5% - as opposed to up to

H Polesy & Co Pty Ltd import and stock commercial linen, bedding and towels to suit every level of accommodation and every budget. All products are designed

for use in commercial applications and for commercial laundering. They are manufactured to relevant Australian Standards and are easy care, durable and stylish. To speak with someone regarding your linen, bedding and towel needs please contact your nearest office: Sydney Felicity Gordon

(02) 9311-4191

Melbourne Justin Bragg

(03) 9362-0075

Brisbane Davina Moore

(07) 3806-4100

Perth Debbie Wheeler (08) 9248-4515 Adelaide Ian Hopkinson

(08) 8261-0211

Or to receive your complimentary copy of H Polesy & Co Pty Ltdâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Commercial Textiles and Bedding Products catalogue call 1300 765 379 or email promo@polesy.com.au.


Australia’s Early Motel Boom By SIMON REEVES

Built Heritage Pty Ltd

Golden Sun Motel, 3249 Gold Coast Highway, Surfers Paradise (c.1962)

Part 2 (continued from last issue)

T

he establishment of Australia’s first modern American-style motel at Bathurst, New South Wales (1954) was swiftly followed by counterparts in the other eastern states: at Surfers Paradise in Queensland (1955), Canberra in the ACT (1956) and Oakleigh in Victoria (1957). This marked the beginning of an intensive boom in local motel construction that would continue for more than a decade. Not surprisingly, the boom was initially concentrated on the nation’s eastern side, where the number of high-quality motels

increased phenomenally from just one in 1954, to seven in 1955, thirteen in 1956, twenty-six in 1957, forty-five in 1958, and eighty by the end of 1959. Many of these boom-era motels were independent developments, while others represented local franchises. American Motels, which had taken over the motel at Bathurst soon after it opened, went on to establish others at Dubbo, Tamworth and Wollongong. The Accommodation Australia (AA) franchise, which had been responsible for Canberra’s first motel in 1956, followed suit with others at Albury, Coffs Harbour,

Glen Innes, Goulburn and Gundagai. Not surprisingly, however, it was the Gold Coast that became the country’s epicentre for motel development in the late 1950s. Notable examples included the Hi-Ho Motel at Broadbeach (1958), the Jubilee Motel at Southport (1958), and, at Surfer’s Paradise, the Californian (1958) and the South Pacific (1959). The first motel in regional Victoria, which opened in early 1958, was the Mitchell Valley Motel in Bairnsdale. A collaboration between developer David Yencken (later of Merchant Builders fame) and noted

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< Melbourne architect John Mockridge, the complex was lauded in the local architectural press for its simple clean modern design, distinguished from many of its counterparts by “its lack of ostentation and eye-catching fripfrapery which seems to be the hallmark of commercial venture”. This motel was followed, later that same year, by the first example in inner Melbourne: the Caravilla de Ville in Royal Parade, Parkville. This was designed by local architect Peter Jorgenson, who went on to become a significant motel and hotel design specialist. The first RACV motel guide, issued in October 1958 as a simple eight-page pamphlet, provides a useful overview of the extent of local motel development to that time. New South Wales led the field with 26 motels across the state – of which only two or three were in the Sydney metropolitan area. There were eighteen motels in Queensland, with four in Surfer’s Paradise, two in Coolangatta, and seven more scattered along the coastline between (at Southport, Broadbeach, Mermaid Beach, Burleigh Heads, Currumbin, Tugun and Bilinga). Victoria still had only six motels – those aforementioned two at Oakleigh and Bairnsdale, plus others at Craigieburn, Jamieson, Mildura and Wodonga. By contrast, Tasmania, South Australia and the ACT had only one motel each, while Western Australia was yet to gain its first. Twelve months later, when the RACV published its second motel guide, motel figures had increased even more significantly. New South Wales still topped the list, with seven motels in Sydney and a staggering 72 others spread across fifty regional centres. Queensland then had forty motels in total; the number of examples in Surfers Paradise had doubled to eight, with three in Coolangatta and another sixteen along the intervening coast. Others, too, had sprouted up in Buderim, Cairns and Clontarf. Victoria still lagged behind with nineteen motels, although the sole metropolitan example at Oakleigh was now complemented by others at Braybrook, Parkville and St Kilda West. The number of motels in regional Victoria had also trebled to fourteen, with new complexes opening at Benalla, Hamilton, Lakes Entrance, Mount Martha, Swan Hill and Warrnambool. The other states, however, lagged even further behind. At that time, there were only

New Orleans Motel, 50 Cavill Avenue, Surfers Paradise (c.1960)

Chalet Motel, Port Augusta, SA (c.1964)

seven motels in South Australia, of which about half were in suburban Adelaide and the remainder in Mount Gambier, Murray Bridge and Victoria Harbour. A few more months passed before the first example in central Adelaide – the Travelodge Motel on South Terrace – opened in early 1960. The first motel in Western Australia, the Narrows Motel in the Perth suburb of Como, also opened around the same time. The early 1960s saw even more intense expansion of motels throughout the country. Another motel guidebook, published in October 1963, listed no fewer than 22 motels in the Melbourne metropolitan area, and well over a hundred in regional Victoria. Architecturally, two parallel streams can be ascertained from the motels that were built during this initial boom period. The first is associated with those built by starry-

eyed entrepreneurs who looked directly to garish counterparts in the USA and, in order to built their own version, turned to local draftsmen or builders rather than with professionally qualified architects. Invariably, the result was a motel in the tradition of the lively and eye-catching Californian commercial architecture often referred to today as “Googie”. This style, named after a celebrated coffee shop in Los Angeles designed by John Lautner in 1949, was characterised by the use of deliberately eye-catching elements such as zig-zags, chevrons, sloping glazing, jagged planes, projecting fins and bold feature walls of rough stonework or tiling. Considered most appropriate for roadside commercial buildings, the Googie style became strongly associated in the USA with automotive showrooms, bowling alleys and drive-in restaurants as well as motels.

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< In Australia, the Googie style was derided by the Melbourne architect and critic Robin Boyd, who placed it under the category of “Featurism” - a word that he coined in his 1960 book, The Australian Ugliness, to describe the dishonest use of applied ornament and the expression of non-structural elements for mere visual effect. Writing a few years later, Boyd reflected on the current fashion for “unfamiliar curvings and twistings” and the style whereby designers “all used a sort of mad professor’s geometry to catch the passing eye . . [and] made shapes for the sake of shocking”. While the Googie style never really became as popular in Australia as it had been in the USA, a number of early local motels can certainly be considered as minor masterpieces of the idiom. This is ably demonstrated by three examples in Victoria that, not coincidentally, were all built by the same developer and, moreover, one who freely admits that he took his inspiration from American motels published in contemporary magazines and monographs. Two of these motels – the former Motel Wangaratta (now Gardenview Lodge) and the former Motel Warrnambool (now Southern Right Motel) – were more or less identical in design. Each had a freestanding dining room at the front with a distinctive cross-gabled A-frame roof creating an eye-catching pyramidal form – a motif, incidentally, that was clearly derived from the Howard Johnson chain

of motels in the USA. The developer’s third motel, the Motel Colac (later the Commodore) was distinguished by a folded plate roof of zigzag form. The distinctive zigzag roof – another textbook Googie motif – also appeared elsewhere in such examples as the Cherry Blossom Motel in Young, NSW (1960), designed by architect Bruce D Brown, and the Zebra Motel in Narrabundah, ACT (1962) While Googie-style motels tended to be somewhat rare Victoria, they proliferated in the more tourist-oriented parts of the country, such as Coffs Harbour, and most notably on the Queensland’s Gold Coast. The Seabreeze Motel at Surfers Paradise and the Kirriwina Motel at Noosaville both had brightly-coloured spur walls that were penetrated by circular openings of various sizes, which are known in Googie parlance as ‘cheeseholes’. The New Orleans Motel at Surfers Paradise and the Reef Motel at North Rockhampton had butterfly roofs – another typical Googie element. The former was further enlivened by a louvred screen of angled fins and a spur wall with the ubiquitous chequerboard pattern. However, it was the famous El Dorado Motel at Surfers Paradise that was one of the most explicitly American-style Googie motels ever built in Australia. The original complex, opened in 1955, included a skillion-roofed office block with louvred screens and abstract murals, and an elevated block with a lively red-and-yellow chequerboard facade that opened onto a

Western Motel, Princes Highway, Warrnambool, Vic (c.1963)

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cantilevered sundeck with red-painted metal railing. Renovations, carried out a few years later, included a canted stone feature wall around the swimming pool, and a row of angled beams – a Googie motif known as the ‘structural bent’ – that formed a porte cochere alongside the office. Regrettably, few of Australia’s early motels in the Googie manner still survive intact today. By its very exuberant nature, the style dated very quickly, and many examples have since been remodelled or demolished. Most of those in Surfers Paradise have long disappeared, with the fabled El Dorado razed as recently as 1988. The aforementioned examples at Warrnambool, Wangaratta, Young and Narrabundah are still standing, but have all been updated to varying degrees. Other Googie motels may still remain intact, yet to be rediscovered, recorded and photographed. The present writer recently encountered two fine surviving examples in Adelaide. The Regal Park Motor Inn, in North Adelaide, is a modest but significantly intact example of the Googie style, with an undulating roof form, pebbled spandrel panels and roof-mounted neon skysign. Even more striking is the Sands Motel, on the city’s south-eastern edge, which has a canopy made up of a row of concrete shell arches, a billboard-like front wall bearing the motel’s name in a distinctive Las Vegas lettering, and an illuminated signpost on the street, with angled posts and clusters of geometric shapes. At the opposite end of the architectural spectrum from these local Googie motels, however, are those that were designed by professional architects who had been trained in the mainstream modernist tradition. These were perhaps more sophisticated in design, if a little less eyecatching, and were typically expressed as elegant flat-roofed single-storey brick buildings with solid walls or piers that alternated with generous full-height window bays. This approach, along with the ubiquitous enclosed courtyard plan, was pioneered locally by Brian O’Connor in his scheme for the AA Motel at Canberra (1955). It then re-appeared in other motels that the same chain erected at Albury, Goulburn, Coffs Harbour and Glenn Innes (all c.1958), as well as the Caravilla de Ville Motel in Parkville, Victoria (Peter Jorgenson, 1958), the Motel Bali Ha’i at Dubbo (1959), the Prince’s Motel at Bega (1960) and countless subsequent examples.


The involvement of Robin Boyd in the design of motels is testament to the new respectability that the building type had achieved by the early 1960s. He was just one of a number of more prominent and well-known local architects who tried their hand at motel design at least once during the boom period. Amongst the numerous others were Guilford Bell, John Mockridge, Edward Billson, Best Overend and Bernard Evans in Victoria, Kevin J Curtin and Edwards, Madigan & Torzillo in New South Wales, Hayes & Scott in Queensland, Dickson & Platten in South Australia and Esmond Dorney in Tasmania. It is ironic, or perhaps merely fitting, that Robin Boyd – once the most vocal opponent of the Googie style that was manifest in many local motels – would be responsible for the design of what has been described as the most significant motel in Australia.

Parkville Travelodge, 539 Royal Parade, Parkville (1960)

Zebra Motel, Jerrabomberra Street, Narrabundah, ACT (c.1962)

< The AA Motel at Coffs Harbour was otherwise significant in that it was one of the first new motels in Australia to incorporate a partial second storey. Inevitably, the first fully double-storey motels began to appear soon afterwards. One of the first was the Pan American Motel in St Kilda West (Victoria), designed by Bernard Evans & Associates in 1959. Here, the vertical expansion was actually necessitated by a very narrow site – alongside a railway line – so that the motel itself, although spread over two levels, still contained only 20 guest units. Other early double-storey motels were the Motel Capri at Bathurst, the Golden Sands at Forster, the Shoalhaven Motel at Nowra and the South Pacific Motel in Surfers Paradise (all 1959). Some slightly later but especially notable examples, all designed in the slick modernist idiom described above, included the Parkville Travelodge (now Ramada) in Royal Parade, Melbourne (Peter Jorgenson, 1960), the Kar-Rama Motel at Mildura (1962) and the Turn-In Motel at

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Warnambool (1962). Miraculously, all three motels still in a substantially intact condition today, and remain vividly evocative of the motel boom of the early 1960s. By that time, motel design in new directions was heading in new directions. There were quirky variations such as the so-called “boatel” - a lakeside motel where the the car-parking bays were replaced by boat moorings – as realised at New Town Bay (Hobart) and Pittwater (Sydney) in 1960. Conventional motels became larger and grander. The ubiquitous double-storey motels were starting to be eclipsed. The Park Royal Motel in Victoria, designed by Theodore Berman in 1962, was one of the country’s first three-storey motels, and the first to incorporate a lift. That same year, Robin Boyd prepared plans for what was described as Melbourne’s first “motor inn” – a striking six-storey block on Queens Road, which effectively ushered in the new era of the high-rise motel.

As the story goes, Boyd had expressed his admiration for the design of the Mitchell Valley Motel at Bairnsdale – to the genuine surprise of the motel’s developer, David Yencken, who promptly commissioned Boyd to design a follow-up: the Black Dolphin Motel at Merimbula. As related by Boyd’s biographer, Geoffrey Serle, the architect set out to “challenge practically everything in design that the established motels stood for”. The resulting building, which opened in Christmas 1960, stood out from all earlier motels with its rough log posts, exposed timber and stripped concrete. It was indeed an eye-catching and bold design – but in a way far removed from its Googie counterparts. The Australian motel, imbued with a new respectability, was here to stay. n We thank Simon Reeves for this incredible twopart study of early motels in Australia, and the use of pictures from his personal collection.

Simon Reeves is the principal of Built Heritage Pty Ltd, a Melbourne-based heritage consultancy firm that specialises in twentieth century (and particularly post-Second World War) heritage places. He has spent several years researching the history of motels in Australia, with a view to the eventual publication of a book on the subject. Simon would be pleased to hear from anyone who has special knowledge of Australia’s early motel industry, or may possess any photographs, press clippings, magazines, brochures or other memorabilia relating to this. He can be contacted through his website at www.builtheritage.com.au


Motel branding seems to work By MAX AGNEW

They do not own or manage properties, but are in the business of driving increased levels of reservations to the front door of their members. When an independent selects a brand to join, it should be able to provide value for money, no gouging with hidden or ancillary fees, providing an overall good feel. It should also be a substantial group with a visible presence, and enough properties to provide a broad spectrum of accommodation all over regional Australia, and not just the major cities. Referrals from other brand members can play a significant part of any motel business. It follows that if someone has enjoyed the experience of staying at this brand of motel, they are more likely to seek out a similar experience by having the receptionist book you in at that brand when moving on to your next destination. Such free bookings can become a real part of your success. The relationship between your brand head office and its members is what helps make some brands better equipped than others.

According to Stephen Drew, General Manager of Golden Chain, motels that are part of a major

“We are always looking to work with motel owners and managers who are committed to providing outstanding service and value to their guests and want the benefits of a global brand,” points out Trent Fraser.

it invites inspection.

It was in 2003 that Choice Hotels International took over full ownership of Flag Choice Hotels and renamed it Choice Hotels Australasia. Today it operates the brands of Econo Lodge, Comfort, Quality and Clarion.

F

There are still many independent motels around Australia, with a percentage of these likely to be businesses off the main roads, or operated as a small family business.

brand network are like nectar is to a honey bee –

or the many motels that have their reasons for remaining independent, Trent Fraser, General Manager Development for Choice Hotels Australasia believes that a large percentage of these will go through periods of feeling quite lonely. Branding is recognised in the market place by the travelling public at a glance, and with the most successful – such as Choice and Golden Chain – they will instantly provide a good feeling to a traveller knowing they can with confidence turn in and stay there if the ‘vacancy sign’ is operating. The major motel chains are usually a franchise or co-operative that provides branding, reservation, sales, marketing and support services.

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Stephen Drew of Golden Chain has a special word for those interested in entering the business of motel ownership. “Being with a major brand eliminates buyer reluctance and provides comfort prior to purchase, as it tells the potential purchaser that certain expectations do apply, while promising to deliver on quality and facilities. “Customers are familiar with all major brands, and they will derive assurance from the guarantee that branded properties are not ‘fly by nighters’, as they have been around for awhile, so they must be doing something right,” he added.


Without a brand, in the motel business you do limit your reach, as most independents simply cannot afford to undertake expensive advertising campaigns across the many markets that combine to make a successful business. This is where the most successful brands really score. Most non-branded operators will buy some advertising in the local press or perhaps with a travel magazine or two, or wherever their limited budget allows. But this in no way will compare to a strategic and comprehensive national and even international marketing campaign that focuses on specific regions and demographics with quantifiable results. Golden Chain for instance advertises across the country with 45 large highway signs that are frequently rotated so they can deliver the brand exposure to countless thousands of the travelling public. “The cost per member is small, the reach is extensive,” says Drew. “The brand reinforcement becomes very affordable when this message is spread across our 340 plus members,” he said. The Golden Chain brand each year also commits more than $1.5 million on marketing its member motels on television, radio, press and magazines. It also spends $250,000 on directories that are well accepted as industry leaders.

An independent simply could not afford something like this, as it is too expensive on your own. Both Stephen Drew and Trent Fraser also agree that apart from branding being the most effective and efficient method of marketing your motel; there are benefits that are difficult to place any monetary value on, such as a warm and fuzzy feeling of knowing you are not alone out there. This means if you have a problem, you are only a phone call away from head office or another brand member in your district to talk about any issue. Motel chains actually date back to 1939. It was in that year that a group of independent owners of motels in Florida decided to start a chain, naming this Quality Courts United. This was when the average motel room for one night was $3.21. Motels have come far since those early years. With more new operators coming into the business, some of them will surely need some advice with operating procedures, staff, wages and protocols. This is where being a member of a successful brand will come in mighty handy, allowing you to devote your time more to the day to day activities of running your business. The most successful brands can deliver in excess of their relative costs. They also add value to your business, increase yield and enhance property sale-ability when the time comes. n


Search Engine Optimisation By JEREMY NEWMAN | Portplus

Imagine you are in a running race. Ready. Set. Go... Every competitor wants to get to the finish line just as much as you do. What’s going to help you finish first?

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here are many factors that will impact how you perform; what you eat leading up to the race, the training conditions you have prepared in up to the race... With almost as many pages in the Internet as there are stars in Milky Way, the scale of the race you enter when you go online is, to put it mildly, mind-boggling. The question is how you get found. Search engine optimisation is a combination of science and art - it’s the process of making your site more appealing to search engines such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft Bing/MSN. These three sites dominate more than 90% of all searches run on the Internet.1 Take a term like “Accommodation Geelong” and run it in Google, arguably the most popular search engine today: That’s right 729,000 results…

If you were trying to work out which of the 700,000+ results to show first, how would you do it? The key to being ‘found’ is in putting yourself in the mindset of the search engine developers, who have all the computing power they could wish for, and the people who know how to program them. Google works exactly in such a straightforward manner. It’s matter of brute computing power against all the raw data online. It has a tool called ‘Googlebot’ which attempts to scan every page and every picture in the Internet. It then takes that information and builds an index, very much like what you would find at the end of a book, with one key difference: Google’s index contains phrases. Once Google has all this information stored in its giant database, it goes on to process it, establishing how relevant it would be to the entries that people ‘google’. It makes sure that when you search for “GM” you get General Motors, but for “gm food” you get a very different set of results altogether. Unfortunately how Google goes about working out what it considers to be relevant is its secret sauce. It keeps it very closely guarded just how it knows when someone is searching for Paris Hilton that they probably are not looking for accommodation, but when you search for Hilton Paris they probably are. So where to begin … First you pick your phrases.

When writing the copy for your website, choose the phrases that people might enter when looking for accommodation. While terms like motel and hotel will be important for your success, phrases like Australia hotel rates are often searched for, and can be used to achieve a higher position in search results. If you can also single out phrases that your competition is not using, and yet might be popular with searchers, this will provide you with a strategic advantage.

Density ’Keyword Density’ is measuring the percentage of how many times a keyword appears on a page. The ‘density’ of phrases within your copy is crucial in determining its relevancy to a search term, as search engines reward rich information with high search rankings. On the other hand, when writing copy it’s important to make sure that it reads well, and to remember that your ultimate end users are people, not the search engines. The search engines are there just to help the people get to you. While it is tempting to write a copy which repeats the keywords hundreds of times on a page, this practice, often referred to as ‘keyword stuffing’, is actually detrimental to your ultimate goal. In fact in 2006 Google took the rather drastic action of removing BMW Germany’s website from its index altogether. BMW had constructed what is called ‘doorway pages’ heavily-laden with words like “gebrauchtwagen” (German for used car).

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The pages were created so that when Google went to the page it saw:

Search Engine Optimisation

Popularity < We all like to be popular, and well, Google likes to hang with the in-crowd.

However, when an end user went to the page they would see:

One of the measures used to determine which rank to place a page on Google, is the pages that link to it. What matters is not just the number, but also the quality of those links. Therefore links from relevant and related pages are important. Links from tourism websites, news organisations, social media, will not only direct users to your website, but will also let Google know that other places think your website is worth checking out. Search optimisation is an in-depth subject, and while it can appear daunting, with the right team assisting you, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something which can greatly enhance your results. Seo is a moving target and something which requires maintenance on a regular basis. n

References 1.

Source: comScore qSearch April 2009 vs. March 2009

About the author

Google felt that this was deliberately intended to trick its processors, and removed bmw.de from its index for a period of time.

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10 years ago Jeremy Newman co-founded Portplus - a provider of online services to the real estate industry across Australia and New Zealand. He has consulted on search optimisation projects from small single-page projects through to complex websites of multinational groups with 500+ outlets. Portplus customers consistently appear on the front page of Google along with competitive terms such as â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;real estate Melbourneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. He can be contacted on Seo@ portplus.com or 1300 366 122.


A safe bet – a motel

at the track By MAX AGNEW

Don’t go looking for tips for the harness racing from Kylie Hole when staying at the Quality Hotel that overlooks the home straight at Australia’s newest race track at Melton.

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t was promoted as a motelconvention centre when opened almost a year ago. But since becoming a part of the Quality Hotel Australia chain, the letter M has made way for H – but nothing else has changed their initial aim of providing the best in accommodation and entertainment to the west of Melbourne.

Bistro (seats almost 300) and on to the Sports Bar for a flutter. Both areas are usually packed on race nights, which can be twice a week.

It was no surprise that Harness Racing Victoria would select Kylie to be its Commercial Manager. She has devoted the past 14 years to dealing with people in the hospitality industry in such competitive areas as New York and Las Vegas.

The Home Straight Bistro seats 300 and offers beautifully prepared meals. Floorto-ceiling glass walls enable you to see the action on the track from the Bistro, or when there are no races on gives a great backdrop to enhance the dining experience.

Tabcorp Park at Melton was an exciting challenge. After all, it’s not often $45 million is spent on a hotel-convention complex as a part of what many now claim to be the best harness racing track in Australia. Wherever you go in this large complex, you walk on lush carpet and take in the very best in décor on both floors. Provision has been made for a third floor to be constructed to provide even more accommodation and convention facilities. If staying at the hotel, you can walk from your guest room to the Home Straight

In the short time the venue has been open, Tabcorp Park has become the district’s main hub for a wide range of entertainment, sporting facilities, exhibitions and functions – open seven days each week.

There is also a most comfortable and well-appointed Sports Bar with full TAB facilities and more than a dozen television screens keeping you up to date with all the sports, along with a Gaming Room with 80 machines if that’s more you style. A feature of this complex is the function rooms up on the first floor which can cope with several conferences a day. The main room seats 500 comfortably, and has already been the venue of numerous gala evenings.

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Most of our guests seem to stay for a day or two, while we have had a few New Zealander trainers/ owners who have stayed for several weeks at a time

The conference rooms feature ceiling mounted data projectors, drop down screens, inbuilt sound system and an overhead camera, to support your state-ofthe-art audio visual requirements. A number of big corporate players organising functions are discovering the benefits of taking up the option of having representatives use the accommodation to incorporate an overnight conference. Kylie explains how the hotel has 41 rooms, with 18 of these actually looking down upon the home straight. These are labelled their deluxe rooms. There are also two twobedroom aparments, both with balconies that provide the best view in the house on race days. On average, there are two race meetings each week, usually under the bright lights in the evening, though occasionally day meetings and trials are also held there. Quality Hotel Tabcorp Park has plenty of facilities for the hotel guests, outside of the racing though, with live bands on a regular basis, and dinner specials every day. They also have a gymnasium for guests and a laundry for the longer stayers.

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Kylie operates the hotel with three fulltime housekeepers. “But when we get really busy with weddings and parties, I can call on part-timers. There have been the occasions when I have also helped out with the housekeeping. “What I really enjoy about being part of the action at Tabcorp Park is the team that I work with.” That’s not a bad effort, as on a normal day, the staff can number more than 20, but come race day, this will more than double in numbers. There always seems to be something happening at Tabcorp Park. Most Tuesdays from 10.30am provides good quality entertainment that is promoted as ‘morning melodies’. One must book for these, such is the popularity of these mornings. “Most of our guests seem to stay for a day or two, while we have had a few New Zealander trainers/owners who have come over and stayed for several weeks at a time when the major race carnivals are on. “We also had one guest from the USA stay with us for several months. When he first


arrived, he said how he knew nothing at all about the sport, but after a few weeks he became quite interested in harness racing,” she added.

luxury liner took in the major ports of the Caribbean. Later she spent time managing a New York nightclub and then living and working in Las Vegas.

There are not many days when there are no functions being held somewhere in the large complex. For those who like to socialise well, making use of an overnight room can be a great idea.

After returning home, she worked for a Melbourne restaurant until the opening of the $45 million Tabcorp Park project began seeking the right people for its key executive positions.

Until this impressive complex was opened last year, Melton had lacked a quality motel/hotel for accommodation, while its classy bistro really has put the area on the map becoming a magnet for people in the region.

These days this complex provides the very best in facilities for major conventions, with many taking up the opportunity if staying overnight in the venue’s excellent hotel facilities.

The racing side does encourage owners to turn up to see their horses race there, enjoy a great social night with friends, then stay overnight before returning home. The daughter of a schoolteacher in South Australia, Kylie grew up at Naracoorte (near Mt Gambier) and attended boarding school in Adelaide. A working holiday took her to the USA where she joined the staff of Disney Cruise Lines for four years where her

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For those who believe Melton might be a ‘bit of a hike’, it takes Kylie no more than a half-hour to drive to work of a morning from her apartment at The Docklands. The key to this is that there are no stop lights on the recently opened bypass that skirts around Deer Park. In fact, by travelling on the main highway, you can go from Cranbourne (to the south-east of Melbourne) through the city and on to Melton and not encounter any traffic lights. n


Transition to more super Barbara - personal

This article was provided by Planning Partners Financial Planners and Superannuation Consultants (Australian Financial Services Licence No. 222835). Ph: 03 9830 0366 Level 1, 587 Canterbury Road Surrey Hills VIC 3127 www.planningpartners.com.au

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or people aged 55 or over who still earn an income, the transition to retirement (TTR) strategy remains one of the most effective ways to maximise the tax efficiency of your superannuation savings. Measuring the benefits of a TTR strategy The key feature of a TTR strategy is converting your superannuation fund

Barbara - superannuation

Gross salary

$90,000

Superannuation balance

$350,000

Tax

($23,000)

Earnings - 6%

$ 21,000

Net income

$67,000

Tax on earnings - 15%

($

Balance after 1 year

$367,850

into a pension income stream, even while you are still working. This allows you to increase your salary sacrifice or other tax deductible contributions into superannuation and enjoy a number of tax concessions that will boost your overall benefit. And the strategy can be structured so that your net income (which you may use to meet living expenses) does not have to change. For example, Barbara is 55 and is enjoying her working life so has no intention of retiring just yet. She earns $90,000 before tax and has a superannuation fund worth $350,000. Barbara has not considered salary sacrificing into superannuation because all of her net salary is used to meet living expenses and is also planning to purchase a new car in the next couple of years. Based on the above, Barbara would pay $23,350 each year in personal income tax (including Medicare levy), while her superannuation fund could pay around $3,150 in tax on its earnings (assuming earnings of 6% after fees and a tax rate

Barbara - personal

of 15%). On face value, Barbara does not appear to have any flexibility to improve her taxation arrangements. As Barbara has reached her preservation age, she is able to access her superannuation money in the form of a regular income. By transferring her superannuation to a TTR product she will immediately gain a tax advantage on the capital earnings as any earnings produced by a TTR product are not taxable. This is a saving of 15%. Tax saved on super fund earnings = approx. $3,150 pa TTR products require an investor to take between 4% and 10% of the balance each year so if she elects to receive the minimum income of 4%, or $14,000 each year from her pension, Barbara could offset this by sacrificing $17,500 of her salary into superannuation. Barbara’s personal income tax would drop by ($3,483), although the salary sacrificed contributions would be subject to 15% contributions tax on entry to the fund ($2,625).

Barbara – superannuation/pension

Gross salary

$90,000

Superannuation balance

$

Salary sacrifice

($17,500)

Salary sacrifice contributions

$17,500

Pension

$14,000

Contribution Tax

($2,625)

Tax

($19,517)

Earnings – 6%

$

Net income

$66,983

Tax on earnings - 15%

0

Pension fund balance

$350,000

Pension payment

($ 14,000)

446

Earnings – 6%

$ 20,580

($

67)

Tax on earnings - 0%

Combined balance after 1 year

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3,150)

($ 0) $371,834


View mo online now! Net tax savings on income = $858 pa In total, Barbara’s TTR strategy therefore could save her almost $4,000 each year in tax. Compounded over 10 years, this could provide a boost to her final retirement savings of almost $60,000. And this has been achieved by simply restructuring her superannuation, not requiring her to change her lifestyle. So, by simply restructuring how we manage our superannuation while we are still working could significantly affect how comfortable we are retirement. Talk to your financial adviser about transitioning into retirement. n

Sources: www.ato.gov.au/latestreturns “Individual Income Tax Rates 2009/2010” www.treasury.gov.au

Important Information: This information does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Before making an investment decision, you should consider, with the assistance of a financial adviser, whether it is appropriate in light of your particular objectives, financial situation and needs. Planning Partners Pty Ltd. Australian Financial Services Licence No. 222835 ABN: 24 943 115 344

Visit www.adbourne.com and click on ‘The Motel Owners’ Journal’


Getting hot and sweaty in bed? By COL NATION

We spend around a third of our lives in bed.

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ith so much time spent in bed and with the variety of lifestyles of our guests, our mattresses can take quite a bit of punishment. This can take the form of tea coffee and other beverage staining, sweat staining, urine and other body substances that most of us don’t really want to think about, let alone have to deal with. Linen is obviously changed with each departing guest and every few days for extended stays, but the mattress itself is a different story. A cotton sheet offers little protection from a very sweaty guest, or worse still, one who was not able to make it to the bath room on time after a night on the town. Even if the guest has been exceptionally careful and is a normal, clean and healthy person, they will still shed skin cells and emit gasses and a certain volume of moisture vapour from breathing and sweat during the course of a normal good night’s sleep. This can cause odours and stains to build up over a period of time. So how do we deal with the problem of a soiled or smelly mattress? Mattresses, like most upholstered items, are really not designed with cleaning in mind. They are too expensive to be throwing them out when ever we have a slight stain or odour, however the next guest will certainly object if the mattress smells of the last garlic eating, beer swilling guest.

It’s a bit hard to jam a mattress in a washing machine. So what are the alternatives?

Option 3 is great if you have spare mattresses to replace the ones that are away for cleaning.

1. Dispose of the mattress altogether and buy a new one.

Option 4 is the way that some establishments will deal with the situation at hand and will wonder why guests don’t return.

2. Clean it on site. 3. Clean it off site. 4. Don’t clean it at all and hope no one will notice if we cover it in clean linen and spray lots of pretty deodorant in the room. Option 1 is too costly. Option 2 is great if you know how, or can find someone who can provide this service, but the mattress may not dry quickly and this puts your bed (and rooms) out of action for a day or so.

So there are options to solve the problems. Offsite cleaning (option 3) may be available in some of the larger capital cities. One of these involves total immersion of the mattress in special tanks and then roller or press squeezing to remove the water. This is a bit like a larger version the old wringer washing machines that our grandmothers (okay, you caught me out... I ) used to have before the invention of automatic washing machines. This system is great and can rinse out body fluids (especially urine) and the like

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You will need to source some good quality upholstery cleaning detergents to lessen the risk of damage. These can be found by asking for WoolSafe Approved detergents. The WoolSafe Organisation is an independent testing authority that certifies products for use on wool carpet and upholstery. Manufacturers submit their products for testing and if proved safe are certified as WoolSafe Approved. Products carrying the WoolSafe logo independently tested for safety on wool and are therefore safe on other natural and synthetic fibres as well. They are also safe for the operator and do not leave harmful residues. This makes them ideal for this purpose.

Getting hot and sweaty in bed? (continued)

that no other system can replicate. This is quite tough on the mattress and only well constructed mattresses can survive the process. The machinery is quite specialised and must have the customer base to warrant the expense to set up, so this service may not be available in regional centres. This leaves us with onsite cleaning as the only practical solution for many accommodation providers. There are a number of options here. Option A. Do it yourself and run the risk of over wetting and damage. Option B. Get a carpet and upholstery / mattress cleaning contractor to do it because they have the experience and expertise. Option A. Mattress cleaning can be carried out by your own onsite cleaning staff using normal Hot Water Extraction (commonly called â&#x20AC;&#x153;Steam cleaning) equipment that you may use on your own carpet or upholstery. The mattress is after all just upholstered goods. But in saying this, keep in mind that they are not designed with cleaning in mind, and can pose a few problems for the inexperienced operator.

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Option B. There are a number of specialty mattress cleaning services around the country that offer this service, but nearly all carpet and upholstery cleaners can do it as well. Looking for a WoolSafe Certified Operator makes the choice a lot simpler. These operators are highly trained and are experienced. They have to be in order to become WoolSafe Certified. They must use WoolSafe Approved products when cleaning wool and will usually use this for delicate fabrics as well. But there are limitations. Hot Water Extraction or other onsite methods cannot penetrate very far into the upholstery. So urine, blood or faecal soiled mattresses are often not treatable. This of course will depend on the volume of body fluid involved. A couple of drops is usually not a problem but a litre or two will definitely have soaked into the padding materials underneath and these cannot be dealt with by using external cleaning processes like Hot Water Extraction, Dry Solvent Extraction, Absorbent Compound Cleaning and the like. Whoo I hear you say ,,, What are these things you are talking about? Okay, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll take a step back here and explain these systems. But first we have to know a bit about soiling. Soiling can be categorised into four main groups. (i) Dry soils, (ii) Water soluble soils, (iii) Oily soils and (iv) Colour changes (Dyes and bleaching). (i) Dry soils on a mattress are skin flakes, fibre particles and normal dust which consists mainly of the first two plus what ever is in the local environment such

as mould spore, leaf litter and polluting particles. This type of dust usually attracts the dust mite which feed of the dead human skin cells. People can be allergic to the dust mite and what they leave behind. This can cause asthma attacks in susceptible people. So dust is something that needs to be removed on a regular basis. We can remove a lot of dry soils by vacuuming. A vacuum cleaner with a revolving agitator head is ideal for this purpose. You can buy the attachment for a normal suction cleaner for around $100. The agitator head vibrates the fabric to dislodge the soils and then the vacuum pick up the loose dry soils. (ii) Water soluble soils need to be redissolved. We can do this with the Hot Water Extraction process. We apply a detergent first by simply spraying it on giving it a brush in and then rinsing it off with the Hot Water Extraction (HWE) machine. The advantages of HWE are that it can remove a lot of different types of soiling. If we know how to use the right chemistry we can deal with a lot of problem soils including the oily soils and many of the stains. The disadvantages are that it can only penetrate through the outer fabric covering and cannot deal with heavily soaked in soils like larger urine and blood spills (iii) Oily soils. A Dry Solvent Extraction (DSE) machine works like the HWE machine except it is designed to pump and retrieve dry cleaning fluid. The advantages of DSE are that dry solvents are very safe on most fabrics. The disadvantages are that dry solvents only work on the oily soils. They are not good on water based soils or stains, plus they produce large volumes of dangerous solvent fumes which may cause OH&S issues for the operators and guests in adjacent rooms. The last thing you need is workers in Tyvec suits and breathing apparatus working while guests are trying to relax nearby. Given that most soils are either dry soils or water soluble soils, and that HWE can deal with all of these including the oily soils and many stains, it makes sense that HWE is the more logical choice of cleaning method. (iv) Dyes and Bleach marks require special treatments. It is mostly going to be unviable


to deal with bleach marks on a mattress. While bleach marks are repairable on wool and nylon carpets, it is not possible on mattresses because they are usually cotton, polyester, or a blend of the two, and neither of these will accept the type of dyes that can be used to correct colour loss on carpets. Dye stains such as red cordials and wine stains are relatively easy to treat with HWE using some special dye removal chemistry. This is not really practical when using DSE or Absorbent Compound Cleaning.

easily and have the mattress back in action pretty much the same day. You can do it with a normal vacuum cleaner fitted with the Agitator head I mentioned earlier.

that a maintenance and cleaning budget should allow for the occasional treatment of the mattresses to keep them clean and hygienic.

The disadvantages is that it is very limited in itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s ability to penetrate and remove soils, especially with the solvent saturated types of powder cleaner.

A sensible alternative of course is to buy some decent, removable, impervious mattress protectors and launder them after each guest. They will fit in a washing machine a heck of a lot easier than a whole mattress. n

What are the costs involved in mattress cleaning?

Whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Absorbent Compound Cleaning you may ask? It is often referred to as Powder Cleaning. This is where a solvent or detergent saturated powder (absorbent compound) is sprinkled over the surface of the carpet or fabric and brushed in. You then wait for the powder to dry and then vacuum it off.

It is going to be fairly labour intensive no matter which method is used. What ever it is, it is still bound to be way less than the replacement cost of a new mattress. It is certainly going to be way less than the lost income from guests who will not return or complain about the smelly mattresses on the internet or TV current affairs program which can ruin the reputation of even the best in accommodation around the world.

Advantages of this system is that it is dry very quickly and they can make a lightly soiled mattress smell better quickly and

So considering the amount of time that our guests spend in bed and that after all, is the prime reason they rent rooms, I think

Col Nation is a cleaning industry trainer with a long history of experience, especially in carpet technology and maintenance. The Daniels Associates conducts training in Hospitality with a focus on cleaning for health. Check out www.danielsassociates. com.au for more information on training options. www.woolsafe.com.au can provide a list of highly qualified carpet cleaners that can provide a range of services to both domestic and commercial carpet owners.


How integrating your IT & Telecommunications can benefit your motel By SAM BASHIRY, Broadband Solutions Pty Ltd

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our motel’s IT & Telecommunications (IT&T) setup is perhaps one of the most important aspects of running your establishment both professionally and efficiently, but getting it right can be a challenge. Broadband, VoIP, PABX systems, GSM Gateways, DSLAMS, Wireless Hotspots... the list goes on. All this IT jargon is enough to scare any accommodation provider off! Embracing technological change isn’t easy for most moteliers as it is often expensive, frequently changing and difficult to understand without the help of an experienced IT professional. But in this day and age putting it off can often mean losing guests to a better equipped accommodation facility where guests can stay connected to family and friends and for business. Understanding these basic services and working with an IT&T provider that can offer you a total bundled solution for your motel will make you wonder why you didn’t look into it sooner. What is VoIP? How can your motel take advantage of VoIP technology? VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol and for most of us that just means being able to make calls over the Internet rather than using a traditional PSTN or ISDN telephone line. The first thing that comes to mind when we hear VoIP is cheaper call rates, however this is only one advantage of today’s VoIP technology. VoIP has come a long way from the days of just being able to make calls using a soft phone on your computer

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to stay in touch with relatives or friends around the world. One of the biggest developments for businesses is the new generation of VoIP enabled PABX systems. These PABX systems not only allow you to use VoIP for your motel, but also give you all the great features of leading traditional PABX systems without the additional fees for increased functionality. One of the main advantages of having a VoIP PABX is that you can take advantage of flat rate national and local calls for only 10 cents a call, access mobile calls as low as 20 cents per minute with no Flag fall and get free calls between all your other branches that are on the same VoIP network. But which VoIP enabled PABX system is right for your business? On-site PABX vs. Virtual PABX When considering a VoIP PABX you should look into two options: one being an Onsite PABX and the other a Virtual PABX solution. Both systems have their own advantages and cater for different segments of the market. If you are running a business which

requires up to 30 handsets then a Virtual PABX would most likely be best suited to your motel. With a Virtual PABX you do not have the large upfront cost for the PABX system, making it an affordable option for smaller motels whilst still having all the bells and whistles of a traditional PABX. Unlike most traditional PABX systems the Virtual PABX is not placed on-site at the motel. Instead, the system is placed at a co-location facility of your VoIP provider. This is a secure, purpose built facility designed to house high end technology equipment. Another advantage of a virtual PABX is that you don’t have to worry about maintenance or upgrades for the PABX. It’s all setup for you at the provider’s end, so all you need to do is logon anywhere around the world using an internet connection and browser and make your required changes using a user friendly web interface. The days of having to pay extra money for voice mail, an auto attendant service or for call diversion costs to divert your phone to your mobile while you are away from your


desk are all over. Everything from single number reach (meaning having your direct line or extension rings on a number of phones anywhere around the world at the same time), call transfer, music on hold, IVR, voice mail to email and voice mail to phone, incoming and outgoing call recording in Wave file and conference facility are all included in most providers virtual PABX packages. Monthly fees for a Broadband Solutions virtual PABX start from as little as $149.00 per month with all the above inclusions. If you require a phone system with more than 30 extensions then you have the choice of having an onsite VoIP enabled PABX. Choosing an onsite VoIP enabled PABX will cost you a fraction of the price of a traditional PABX phone system and allow you to use a traditional fixed line or VoIP for your calls. You will usually receive all the features discussed in the virtual PABX as well as the option of additional functions such as “click to dial” so that you can click on a phone number on a website or in a database and your VoIP handset will automatically start to dial the number

for you. You can also have an ISDN or PSTN gateway in place so your PABX has automatic fail over to PSTN or ISDN (traditional phone line). An ISDN or PSTN gateway is a device that enables your PABX to automatically and instantaneously route calls back to a traditional phone line carrier in case of Internet down time. If you are not ready to introduce VoIP at your motel yet but need a new PABX with greater functionality, installing a VoIP enabled PABX that still allows you to use traditional fixed PSTN or ISDN lines will ensure you are investing for the future and you have the technology available for later on down the track. The huge cost savings don’t stop at the call rates; having an onsite VoIP PABX will also allow you to take advantage of using your GSM Gateway to reduce your mobile phone rates. Benefits of a GSM Gateway A GSM gateway will allow you to take advantage of lower call rates but also mobile phone Caps that are currently

available through mobile phone carriers. For example if you are on a $99 cap and you receive $500 worth of calls included on your plan, you can take advantage of this deal using your PABX system when calling mobiles. You don’t have to dial any prefix, the GSM gate inside the PABX will recognise that you are making a mobile call, so all you need to do is pick up the phone and dial the mobile number as you would normally. The system will automatically direct this call through to the sim card in the GSM gateway as if you are making a mobile to mobile call. How do you go about installing a virtual or VoIP enabled PABX at your motel and what should you look for in a supplier? When running a motel the basic rule is to keep things simple, so dealing with as few service providers as possible will eliminate the need to speak to a number of vendors such as VoIP service providers, internet providers and phone system companies all separately. Your main focus needs to always be on your guests


therefore if you can use one provider to assist you with implementing your whole telecommunication and IT solution, they will:

1) understand your business and provide you with the best solution in the market for you whilst cutting your upfront and ongoing costs 2) be your sole point of contact so if you have any questions or require any assistance you know who to call and that they will be able to help you with all elements of your setup 3) be able to integrate your IT&T solution with your management & booking systems A big factor that has made businesses sceptical of using VoIP in the past is the call quality not being up to scratch compared with a traditional telephone. Whilst this concern was understandable when VoIP was first introduced, choosing the right VoIP provider will ensure you have clear call quality and are protecting your VoIP PABX investment. Some important things to consider when choosing a provider include:

Choose a provider that has their own point of presence around Australia and can put your VoIP calls on their own business grade national network and not over the Internet. When calls are routed over the internet the quality can be compromised due to the large amount of traffic from web browsing and downloading large emails. If the provider puts you on their own network, it is running on their backbone hence the call quality will be better as there is less latency and congestion. If they have their own network see if they can also provide you with a flat rate unlimited link so you don’t have to worry about your guests phone calls creating excess downloads which can lead to massive internet bills. Make sure the provider has a Service Level Agreement (SLA) in place for peace of mind and their technology is what they say it is and delivers in performance. Most IT & Telecommunication providers that work with business grade technology will have SLA’s in place for their products

and services and it should be around the 95-99% mark. This means that if the service provider does not meet this level of service or uptime for the consumer, they will have to rebate you for the downtime according to the details in the SLA. Don’t have internet at your motel? Don’t let this be an excuse for putting off introducing VoIP to your business. Your internet service provider will also be able to give you advice on the best broadband plan for your motel to provide both internet and VoIP to your customers. n Broadband Solutions is an Australian Telecommunication and Internet Service Provider that specialises in Internet & Telecommunications Technology solutions for the hospitality industry to give you a total solution that is tailored to your business. Our trained Account Managers can provide you with an integrated system that works with your management systems in an easy to understand, no fuss solution. Call us today on 1300 683 000 to see how we can upgrade your systems to become a more efficient and costeffective motel.

www.broadbandsolutions.com.au


Company Profile:

John Beazley & Co. By MAX AGNEW

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f ‘necessity is the mother of invention’, then John Beazley believes his company was conceived 30 years ago out of the requests by customers to provide a broader range of product. In 1980 John worked for a firm that supplied electrical appliances to the accommodation industry. “Often I was asked by clients where could they get beds, where could they get this and where could they get that? “At that time there were very few, if any, specialist suppliers. I tried to convince my employer that we needed to do more but my pleas fell on deaf ears. “Consequently I made the decision that if nobody else was prepared to do something, I would give it a go; and the rest as they say ‘is history’. “Initially we provided basic product for guest rooms, but it soon became clear that the real need was not just the products that were required, but also advice on ‘fit-out’ or ‘upgrade’ of an existing property. “The learning curve was massive and there wasn’t a lot of time to bring our expertise up to speed so it was off to the USA and the International Hotel/Motel Show in New York. There we discovered the biggest array of people providing all sorts of services and product imaginable - we learnt a lot in a very short period of time.” John recalls Australia was experiencing change; driving better cars, living in better houses, and many would stay overnight in a motel. “It was fast becoming insufficient to just replace the bedspread or quickly splash a coat of paint around to instantly ‘Band-aid’ the problem. Rooms needed to have that ‘professional touch’ that would attract the discerning guest. “Our company was in a position to provide a level of expertise and service that today I still believe remains ahead of the game, capable of turning an ailing property around by reinventing it. “This newly gained knowledge gave us the credibility to advise our clients on how to and why they should upgrade their rooms. We worked closely with industry groups to improve the standard of accommodation in this country, and with the NRMA; the then industry watchdog (now AAAT) to advise on new products and ideas being implemented overseas and how they may be introduced into motels here.”

The team at John Beazley & Co. Beazley said they provided displays and lectured at group conferences such as Flag, Homestead and Zebra, as another way for them to inform their market quickly on the company’s profile and services. “Over the last thirty years our company has achieved enormous success as an authorative body with a great depth of knowledge that enables it to deal with all levels of accommodation in terms of guest room décor, design and project management,” he added. Things have changed in the accommodation industry since Beazley & Co began, not only ‘keeping up’ but ‘keeping ahead’ is always challenging and exciting. The new breed of industry specialist is very much in demand as the stakes are higher now than ever before to stay ahead of the opposition. “Project downtime means a loss of income and so project management has always been high on the list of priorities and we have never written a schedule that we couldn’t keep to.” says John. “The company has not lost sight of or contact with the lower and mid sections of the market which is still important and is what it grew up on, addressing all levels with equal intensity.” John Beazley & Co recently celebrated its 30th anniversary with a special evening with many guests from all points of the compass, including Rob Anderson from Best Western, and Lorraine Duffy and Michael Georgeson from HMAA, and HMAA President Garry Crockett. n

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mo Profiles The winds beneath our sails Benalla in northern Victoria is known throughout Australia as the place for the best gliding. It’s also known for the famous Winton Motor Raceway, and the 20 and more wineries there -- all not far from the Glider City Motel on the outskirts of Benalla.

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uilt in 1992, this motel is stylishly set among well-kept gardens and these days are operated by Mandy Tabe and her husband Michael, who moved to the district from Adelaide.

It was the discovery of the excellent conditions for gliding with both thermals and waves above Benalla that led the Victoria Gliding Club making this their headquarters. The airfield has since staged many national and international events.

Michael had been a qualified car mechanic in the couple’s many years living in Adelaide where Mandy worked in a bank before joining a Government Department for a few years.

The district is the home for no less than six wine growing regions. The families of Morris, Buller, Campbell and Chambers first made the district very well known with their famous Muscats and Tokays.

Later, when they became keen to try their hand at operating their own small business, the Tabe’s settled on obtaining a Caravan Park, selecting one in Victoria at Euroa. Even when coming to agree this was not exactly what they wanted, Mandy and Michael stayed with it for six years until securing the Glider City Motel in 2006. Most of the daily work around their 13 room s they try to do themselves. Mandy makes the breakfasts and Michael delivers these to the guest rooms, though they have been known to change over for a change of routine. While they share the responsibilities of carry out the housekeeping chores, Michael Tabe is well qualified to do any maintenance jobs and keeping the gardens there looking well. Much of their clientele mid-week are corporate reps and a few tourists that stop overnight to take in the local sites; such as Benalla’s outstanding art gallery and the botanic gardens where the Sir Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop Memorial is situated. At many a weekend there is something happening at the nearby Winton Motor Speedway where everything up to the Super-Cars are likely to be seen in action. This is operated by the Benalla Auto Club, formed back in 1957. It is today Victoria’s leading motor track.

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In the winter months, Benalla also likes to promote itself as the ‘gateway to the Victorian snowfields.’ And just a few miles up the road from Benalla is ‘Kelly Country’ where Ned and his family once roamed the hills. The Kelly family were one of many to have suffered from the English class system that was brought here in the early years of the colony. For a couple who have never minded having to be around the place for seven days every week, Michael and Mandy Tabe are enjoying the life of having their own motel, with 13 rooms being just enough to keep them on their toes. Benalla has a population of some 14,000. It is on the road north to Sydney, and a comfortable two-hour drive south to Melbourne. The Gilder City Motel is situated on the corner of Sydney Road and Witt Street. n


Research pays off handsomely

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he new owners of Toowoomba’s City Motor Inn are a good example of spending time researching for the right business before taking your first plunge into motel ownership. Adam Kelly had spent 20 years in the family business handling frozen foods before four years managing a Dick Smith outlet. His partner Robert Taylor had been in ‘Loss Prevention’ for years, part investigator and part security with the Myer Grace stores when these two decided to pool their resources and go into the motel business. Adam says when they began doing research on finding the right area with a motel suggesting good potential; they had wanted something not too big and not too small. “Something that would be a challenge but in a district that offered good opportunities. “We were both well aware that if we bought at the top, there was only one way to go if we did not get it right,” he said It was not so much a case of selecting Toowoomba, as there were 48 motels operating there. But among the businesses then on the market in Queensland was the City Motel Inn in this city, with the clincher being how it was right opposite the large Toowoomba Base Hospital. From the day the partners took over this 18 room motel two months prior to our interview with Adam, they began advertising at the hospital that the City Motor Inn was under new management, and would provide a home away from home for family members of patients seeking suitable accommodation close to the Base Hospital. That was the first goal the two partners kicked with their new business.

Another was that former owner Wayne Bond had months earlier decided to operate with a manager running the business for him. While there are probably some fine and enthusiastic motel managers about, there is nothing that beats a handson attitude by the owners of a motel. Both Adam and Robert believe they could not have secured this motel at a better time. “Every day in the business has thrown up a challenge or two, but nothing we have not been able to handle, and we seem to be learning all the time,” says Adam. The motel retains three housekeepers, with two on duty each day. They provide a continental breakfast, which saves having to cook hot meals. The City Motor Inn consists of 10 studio rooms and eight with small kitchens. Because of its expanding involvement with patients at the Base Hospital, Adam points out how many of their clientele are older than what is the situation with so many of Australia’s motels. Toowoomba Base Hospital is kept busy every day of the year, with helicopters on a daily basis dropping off or picking up patients. Toowoomba is situated 132 km west from Brisbane, a comfortable 90 minute drive. With a population of almost 126,000, it is Australia’s second largest inland city, and the hub to the South East corner of the State. Toowoomba is often referred to as ‘The Garden City’, and from April through to the end of September, there seems to be something happening in the world of gardening, with it hosting several major garden shows. These include the Australian Carnival of Flowers in September, and Easterfest each Easter.

The city has produced many fine rugby players, along with former champion Olympian athlete Glynis Nunn. It is also where Australia’s outstanding actor Geoffrey Rush came from, as did a name old-timers will remember well -- Steele Rudd, the character in ‘On Our Selection’ that led to the series ‘Dad & Dave’. The district’s colonial history dates back to 1816 when English botanist and explorer Allan Cunningham arrived by way of Brazil where he later discovered four million acres of rich farming and grazing land on the east of the Great Dividing Range. By 1858, Toowoomba was growing fast with a population then of 700 and with land in the area then selling at four pounds ($8) an acre. It was proclaimed a town in 1892, and a city in 1904, such was the growth of this city. The city sits on the crest of the Great Dividing Range, some 700m above sea level. There are a few streets on the eastern side, but mostly the city is to the west of the divide. Meanwhile, the City Motor Inn seems to be turning into a good investment for the two partners. “We are learning something every day, and keeping our minds active”, added Adam. The partners are replacing all TVs there with flat screens, and are constantly seeking ways of improving their business. Adam has the responsibility of handling all the paperwork, and Robert looking after the housekeeping side of things. There is nothing like doing good research when seeking the best way to enter the business of motel ownership. n

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mo Profiles This project overlooks just one thing – Lake Hume

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hen John Ward, a project manager of numerous sites in Queensland construction, first came across a modest accommodation area a 10 minute drive to the east of Albury, his enthusiasm shifted into overdrive in recognising how he could make this his very own project.

That was 15 years ago.

The construction of Lake Hume

While he has since developed the area into the Lake Hume Resort that includes more than 26 conventional style motel rooms and seven other special units, it also has 35 cottages. But his project is far from finished.

on the Murray River to the east

There are villas and cottages that can be purchased for living permanently in this remarkable area overlooking the picturesque Lake Hume, or purchased and leased back to the resort to enable the new owners make a nice profit on their deal. Albury is situated on the northern side of the Murray River, with Wodonga across the river in Victoria. The Hume Highway links Australia’s two largest cities – Sydney 588km to the north, and Melbourne 300km to the south. Albury is 350km from Canberra, and 147km from Wagga Wagga. Life for the aboriginals remained undisturbed in the area until in 1824 explorers Hume and Hovell arrived. The first white settler, Robert Brown, opened a store in 1836 near where a crossing had been made to take people across Australia’s major river. Albury became a focal point in travelling between Melbourne and Sydney, being proclaimed a city in 1946. Today the combined population of Albury-Wodonga is pushing upwards toward 100,000. The construction of Lake Hume on the Murray River to the east of Albury-Wodonga began in 1919 and took 12 years. It was extended during the 1950s and completed in 1961, necessitating the transfer of Tallangatta township to a new site eight kilometres to the west. Lake Hume is used by the irrigation authorities, and usually falls to less than

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of Albury-Wodonga began in 1919 and took 12 years.

one-third capacity by March each year. In normal seasons, it fills to two-thirds capacity before November. It might surprise some to realise it was given its name as recently as the mid-1980’s, previously being known as Hume Weir. John Ward and his expanding resort overlooks this most important lake, which has a dam wall of 51 metres high and 1,616 metres long. It has a capacity to hold 3,000,000 mega-litres of water. The resort attracts a wide diversity of clients from both New South Wales and Victoria, with it being at its busiest in the warmer months. In winter it has its share of guests who stay there overnight on the way to the snowfields. Lake Hume Resort has excellent facilities for conferences, events, weddings, group holidays, and corporate meetings. Among its facilities to enjoy are boating, fishing, tennis, sauna, swimming, dining, mini-golf, a large games room, volleyball, and walking trails. Ward is especially proud of his awardwinning chef Peter Quinn, who provides a wide range of dishes to tempt all tastes. These days the Lake Hume Resort is a part of the Accor group, and provides good opportunities for district workers. With the fine facilities it offers guests, John Ward says the only thing they overlook there is the lake! n


The Online Travel Market By GARY BERMAN

Having managed hotels in Australia and abroad for over 20 years, I have seen and been involved with the many changes that have occurred over this period in reservations, distribution and online booking fields.

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hether you are managing a 5 room motel or a 500 room international resort the basic principles are the same. You are in the business to maximise your return on your investment in your property or in other words make a good profit for your business. This can is done in three ways, firstly by maximising occupancy, secondly by maximising your room rate and thirdly keeping a strict control on costs. Until early 2000, the so called Last Minute websites did not exist and all reservations were done by traditional means, being, telephone enquiries, Central Reservations Systems, Global Distribution Systems and through the large wholesalers in the market. There was some scepticism and confusion when the first Last Minute site came on the market. Hotels were unsure of the best ways to use this new phenomenon, some wholesalers and traditional agents were concerned what it could do to their market share, the groups were concerned of some Central Reservations Systems being diluted and in essence it permanently changed

the way hotels would be able to sell their rooms. Properties slowly started to see the benefits of selling rooms through the third party sites as it gave them a chance to load real time rates and allotments on the, site and if used correctly, was based on a supply and demand mechanism where the rates could be manoeuvred up and down based on occupancy levels. Hotels now had an option to set rates daily or even hourly, rather than for the next year or sometimes up to 18 months in advance as demanded with some other methods. This opened up a whole range of new opportunities for both hotels and consumers . Hotels operators initially had greater control and saw occupancies rise and commissions fall while the consumers

suddenly had a new vehicle where they could find excellent deals . In the early days the consumer knew if they waited until close to arrival date the deals would be even better. As this online genre progressed, properties improved their yield management skills and often consumers waiting until the last minute to get better deals discovered this could backfire, and rates would actually increase closer to the dates requested. Between 1999 and 2005 online accommodation sales have grown over 40% per annum and in 2008 online accommodation sales were $1.3 Billion. This accounted for only 12.6% of all accommodation sales in Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s $10.6 Billion accommodation market so there is still plenty of room to grow and predictions

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The Online Travel Market

The age-old mantra that “a vacant room is revenue lost forever” should be stapled on every front desk and on all the phones as it is one of the truest statements in this industry.

The benefits for hotels using last minute sites are numerous including more flexibility in rates, yield management improvements, and cheaper costs per sale. Accommodation sites offer a huge distribution tool to the properties listing, enabling them to be seen by consumers around the world at no cost. The age-old mantra that “a vacant room is revenue lost forever” should be stapled on every front desk and on all the phones as it is one of the truest statements in this industry. Once the night has passed you can never sell that room again. So would it not be better to get a controlled discount for the room?

< are that these figures will grow to approx 30% of accommodation sales in the next 5 years.

Benefits to the consumer include the ability to compare properties and rates online, make bookings with immediate confirmation, be able to secure good deals by the comparison of rates etc., and save time by going online.

The USA already has over 30% of all accommodation sales online.

This online genre now covers all types and sizes of properties from holiday homes to 5

Star Resorts and everything in between, offering consumers maximum choice for their travel experience Other innovations that have assisted properties manage the third party sites have been the advent of the Channel manager which enables properties to load rates, allotments descriptions etc. on the one site and then distributes it out to whichever third party sites they choose. This has been a huge benefit for the hotels, as apart from the time saving aspect, it gives them the opportunity to list on all the sites. Hotels can now sell rooms online through their own websites as well as auction and bidding sites to name a few and the future looks very exciting with the rate of technological advances, specifically mobile technology such as iPhones, improvement in download speeds, increased acceptance of shopping online in general and improvements in online security. n


Choosing the RIGHT Microfibre for Your Facility By YING ZHANG

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ne of the great challenges for managers in the cleaning industry is to ensure cleaner, safer, and healthier facilities while keepingcosts and work-related injuries to a minimum. And, whether your facility environment lies within hospitality, healthcare, education, or property management, the goals remain the same. When it comes to floor care, end users want tools that help get the job done faster, easier, and without back pain. Let’s face it – there’s a lot of labuor involved in floor maintenance. In an industry where time is money and back injuries are the number one reportable workplace incidents, daily floor care tools need to offer cost-savingfeatures and benefits that directly impact worker turnover, well-being, and productivity. Microfibre products, such as lightweight tools, high performance wet pads, dry and dusting pads, and specialty pads (floor finishing and scrubber pads), clean better, faster, and safer than traditional products. As a result, microfibre cleaning is an innovation that is gaining popularity across various businesses and facilities where cleaner is not only better, but better for your bottom line.

All Microfibre is Not Created Equal Before choosing a microfibre provider, it’s extremely important to understand that

microfibre products vary widely. First, there are two main types of microfibre textiles available today for cleaning applications: unsplit and split. Unsplit microfibre, also known as monofilament microfibre, is made up of small filaments (think microscopic threads) of just one material (usually polyester) and is the least expensive type of microfibre to manufacture. Unsplit microfibre cleans better than traditional fibers, such as cotton, but does not do a great job of picking up and retaining small items like fine dust and microbes.

For optimum cleaning performance, demand split microfibre. Split microfibre is a blend of two materials, such as nylon and polyester. These materials are extruded together as a small filament just like the unsplit microfibre. The difference is that the nylon is chemically and mechanically split apart from the polyester to create microscopic crevices and openings within the filaments. When used dry, these crevices trap and hold dust particles and bacteria. In addition, when used with a liquid, dust, dirt, and microbes are sucked into these crevices by capillary action.

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Choosing the RIGHT Microfibre for Your Facility

Microfibre products, such

What to Look for When Selecting Microfibre

cleans floors 45 percent better than string mops;

reduces chemical consumption up to 95 percent versus traditional mops;

removes up to 80 percent more dust and dirt than traditional cotton dust mops; and

lasts six times longer than traditional mops.

A complete system that includes microfibre textiles, handles, extension poles, frames, dusting tools, buckets, and carts; A system offering ergonomic tools designed to help performance, as well as improve worker safety; A system with superior durability for greater economic benefit- this would include microfibrethat can withstand the greatest number of launderings (up to 500 launderings and 200 launderings with bleach);

A system that offers extensive training and support as an additional benefit -this includes not only online training support, but also field support teams that are available to conduct site audits, lead seminars, and train classes;

And, most of all, a system that can demonstrate proven performance.

as lightweight tools, high performance wet pads,

Old Versus New

dry and dusting pads,

Compared to traditional cleaning products, premium quality split microfibre textiles enable better, faster, and Greener cleaning that lasts longer. When choosing microfibre, look for a product that:

and specialty pads, clean better, faster, and safer than traditional products.

is proven to remove up to 95 percent of microorganisms versus as low as 67 percent with standard string mops;

Complete Microfibre Systems Other than the healthcare industry, which was an early adopter of microfibre, segments, such as property management, hospitality, and institutions, have also started to embrace it. The rich product offering allows microfibre to be used in diverse cleaning applications, such as dust and wet mopping, general surface cleaning, high dusting, window cleaning, bathroom cleaning, and floor finishing. Adopting the right microfibre for your facility is about adopting a smart system of tools and textiles that enable cleaner, safer, and healthier facilities. A complete microfibre system helps increase productivity via labor and costin- use, and provides the ability to clean efficiently and effectively, which in turn, impacts the bottom line. n Reprinted with kind permission from Executive Housekeeping Today, the official journal of the International Executive Housekeeping Association (IEHA).


Showing Your True Colours with

Colour-Coded Cleaning By ERIC GAUDET

Colour-coded cleaning programs are intended to help you identify different cleaning products such as towels, rags, and mops for various departments and wiping applications.

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here are many advantages to developing and implementing colour coding into your housekeeping program, including: • Infection Control • Preventing Cross Contamination • Differentiating for Specific Tasks/Jobs • Identifying Between Departments • Helping to Bridge the Language Barrier • Simplifying Employee Training • Improving Consistency

Infection Control & Preventing Cross Contamination One of the most important aspects of colour coding is the emphasis on infection control and preventing cross contamination between different departments and wiping applications. Recently, with the increased public awareness surrounding the HINI virus and other serious outbreaks including MRSA, E. Coli, and Salmonella, it is crucial to make sure that you are not a factor in contributing to the spread. In fact, in many healthcare and hospitality settings, staff members often use discarded linens for cleaning rags. This is becoming a serious concern because when staff members use discards as rags, they sometimes grab unwashed towels that were being used by

patients, thus contaminating surfaces they clean rather than sanitizing them. By making sure you have a solid codedcoded cleaning program in place, you and your staff will help prevent cross contamination by using different collared cleaning products when sanitizing a bathroom than you will in a guest room or a food preparation area. It is also important to remember that for proper infection control when cleaning specific departments, you should always begin with the cleanest areas and finish with the dirtiest.

Differentiating for Specific Tasks, Jobs, and Departments Generally, a small handful of colours are used to represent cleaning different departments in a facility or for particular tasks or jobs. Below is an example of colours used for specific departments or applications based on the general trend that has emerged in the industry: Red: Used in areas that have a higher risk of cross contamination and spreading infection. Most commonly used for cleaning restroom areas including toilets and urinals. Yellow: Used in cleaning objects and surfaces in guest and patient rooms.


Green: Used in areas where food is handled and prepared. Blue: Used in lower-risk areas such as common areas and for general purpose cleaning of surfaces such as glass and mirrors. When implementing your colour-coded program, you may want to consider matching the colour of your towels, rags, and mops with the colour of the chemicals or bottles you are using to clean. For instance, if you are cleaning windows using a blue spray bottle, match them up with blue towels.

Employee Training & Bridging the Language Barrier Any given cleaning program will only work as well as those using it understand it. Implementing a coded-coded cleaning program using different collared towels, rags, and mops to represent each task, job, or department will help to eliminate confusion among your staff while also simplifying their training. Also, posting a chart to visually portray illustrations representing your coded-coded program can be very helpful and beneficial for training employees as well as ensuring the consistency of your program. Colour is a universal language and by applying it to your cleaning program, you will be breaking down any language barriers between you and your staff. This is extremely important, as it removes the degree of uncertainty, resulting in your entire staff cleaning correctly.

Improving Consistency Another reason to institute and use a coded-coded cleaning program is that it can help to ensure that everything is done consistently each time, regardless of the staff member responsible. Colour coding gives your staff the same instructions and tools to accurately and responsibly perform their jobs. Improving the consistency of your cleaning program is a win-win scenario for everyone including supervisors, staff, and guests. For supervisors, colour coding allows you to make sure that proper cleaning practices are in place and are being successfully implemented. For your staff, colour coding will help them become more effective and efficient. For guests, they may not be aware that

coded-coded cleaning is being used, but they are benefiting from a cleaner, safer environment. Also, by not using discards in front of patients or guests in a healthcare or hospitality setting, they won’t have uncertainty that their linens are clean and safe to use. When it comes to setting up your codedcoded cleaning program, there are several different towel, rag, and mop options available, depending on the application and the departments you wish to focus on. Some of the most popular choices for housekeeping programs include: • Terry Towels: Terry cleaning towels are often popular because they are professional-looking, 100-percent cotton, absorbent towels. For general cleaning, towels that are approximately 16” x 19” are most popular, often referred to as a bar towel within the industry. Terry towels are usually available in an array of colours and styles, including white or white with a colour stripe down the middle. Using a collared towel or one with a differentiating stripe will also help to prevent mixing cleaning towels with guest hand and bath towels. Terry is a material that is ideal for general cleaning of walls, counters, and bathrooms, but is not recommended for lint-free cleaning. • Huck Towels: Huck towels are durable, lint-free, 100-percent cotton towels. Hocks also make an excellent choice for general cleaning and work well on glass, furniture, and many other cleaning applications. These towels are also a good choice for any food service environment because of the texture of the material. Huck towels are usually available in a wide variety of colours, including white. • Microfibre Towels and Mops: Microfibre is a lint-free synthetic material that has been around for nearly a decade, yet has become one of the most preferred cleaning materials used in the housekeeping industry. Microfibre is constructed with millions of microscopic hooks that attract, absorb, and remove all kinds of dirt, dust, and bacteria from surfaces. Microfibre traps the dirt, dust, and bacteria until it is washed, so the same towel or mop head can be used for a longer period of time when compared with traditional cleaning towels and mops. Microfibre is also popular because of its

Red cloths are generally used in areas that have a higher risk of cross contamination and spreading infection, such as restroom areas including toilets and urinals.

versatility and ability to clean without the use of chemicals. Towels and mops are safe on most surfaces from counters, floors, walls, and windows to electronics, wood, stainless steel and stone. Microfibre towels and mop pads are available in many colours, sizes, and styles and make a great addition to any coded-coded cleaning program. • Disposable Cloth-like Paper Wipers: If you are looking for a disposable codedcoded option, cloth-like paper wipers are a great alternative to towels and rags. Clothlike paper wipers are ideal because they are very durable and low in lint. You may be limited to colours such as white, blue, and red, but with these options, you will still be able to differentiate. All of these options listed above are made of different materials which can further help to distinguish what to use for a specific task. There are many ways to get started with a coded-coded program and there are several wiping and janitorial companies that will help you customize a program to fit your specific needs. Remember: When developing a coded-coded program, keep in mind that it is important to keep it simple to learn, understand, and use. n

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PCI Compliance –

What Australian Businesses need to know By MICHAEL BLOCh | Taming the Beast.net

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p until late 2006, PCI compliance was only compulsory for merchants capturing credit card data on their sites and processing more than 20,000 transactions a year; or having been identified previously as a security risk. PCI compliance for all Australian merchants capturing credit card data from their sites for Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover Financial Services transactions became compulsory way back in September 2006; but many still don’t know what it actually is, let alone how to implement it. This is no fault of business owners, but it just appears that the financial institutions in Australia have had challenges getting the right information through. With credit card data theft from large companies and organizations continuously hitting the headlines in Australia; card issuers are now demanding more from e-commerce merchants, large and small, to ensure that transactions occurring via their sites are secure. They’ve created what’s known as the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS) or PCI compliance for short. This isn’t just an Australian initiative, it’s been implemented globally. The Risks of Non­-Compliance Australian moteliers who are obligated to implement a PCI compliance program and don’t become compliant may find themselves without the ability to process transactions or may face fines from the card company in a situation where security is breached. Additionally, the added protection that being PCI compliant

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provides can prevent damage to your business reputation and legal action by decreasing the chance of breach of your systems. Unfortunately, achieving compliance is not something you’ll be able to do totally on your own, as PCI compliancy requires scanning and verification by an authorized third party. It all sounds quite frightening if you haven’t been through it before and while it is a somewhat time-consuming exercise, and can be costly depending on the vendor you select, the process isn’t as difficult as you might expect - but much of the complexity will also depend on the third-party scanning vendor you engage. You should really shop around for deals on PCI compliance because you’ll find huge variations on price and support. What’s Involved With PCI Compliance? PCI compliance is a set of security precautions that must be implemented to provide maximum protection of sensitive information during any credit card transaction. The compliance criteria include specific auditing processes, some of which are automated, the others requiring some action on the part of the merchant. The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard is referenced by all credit card issuers. PCI compliance for most online businesses, that is merchants processing up to 6 million transactions a year, consists of two main elements: •

An automated scan of your site and the server you’re hosted on by an authorized scanning vendor every 3 months

Yearly self assessment questionnaire

Quarterly PCI Compliance Scan The scanning vendor you select will execute a range of automated tests against your web site and the server it’s hosted on and then provide a report. The scans test for hundreds of different security issues. The report will contain a great deal of detail; much of it in technical jargon, highlighting potential problem areas in relation to severity. Depending on the issues flagged, it may be just an advisory on how you can improve your security; but there may also be critical items that prevent your site from being PCI compliant. A good vendor with then work with you and your web hosting company if necessary to help you address those issues. Chances are, if you are hosted on a shared server with other accounts, server based issues affecting your compliancy will affect all other clients on the server, so it’s in the host’s best interest to deal wit the issues. PCI Compliance Self Assessment In addition to the scan, you’ll also need to do a self assessment questionnaire.


It consists of the following requirement sections:

merchants experience a boost in sales when displaying recognized seals.

• Build and maintain a secure network

• You’ll feel better knowing that your platform is secure to industry standards.

• Protect and maintain client data • Maintain a Vulnerability Management Program

• You will be actively helping in the fight against fraud.

• Implement Strong Access Control Measures

• You will help to lift the general reputation of e-commerce - and that benefits the entire industry.

• Regularly Monitor and Test Networks Many merchants may find the form quite off-putting given some of the jargon in the self assessment, but again, a good PCI compliance vendor will assist you with completing this form. The Benefits of PCI Compliance While all this may seem to be an utter pain to do, there are real benefits from achieving PCI compliance, including • Your scanning vendor will give you a seal you can display on your site; a great reassurance to potential customers that you are able to secure their details. Many

Scanning Vendors There are a wide range of choices available; some costing far more than others and doing essentially the same thing. Remember to shop around and that you don’t have to find an authorized scanning service in Australia as the PCI standards are global. All PCI scans must be executed by a compliant network security scanning vendor - a list of approved vendors can be found at www.pcisecuritystandards.org n Information provided by Innquest Software innquest.com.au

Now validated for PCI PA-DSS (payment card Industry)

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nnQuest Australia, who are the distributors of the roomMaster 2000 property management system are delighted to announce roomMaster 2000 V13 has been accepted as a fully-compliant PCI PA-DSS application from the Global PCI Security Standards Council. roomMaster 2000’s PA-DSS certification not only helps motels comply with PCI DSS requirements, but it also helps motels meet Visa’s July 2010 deadline for their merchants to use only certified payment applications. This may even help hotels avoid fees imposed by processors for using noncompliant software. Obtaining the certification is part of InnQuest Software’s ongoing commitment to providing its clients with the best, most secure, and most affordable motel software possible. Existing clients, as well as prospective clients who are looking for a new motel software system, can feel confident that selecting roomMaster 2000 will ease their efforts in PCI compliance. roomMaster 2000 is currently one of the most affordable full-featured property management systems with the PCI PA-DSS certification. For more information about PCI DSS and its requirements, please contact your merchant services provider or visit www.pcisecuritystandards.org

TAKING THE PAIN OUT OF RUNNING YOUR PROPERTY Install roomMaster 2000 - software that grows as your business grows, yields the occupancy to increase your revenue and collects internet reservations 24/7 even when reception is unattended. roomMaster 2000 V13 has been accepted as a fully-compliant PCI PA-DSS application from the Global PCI Security Standards Council. roomMaster 2000 enjoys unprecedented success in Australia and worldwide. Over 800 Hotels in Australia and the pacific, and over 4,500 hotels around the world rely on roomMaster 2000 to help them run their successful businesses. InnQuest Australia is proud to be the preferred suppliers of Property Management Software to most of the major accommodation groups in Australia.

roomMaster 2000 is cost-effective and affordable. No other property management software can compete with roomMaster 2000 on both price AND features. Our annual maintenance agreement is priced at around the price of a cup of tea per day, a fraction of our competitors AND it includes free access to all product upgrades within a Version.

roomMaster 2000 Property Management Software

www.innquest.com.au Ph: 03 9585 3355 Fax: 03 8660 2912 Email: carol@consulserve.com.au


Insurance – who needs it? By STEPHEN DREW, Golden Chain Motor Inns

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nsurance – who needs it? No one who owns a bank or has large wads of cash to burn.

That’s not too many Golden Chain members I know! We recommend that our members and any other astute business operators look to obtain independent and reputable advice in respect to their insurance needs. All too often we have heard of people who find themselves facing off against an insurer direct – without the support and guidance of an independent broker to act for them in any potential insurance dispute. Aon Risk Services are such a firm of Insurance Brokers who have the expertise and geographic spread across Australia, Asia Pacific & NZ to meet all the insurance needs of Motel & Hospitality industry operators. We have sought many different queries from their representatives over many years and find the straight-forward approach and common sense advice very enlightening for such a subject as Insurance. The sensible motel operators are looking to maximise their levels and scope of protection, whilst keeping premium costs at manageable levels. Issues such as ensuring they have the building & plant covered for their replacement values and realising that it’s their own future protection they are in charge of, as it’s not the Insurance company’s role to advise clients on the correct values. The Insurers will investigate via their Assessor after the major claim, if the sums insured are adequate as under – insurance penalties do apply in these types of policies.

All too often, some operators trim costs to the extent that they do not select ‘Loss of Profits’ (following a fire or storm) coverage in their overall package and then find out to their determent that months after the damage is settled they are struggling financially due to the past lack of cash flow from trading. The burglary cover you may have, does it extend to provide cover when there is no forcible entry? It should! Even though today, the reports of theft by guests has diminished, there are so many fittings & fixtures that could easily be stolen from the property (like pool cleaners, pumps, outdoor future). Public Liability is an area where the level and extent of cover is paramount. Again, most members do not have a legal background so any allegation against the business needs to be defended and if you think that $5m is adequate you would be totally incorrect. We feel that $10m or even $20m is more standard levels of Liability coverage for Motels and those with larger properties or those offering more “resort” style facilities – should have higher levels. Have the operators who may employ staff thought of the effects on the business of any fraudulent misappropriation of business funds? Policies today can extend to protect this risk (fraud & dishonesty of staff) and this area does not add greatly to the package costs for motels. Mechanical & electrical breakdown is a risk which some operators may think is one they can do without. That is until the compressor on a main cold room compressor or the large restaurant air conditioner fails – and repairs are $5,000. A broad package policy

that can provide levels of coverage can be purchased to protect the majority of these sorts of repairs less any policy excess. There are changes occurring in the insurance market on a constant basis, so it’s always wise to seek comment from the representative as to what issues may be impacting on any upcoming renewal or new business enquiry. Before making any major changes to the business we’d recommend discussing this with your broker or insurers, so you are apprised of all implications that may impact insurance protection and premiums. Always spend the time to have an understanding of what is being offered or available and if in doubt there should be adequate time allotted to seek clarification to those questions and make an informed decision on an issue which is designed to allow you to focus on what you do best, which is to keep the customers coming and manage their expectations and grow your business in the process. We suggest you leave the managing of the major issues on insurance with the professionals in their field, but you will need to assist them to gain a better understanding of your unique business operation to ensure a successful outcome for all involved as it’s not a one-way street. n

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ADVERTORIAL

Australia’s unrivalled trade fair for furniture and furnishings features the Melbourne launch of HOTEL + HOSPITALITY Furnishings

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urnitex, now without doubt Australasia’s No. 1 furniture and furnishings trade fair, will return to Melbourne Exhibition Centre from 15 – 18 July 2010 featuring HOTEL + HOSPITALITY Furnishings. Following the launch of Hotel + Hospitality Furnishings at the Sydney Fair in February this year, the introduction of Hotel + Hospitality Furnishings into Furnitex has seen a phenomenal response and support and is a clear indication of furniture manufacturers and suppliers keen to explore non-retail market opportunities. The launch of this new brand is consistent with the continued direction of Furnitex to increase its offering to non-retail furniture buyers and to provide further opportunities to manufacturers and suppliers to diversify their businesses and to compliment their current exposure to the retail furniture sector. Over 60 suppliers have signed up to the newly launched HOTEL + HOSPITALITY Furnishings feature, which is Australia’s largest hospitality, commercial and contract furniture specific trade event. Catering to hospitality buyers from hotels, gaming, restaurants, cafes, venues and property developments, an extensive range of furniture and furnishings from some of Australia’s leading manufacturers, brands and suppliers will be on display. Leading suppliers on show in Hotel + Hospitality Furnishings include ACME Furniture, AH Beard, Casualife, Dare Global Furniture, Globe West, KM Tubular Industries, Sleepmaker, Tubeworks Furniture, Wembley Furniture and many more. Marie Kinsella, Managing Director for Australian Exhibitions & Conferences Pty Ltd, said the strong response from the HOTEL + HOSPITALITY sectors proves the non price-point market is thriving, offering opportunities to companies that

have traditionally only serviced the retail market. Other features at Furnitex include the AUSTRALIAN NEW PRODUCT PARADE and co-located with DECORATION + DESIGN Melbourne, this year’s fair is shaping up to be the best in years, with only a handful of stands remaining. The AUSTRALIAN NEW PRODUCT PARADE, which showcases hundreds of hot new designs from local manufacturers. Visitors will also have the opportunity to meet Australia’s next wave of furniture design talent when the prestigious furniture design competition VIVID – Vibrant Visions in Design returns. Awards will be presented to the best newcomers in Commercial, Concept, Student and Green categories. Registrations will open late May for the hotly anticipated International Industry Seminar Series. Four international speakers have been confirmed, including furniture designer Axel Enthoven of Enthoven Associates (BEL), former Editor of Metropolitan Home Magazine Linda O’Keeffe (USA), Els Zijlstra of Materia (The Netherlands) and Global Color Research’s Justine Fox (UK). Furnitex continues to make its mark on the trade fair circuit through its targeted offering, focusing solely on furniture and furnishings.

What: FURNITEX 2010 DECORATION + DESIGN Melbourne 2010

Where: Melbourne Exhibition Centre, Southbank

When: Thursday 15 July 9am - 5pm Friday 16 July 9am - 5pm Saturday 17 July 10am – 5pm Sunday 18 July 10am – 5pm

Event organiser: Australian Exhibitions & Conferences Pty Ltd

Exhibitor information: Contact AEC, tel 03 9654 7773 or furnitex@aec.net.au

Web: www.furnitex.com.au or www.decorationdesign.com.au

“Our visitors are 100% interested in sourcing new furniture/furnishings and interior decorative products and suppliers – they’re not interested in white goods or appliances. Given the enormous demands on the sales and marketing arms of all businesses, we identify and deliver key target markets to ensure businesses get return on their investment” said Kinsella. FURNITEX and the co-located DECORATION + DESIGN Melbourne are once again major event partners of the State of Design Festival (14 - 25 July 2010).

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REACH FOR THE STARS – and reap the rewards By BRIAN HULL

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lthough they may not be consciously aware of it hotel and motel guests expect accommodation that is at least as good as what they have at home. If you want a satisfied clientele that comes back again you need to provide not just minimal facilities but also tasteful decor, functional lighting, and sensible furniture placement. And if you want to improve your AAA Tourism Star Rating you need to pay close attention to their strict guidelines. When your rooms have passed their “Use by” date they are costing you money as the 21st Century businessman and holiday-maker expects a great deal more than previously. The basic accommodation of twenty years ago is no longer acceptable. Your existing furnishings might still be in reasonable condition but your image won’t be. Many operators are in a Catch 22 situation. They know they have to refurbish to stay competitive but they are short of funds. In desperation they cut their room rates but the occupancy rate remains dismal, and the longer they put off doing something the further they are slipping behind. This is the time to consider a financial package. There are lenders who offer a rental program in which all the payments are 100% tax deductable and at the end of the rental period the furniture can be purchased for a token sum. The increased profits from higher occupancy rates and tariffs far outweigh the cost of renting. Some of our recent customers have been able to increase their room rates by $30 per night and the renovated rooms are the first to go.

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Should you buy Australian made? That’s an emotional decision but from an economics point of view it doesn’t make much sense. In the USA whole towns grew up around the furniture manufacturing industry, mainly in North Carolina and surrounding areas. For many years buyers from all over the world have been visiting the twice a year High Point (N.C.) Furniture Exhibition, and I for one have salivated over the great diversity of products on offer. Due to their much larger population and economy of scale, American prices were always a lot lower than ours and the styles a lot more imaginative. Now times have changed and the American furniture industry has suffered badly from globalization. Their manufacturers can’t compete with China and many of them have gone out of business, while most others have either moved their factories to China, or are having their products made there under contract. Now for the first time in my 45 years in the furniture business we can get furniture by international designers at lower prices than what the Americans and Europeans are paying – all made in China. As a rough guide, a 4 Star motel guest room of high quality Chinese made furniture should cost you no more than about $5,000 including wardrobes. There is a general misconception in Australia that China produces goods so cheaply because of ‘slave labour’. I have been dealing with China for over 30 years and have visited many furniture factories. In the past decade I can honestly say that I have never seen one that has working conditions that were in any way inferior to what we have in Australia. Certainly comparatively low labour costs are an important factor but so too is the fact that


Chinese factories invariably use state-of –the-art equipment and machinery from Germany and Italy, follow strict international quality control standards, and use computers extensively both in the factories and in their office systems. Of course I am talking about well established factories that may have 500 1000 workers or more (which is the norm in China). Many inexperienced importers have burnt their fingers with inferior products from inferior factories. As a buyer my first consideration is always the design, for regardless of price, if a product doesn’t have visual appeal nobody is going to buy it (but as Lush Life furniture is custommade anything at all is possible). Then comes quality, and it doesn’t make any difference whether we are talking about an international hotel or a 3½ star motel, there should really be only one nonnegotiable standard of quality. After that, such things as ease of communication, willingness to cooperate, and reliability need to be assessed. Only after I am satisfied that these all make the grade does price become a factor. When you have dealt with lots of suppliers one has a good idea of whether prices are reasonable or not. But Australia is a tiny market by world standards. The furniture you see in Australian retail stores is what a small number of importers have tied up their money in. As they have to carry relatively big quantities of any one item they cannot be too adventurous in their choices or they might get stuck with a lot of slow stock. For everything you might see there are a hundred factories in China that make it, or could make it. At the same time, for every item you’ve seen there are fifty

alternatives that you won’t see. It is simply not economical nowadays for factories anywhere to gear up to supply small quantities. Typically the MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity) for dining chairs from China will be at least 100, or for hotel/ motel bedrooms around 20, but if you can meet those requirements the savings are substantial, and Australian manufacturers simply cannot compete. Usually the first thing we are asked at Lush Life Furnishing is “Do you have a website?” Well, yes we do but we urge customers not to treat it as a catalogue, as one size does not fit all. In the hospitality industry everybody’s needs are different, and what suits you won’t suit somebody else. Cabinet work is custom-made so anything is possible. And the range of options is infinite - sizes, colours, timber veneers, handles, protective finishes, and so on. To protect the surfaces do you want polyurethane, laminate, tempered glass, or maybe marble or granite tops (which now only cost about $25 for a bedside cabinet)? When you go to your doctor he doesn’t say, “There’s a library full of books. Go through them and tell me what your problem is and I will write you a prescription”. Hotel furniture is no different. A supplier needs to ask you lots of questions to ascertain your wants and needs before he can make intelligent recommendations. But guest bedrooms all require the same basic items, so when you are thinking of

refurbishment you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. It is often difficult to get hoteliers into the starting gates as they get bogged down on aesthetic details that can wait, such as timbers, colours, fabrics, and cabinet handles whereas initially they only need to decide on the items they need, the quantities, and the specifications that will meet AAA Tourism requirements. Trends come and go but ‘Style’ is never out of fashion. If you don’t have a natural flair for aesthetics then I suggest you pinch ideas out of local and foreign magazines or from websites. Nowadays you can have just about anything without it costing you any more than the nondescript ‘Bob Menzies Revival’ furniture that is still seen in far too many guest rooms in Australia. I recently visited a motel in a semi-tropical coastal resort town that had perhaps the worst guest room furniture, both in quality and condition that I have seen. The operators planned to replace it with ho-hum furniture that wouldn’t do a thing to increase the very low occupancy rate. And yet this motel was well located and sprawled over acres of land with tropical gardens and good facilities. Whoever built the complex originally was obviously influenced by South American architecture and had translated it well. With a bit of imagination this could have been a golden opportunity to quickly turn a poor performing motel into a successful resort at minimal cost.

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< So when you are planning to refurbish consider these suggestions: • Throw out all your pre-conceived ideas. Design for the future, and not for the past. • Keep in mind that good design needn’t cost you any extra. What you can get is limited only by your imagination. • Get inspiration from Australian and overseas architectural and hospitality magazines and books, and from websites. • Build upon a style that is appropriate to your building and location. • Don’t just buy from a standard range of products. Deal with a supplier who is willing to work with you to transform your ideas into reality. • Budget on importing around twenty rooms at a time (even if you have to store it while the fit-out is being done) as the savings are enormous. • Consider a rental or hire-purchase package.

Brian Hull is the Managing Director of Lush Life Furnishing, a company that specializes in procuring furniture & furnishings for the Australian hospitality industry. For further information on their products and services, or for contact details of providers of finance for refurbishment, he can be contacted on 0410 552938 or email brian@lush-life.com.au . Lush Life Furniture’s website address is www.lush-life.com.au


Bed Bugs – the

problem and the solution By Stephen Doggett | Department of Medical Entomology, ICPMR, Westmead Hospital, Westmead NSW 2145

A survey of Australian professional pest managers in 2006 revealed that bed bug numbers had risen by an unprecedented 4,500% since the start of the new millennium.

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nfortunately for the commercial accommodation sector, the vast majority of these infestations had occurred within your industry. The big problem is that bed bugs are expensive and these nuisance insects have probably cost the Australian economy well over $100million during this period. Not only is bed bug control extremely pricey, but these insects bite with the result that guests often suffer considerable physical and mental trauma. In many parts of the world this had lead to an explosion in litigation, with one motel in the US being sued for $20million after a guest was horrendously attacked. Not surprisingly, the motel’s reputation (and balance sheets) will take years to recover. Fortunately since the survey above was undertaken, bed bug infestations in Australia have not continued to increase in the exponential fashion that they did between the years 2000 and 2006. The Global Financial Crisis with the downturn in travel and tourism has probably been one contributing factor for this. Bed bugs are largely spread via luggage, and so the higher the guest turnover, the greater the risk of bed bugs. Despite the levelling out of bed bug numbers there has been a major change in patterns of activity over recent years in that infestations have spread into the wider community. Along with the accommodation industries, Doctors’ waiting rooms, hospitals, the transport system, cinema complexes, socially disadvantaged groups and even wheel chairs have not been immune. In other words, where a head lies or a bum sits, bed bugs can be awaiting! Clearly bed bugs have become a societal problem.

The implications of this for the accommodation industry is that there is now a greater reservoir of potential infestations and as the economy bounces back, we may see rates again rising rapidly…time will tell. However bed bugs are still problematic and infestations continue apace, and it is important to be prepared and know how to deal with bed bugs if they make an unwanted appearance, more of this later. One positive consequence of resurgence, particularly over the last three years, is that research on bed bugs has flourished, particularly in the area of chemical and non-chemical means of control. This period has also seen many management devices coming onto the marketplace including mattress encasements, and a range of traps, monitors and barriers. But do these devices actually work? There is no doubt that mattress encasements are an effective bed bug management tool and offer several advantages. For an infested bed, encasements can contain the infestation without the need to discard the mattress and the better quality encasements have an inbuilt membrane which bed bugs are unable to bite through. It is considerably cheaper to purchase an encasement than a new mattress! Encasements have no edge beading and so there are few areas for bed bugs to hide compared to the average mattress and ensemble, which make great bed bug motels. Being white, it is much easier to see bed bugs and their signs on an encasement than a mattress. The two better encasements on the market, which have been scientifically tested and shown to be effective, are

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Even though bed bug management is clearly the most rapidly evolving area of research for any pest in the world today, the reality is that there is no magical silver bullet on the horizon for bed bug control.

the Protect-A-Bed (www.protectabed. com.au) and the Mattress Safe (www. thebedprotector.com.au). Broadly speaking we can define barriers as devices that aim to prevent bed bugs from climbing onto the bed and biting the sleeping victim, whereas traps (and monitors) aim to detect bed bugs and/or to reduce the overall bed bug population. Barriers work on the assumption that the bed has been cleared of any active infestation and the device will then inhibit access onto the bed for any bugs remaining in the room. One barrier, the ‘Climbup Insect Interceptor’ (CII, www.insect-interceptor. com) has been shown to be very effective. This device has several advantages: it

is cheap, just a few dollars each; simple technology with little maintenance; and can act as a monitoring tool. However, the CII is quite obvious and almost screams out, “Yes folk, we have bed bugs!”, and is thus unlikely to be used in the commercial accommodation sector. Bed bug traps are far more diverse in their nature and operation, but all act as monitoring devices mostly via trapping live bed bugs. Most have some sort of a lure to attract the insects, such as heat, carbon dioxide or various other chemicals. Some traps are disposable and only a few dollars each, while others are well over a thousands dollars and require daily replacement of consumables. A number of traps have attributes that may limit their use either due to their physical size or perceived occupational health and safety issues. Regarding physical limitations, some traps are over 10cm tall, while most beds with casters in motels have a clearance to the floor of around 6-8cm, which makes placement of the trap problematic. The trap can not be placed in an obvious location within a hotel room while in use, as the guest would not want to stay in a facility where there may be a perceived risk of bed bugs. The hotel certainly does not want to risk their reputation by announcing that they have an infestation. For some hotels whereby the bed frame consists of sheets of timber nailed together, there is no space available at all underneath. In motels with ensembles or solid bed bases, bed bug traps could only be employed while the room is closed during the treatment process. A number of bed bug traps utilise mains power and power cords may not been seen as being desirable under the bed for risk of fire, or around the room for the tripping risk. Additionally, a few devices have a canister of compressed carbon dioxide and it may be probable that some hotels would not want a high pressure gas cylinder within their rooms. Such devices may even have insurance implications. Now to the most important question; do bed bug traps work? It is highly probable that all the devices will trap bed bugs to some extent and are likely to assist in the early detection of these insects. How reliable and effective they are however, is presently unknown as to date no traps have been

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tested and demonstrated efficacious via independent scientific investigation. Thus presently, it is not possible to recommend any of the bed bug traps currently on the market. Even though bed bug management is clearly the most rapidly evolving area of research for any pest in the world today, the reality is that there is no magical silver bullet on the horizon for bed bug control. So just what is the best way to rid your property of this nuisance pest? The reality is that most pest managers consider that bed bugs are the most challenging of all insects to eradicate. The reason for this is that the current generation of bed bugs are highly resistance to most of the insecticides used today. This means that treatments must be very thorough and repeated, often on several occasions with heavy infestations. Multiple control methodologies should also be employed encompassing non-chemical means of control such as steam and vacuuming, as well as the use of insecticides. To ensure that ‘best practice’ is occurring, the ‘Code of Practice for the Control of Bed Bug Infestations in Australia’ should be consulted. This is a freely available document from www.bedbug.org.au and aims to promote best practice in the eradication of active bed bug infestations and the management of potential infestations. On this site you will also find pest managers who have received specific training in bed bug control. The Code of Practice is a living document and is updated regularly in order to maintain relevance and to keep up to date with the latest technological innovations in bed bug management. Since its first inception in 2006, there have been six versions; three drafts that have been open for public comment and three final editions. The 3rd Edition is now available for download and has seen many changes, including: • The need for Pest Managers to have a Bed Bug Management Plan, • The need for those in the accommodation industry to have a Pest Management Policy, • Updated information on control via heat, • An enhanced section on pest identification,


• What to look for in a mattress encasement, • Information on bed bug traps and barriers,

To compliment the recent release of the 3rd Edition of the

• A section on how to choose a Pest Manager for bed bug control,

Bed Bug Code of Practice and to assist the hospitality

• High risk factors in bed bug control,

bug management, a ‘Bed Bug Management Policy for

• New information on insecticide efficacy and resistance,

Accommodation Providers’ has been released. Presently

• Bed bugs in rental properties,

this policy is a draft and can be downloaded from

• Control on aircraft, & • Potential insecticides. In addition, the whole section on bed bug prevention has been totally revised to take in account the four key phases of a bed bug infestation (i.e. the Introduction, Establishment, Growth and eventual Spread of an infestation). Unfortunately, with the resurgence of bed bugs, the hospitality industry is seen as a potential cash cow by some less scrupulous companies who are keen to make a fast buck. There all sorts of unsubstantiated reports of products claiming to control bed bugs, when often there is little science (or questionable science) to back up the claims. If there is no scientific data produced by an independent body for a product then it will not be endorsed within the Bed Bug Code of Practice. Thus our advice is, if the product is not in the Code, use it at your own risk! n

industry and other accommodation provides in bed

www.bedbug.org.au. To ensure broad acceptance of the Bed Bug Management Policy, feedback is sought from industry stakeholders. The draft policy is now open for public comment and all submissions should be sent to Stephen Doggett, c/o Department of Medical Entomology, Westmead Hospital, PO Box 533, Wentworthville NSW 2145, or email: stephen.doggett@swahs.health.nsw. gov.au. Closing date is 31st September 2010 and all submissions will be considered in the development of the final release of the policy, which is expected late 2010. It is important to realise that this policy has been developed to assist you and your industry, and so please make it stronger by offering your comments.


Australian Inventor Tackles Global Bed Bug Pandemic Sitting relaxed in shorts, thongs and t-shirt with dog Max at his side Tony Abrahams appearance doesn’t strike the usual imagery one thinks of when hearing the word “inventor.”

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et in less than twelve months the lifelong St.Kilda resident has gone from running a group of private apartments, to the inventor of an award-winning product that’s helping hostels and hotels around the world combat the growing problem of Bed Bugs. Tony explains “I accidentally got involved with bed bugs six years ago whilst renting out a group of apartments to travellers. I never knew what a bed bug was until one day a tenant came to me covered in bites. I was horrified to realize that these little blood-sucking bed bugs were attacking my guests. At this point I didn’t realize that they were here to stay and were going to be a nightmare to deal with!” Tony isn’t the only one to experience the discomfort and stress of bed bug infestations, as the resurgence of Bed Bugs continues to gather momentum in Australian and abroad. “It’s becoming a very serious, and very expensive problem for hotels around the world,” explains Tony “The costs of treatment of a single infestation can be up-to $15,000, not to mention costs such as replacing mattresses, damage to your reputation and even potential litigation from guests. Prevention and monitoring are the best forms of protection.” However, prevention and monitoring are a difficult job. Confirming the presence of bedbugs can be a tricky matter—particularly in cases where an infestation is light, recurrent, or when a user has no prior experience in dealing with bedbugs. Tony set out to make the bed-bug barrier not only useful for preventing bed bugs climbing up the legs of hotels beds (their main source of entry) but as a discrete monitoring solution that is helping hotels recognize and treat the problem before any serious damage is done.

Melbourne inventor Tony Abrahams and dog Max pictured at their local St.Kilda café. “In the US you see some hotels go to extreme lengths to monitor bed bugs. Some firms offer the services of a trained sniffer-dog that can detect bed bugs in a room. The only problem is, guests tend to be alarmed at the sighting of a trained Beagle scouting the premises, thinking there’s a bomb scare!” In contrast, the bed bug barrier is simple and discrete, slotting either under the bed leg or between the mattress and the bed-leg completely hidden from guests. In less than 12 months this simple and effective innovation has netted Tony an ABC new inventor award, a design patent, a string of global distributors and a loyal band of grateful clients. “It’s been an amazing 12 months; after witnessing the damage bed bugs did to my business first-hand I’m thrilled to be able to help hotels tackle this problem.” n For more information about the Bed Bug Barrier, visit www.bedbugbarrier. com.au or email info@bedbugbarrier.com.au.

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Sparring in the Motel Spa

How to increase the attraction of the motel spa By ALAN LEWIS | Pool Consultant

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requented as they are by long-distance motorists, motels are often expected to provide the luxury of a nice hot spa to relax after a day of tiring driving. Quite often this turns out to be far from relaxing and often leaves the skin smelling of chlorine for long after the post-spa shower. Those motels with indoor spas greet the patron with that pervading “chlorine smell” at the very entrance to the spa and pool hall. Two factors combine to deliver that smell: 1. The chlorine used to disinfect the spa, and 2. The sweat of the bathers immersing in the spa. The chemical reaction between the two, produce the combined chlorine (chloramines) that offend the nostrils so much. The heat factor here – while it contributes to the ‘relaxation’ of the bathing actually exacerbates the problem even further. Any bathing water which is maintained at a temperature over 27ºC demands more chlorine because the heat tends to dissipate or break down the Hypochlorous Acid (HOCl) formed when either gas, liquid or granular chlorine is fed into the water. This is the active ingredient of the chlorine which kills the bugs and prevents cross infection between bathers. The second factor (above) is one which can be reduced by simply requiring patrons to shower before they enter the spa – and particularly after exercising in the gym or visiting a sauna. It has been found that showering before bathing removes as much as 75% of the urine in the sweat glands on the surface of the body. So showering can in effect remove 75% of the chloramines which are formed in the Spa! In many countries this practice is observed very strictly. Further to this, the ratio between the volume of water in a spa and the number of bathers it can hold is much more critical than that ratio in a pool. This fact translates to a tendency for a speedier development of chloramines in the spa which needs to be addressed on a daily basis. The recommendation is simple. For every bather that enters the spa , the water should be diluted with at least 30 litres of

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fresh supply water. For example in a large spa with 10,000 litres capacity; if 100 people enter the spa each day, then 3000 litres of spa water should be replaced each day with fresh water. This has been legislated for in Germany where every pool and spa is required to dilute in this fashion. Yet a further aspect of good spa maintenance should be a careful check on the Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) in the water. Daily dilution may or may not control the TDS satisfactorily. The only way to be sure of this is to test TDS on a regular basis (say 3 times a week) and to empty the entire spa as soon a the TDS reaches 1500 mg/l so that good disinfection can continue to keep the spa from smelling and allow full enjoyment of the experience. Chloramines are the precursors to some very potent Disinfectant By-Products (DBPs) which develop very quickly in poorly maintained pools and spas. These can be managed in a variety of ways, but essentially in the very hot water of the spa (35 – 36 deg C) it is possible to reduce the amount of “free available chlorine” in the spa by using a little practiced trick in chemistry known as Halogen Substitution or Halogen Exchange – reactions. Halogens are the Greek name for “Salt Forming” chemicals since they are characterized by they ability to join up with other atoms very readily because of their unique molecular structure. In this


case we will use a combination of Chlorine and Bromine salts. The two components of this reaction will be 1. Common liquid Chlorine (Sodium Hypochlorite NaHOCl) & 2. Sodium Bromide (NaBr) The latter is supplied as a granulated salt very similar to common salt (NaCl) and is just as easily dissolved up in water to make a solution which can be fed simultaneously with the chlorine feed. For this purpose you will need a controller as shown in the photograph below:

This double headed peristaltic pump allows simultaneous feeding of the two separate solutions and by carefully preparing appropriate concentrations of these in separate vessels – they will only begin to mix in the return to spa line, so that by the time they reach the spa the chemical outcome will be a combination of Hypochlorous acid (HOCl) and Hypobromous Acid (HOBr). Why do this? The answer lies is the primary objective which is to reduce the amount of free chlorine (HOCl) by substituting an equal part of free Bromine – Hypobromous Acid (HOBr). In doing this we also reduce the amount of chloramines created since only half the chlorine is entering the spa while in place of chloramines we would now be creating half bromamines. There are several advantages to this: 1. Bromamines unlike chloramines are bather friendly – and do not last as long in the spa as do chloramines which can linger for days while Bromamines usually disappear within hours. Since the controller only feeds more disinfectant on demand as the disinfecting (Redox) sensor requires – this is of little consequence. 2. Bromamines are effective at high temperatures while chloramines have a very low disinfection capability at any temperature – and even less at high temperatures. The next factor which we need to look at is the pH of the water in the spa. It is well know that Sod Hypochlorite is pH dependent. In other words the lower the pH the less chlorine needs to fed to achieve the same level of disinfection. Here we must pause for a


look at pH control. Those Motels which use the cheap and nasty controllers that use Hydrochloric Acid for pH reduction find that with the high temperature of the spa the Alkalinity in the water is reduced very quickly. This requires that the operator must add buffer (Sodium Bicarbonate) every day to avoid malfunction of the dosing system. Hence in this proposal it is vital to realize that by using CO2 we avoid two problems: 1. Since the Carbonic acid formed by the CO2 supports rather than decreases the Alkalinity in the water – there is no need to add buffer every day. 2. The use of Hydrochloric Acid where Bromine salts are present can develop some very nasty carcinogenic DBPs in the spa which actually enter the bathers’ blood stream through the pores of the skin. These DBPs are not created when CO2 is used for pH reduction.

That is why there is a CO2 solenoid on the controller, for the feed of the CO2 gas for pH control. (See the picture above). The importance of keeping the pH low is clearly shown in the chart below. Note also that the higher the pH the higher the relative portion of Hypobromous acid (HOCl). The recommended pH is 7.2 – 7.3. For the Motel owner this form of spa disinfection system ticks all the boxes. Once set up it is simple, elegant, cost effective, and very easy to maintain. The installation should follow some elementary but essential details. It is advisable that you consult with the author if you want your spa to be as pleasant and odour free as possible. The use of the controller suggested here will minimise your maintenance problems and compared with a “chlorine-only feed” is less demanding for a much more pleasurable result. Even if your spa suffers from a heavy bather load, this ORP (Redox) control system will maintain the spa on an even keel at all times and use a very minimum of liquid chlorine, while the pH is easily maintained at 7.2- 7.3 in spite of the high temperature. n For further explanations and elaborations feel free to email Alan Lewis at aquazure34@gmail.com


Pool and Spa Heating Options By PAUL WERE | Dontek Electronics

Gas

Heat Pump

Gas has traditionally been the most common form of pool heating as it is easy to install, has a low capital outlay and can provide rapid heat up times. The heater usually has pool water pumped through a Heat Exchanger which sits above a gas fired burner tray; this heat is transferred to the water and returns to the pool. Newer style gas heaters utilise fan assistance that aids in the combustion and heat transfer process that increases efficiencies and reduces operating costs. A gas heater is an ideal stand alone system when natural gas is available or the perfect back up for Solar or Heat Pump systems.

Heat Pumps have become more common for heating as capital costs have been reduced over the past few years. They can be used as a stand alone system as long as heat load calculations have been performed correctly. Heat pumps are least efficient during the coldest months and it is common practice to have a gas heater as back up for prolonged cold spells.

Solar Inviting Swimming Pools and Spas are an attractive way for Hotels and Motels to entice new patrons and to keep existing ones. Although an inviting pool or spa may look great, the water temperature must be set to a level where the experience

Solar is an extremely economical way of heating a pool and has a relatively low capital cost. Water is pumped from the pool to a heat collector fitted to the roof that absorbs radiant energy from the sun and returns to the pool. This heat collector can be made in many different styles; some are made from extruded PVC Nitrile or EPDM rubber strip, moulded tube panels, glazed poly panels and more. When year round heating is required a backup system such as Gas or Heat pump is required.

meets expectation, but which one to get?

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s there are many options in heating a swimming pool or spa it is advisable to contact a pool heating specialist and have a heat load evaluation to find the most economical and environmentally friendly system. The most common options currently available are:

High Efficiency Solar High Efficiency Solar uses Glass Evacuated Tubes to collect the heat. A number of systems are available; some are even used in conjunction with heat exchangers and shared with the potable water system. This is a very economical system to run and although capital cost appears high, it can be amortised over the two heating systems. A backup system is normally required to guarantee a suitably heated pool.

Heat pumps work like a reversed air conditioner. Instead of taking air from a room or building, removing the heat and returning it, a heat pump takes large quantities of air from the atmosphere, removing the heat contained in the air and transferring this to water from the pool or spa passing through the unit. The characteristic of the heat pump of absorbing heat value from air means that the unit has a low electrical input relative to its heat transfer. A well designed heat pump will output heat at a rate of around 5:1, relative to its energy input under summer conditions. This greatly reduces total energy consumption. This factor is called the heat pumpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s co-efficient of performance or COP. The capture of solar energy from air means that the heat pumpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s output and efficiency will vary with air temperature. Higher efficiency is gained in more temperate locations but heat pumps are capable of maintaining pool temperatures year-round in nearly all areas of Australia and New Zealand.

SMART HEATING CONTROL ELECTRONICS MEANS MAXIMUM EFFICIENCY Even the most economical heating systems for pools and spas can require a back

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Pool and Spa Heating Options

up system and this is where a digital control system can pay dividends. The controller will monitor the most economical way of heating and will switch between heat sources as required. When a gas system is utilised, electronics can be used to accurately control run times, set temperatures and heater cool down times. This ensures energy is not wasted from slow switching mechanical thermostats or thermostats that are fitted within the heaters high temperature cabinets. Peak swimming times are also allowed for. On Solar Systems the controller will monitor the pool temperature and when heating is required will turn the solar system on if there is solar gain. When auxiliary heating is installed - normally gas or heat pump fitted in conjunction with solar - the controller will determine which heat source is best to use. If heating is required the controller will check solar temperature and if insufficient, it will switch on the auxiliary heater and it will run until the set limit is reached or until there is sufficient solar gain. If solar gain is insufficient for the water temperature to reach the limit, then both heat sources will run concurrently. When there is enough solar gain to achieve limit the auxiliary heating will be turned off and only the more economical solar heat source will be utilised. When Salt Chlorinators are used in multiple or smaller systems, over Chlorination is common as the Filter pump may run for extended hours to keep the Heat Pump going. The controller will turn the Salt Chlorinator off when extended heating times are required, or an electronic monitoring system should be fitted.

HOW TO SAVE ON RUNNING COSTS AND THE ENVIRONMENT When multiple heat sources are utilised it is imperative to set the most economical heat source to a higher temperature setting than the auxiliary temperature setting. Consequently, the cheaper heat source will push the water temperature above the auxiliary setting therefore minimising the auxiliary sourceâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s run time. The greater the temperature difference between the two settings the larger the savings will be. What needs to be considered are the minimum and maximum temperature settings that are comfortable for the user. Commonly used minimum and maximum temperatures are 26 degrees Celsius and 29 degrees Celsius respectively, however, this will differ from State to State as pool temperature needs to be set relevant to ambient air temperature to achieve a comfortable level. n


mo Product News B

AXX is an advanced development discovered out of investigating methods of combating germ warfare by the British Ministry of Defence who had a remit to assess the risk of bacterial attack on the British Isles in the 60/70’s. This in turn had been initiated by observations over a hundred years prior by Louis Pasteur who had documented that the atmosphere in high altitudes and sunny days reduced the incidence of infection and effectively killed bacteria and viruses.

turned off. Not overnight, not for weekends, not for holidays – it’s always working for you to eliminate pathogen contamination in that room.

The answer lay in the natural occurrence of airborne Hydroxyl Clusters.

The 800-S unit is the largest unit of 1 metre long.

Modern technology and electronics allows the BAXX to achieve the aim of eliminating airborne pathogens by using cold plasma to strip a hydrogen atom from some of the natural water molecules (H20) contained in the air around us, leaving them as unbalanced hydroxyl clusters (-OH). These clusters seek and attach to airborne bacteria and virus cells and recover their missing hydrogen atom from the cells wall to return to a natural water molecule again (H2O).

It also has the highest treated air output and so is ideal for production areas.

Each room to be covered should have its own Baxx unit(s). A single Baxx unit is capable of covering up to a 360 cubic metre room, although if there are other fans causing opposing or cross currents in the room then two or more units may be preferable to maximise air circulation and surface coverage.

The smaller S600 unit has been recently released for quieter locations such as doctor’s surgeries, hospital wards, office buildings, schools, children’s nurseries and aged care facilities.

Thus nature’s way of eliminating airborne pathogens has been reproduced.

Booster units will shortly become available to supplement rooms with lots of existing airflow such as cool rooms. In these circumstances, a single 800-S Baxx unit can be installed to run continuously, while the booster units are positioned in front of the existing fans and wired to them so as to only be active when the fan is blowing over them. This reduces the initial purchase price of installing BAXX to large plants.

Hydroxyl clusters will also land on surfaces and kill surface contamination by the same method.

In the near future, 12 and 24volt units will become available for refrigerated trucks, coaches and similar such applications.

These same Hydroxyl Clusters can reduce and eliminate odours as well – particularly so on odours based on ammonia compounds or ethylene or waste decomposition.

Applications encountered so far include –

In that instant, the bacteria/virus metabolism and cell wall is disrupted and the cell dies.

The use of stripping away hydrogen atoms from airborne water molecules to form hydroxyl clusters is unique to the BAXX cold plasma technology which naturally kills all airborne pathogens including MRSA, C.Diff(Spore Form), Norovirus and Bacteria. BAXX introduces several technological breakthroughs and advantages – •

It doesn’t require any consumables other than electricity. No filters to clean, no chemicals or liquids to replenish, no service required. Install it and leave it to do its work. Electrical consumption is a mere 120watts – the equivalent of two 60watt light-globes. The case of the Baxx is in 316 stainless steel which makes it ideal for food manufacturing plants, health care facilities, hospitals, doctors surgeries and waiting rooms, retail outlets, and any other moist environments where a germ free environment is paramount. The only moving part is a resin-packed motor attached to a fan. These type motors can cope with dry & dusty conditions to wet and clammy environments and so the Baxx can be employed in steamy kitchens or cold wet chillers just as easily as dry powder mixing rooms and anything in-between.

Hospital wards – particularly to combat Norovirus.

Retail fruit and vegetable displays – reduced banana browning by up to 4 days by inhibiting ethylene production.

Commercial Kitchens and Cafeterias.

Cold storage rooms.

Pet shops and accommodations.

Backpackers hotels to deodorise rooms.

Gym lockers for deodorising.

Flour mill storage rooms to eliminate flour moulds – 40% to 92% measured reduction.

Packaging company clean rooms for food packaging materials.

Smallgoods manufacturing.

Yogurt cooking and rapid cooling rooms.

Meat wholesalers.

Chicken meat processing plants – 90% measured reduction.

Seafood processing plants.

Such is the confidence in the construction and reliability of the Baxx unit that it is guaranteed for 3 years of non-stop 24/7 running.

Several large industry users of BAXX here and overseas have also noted a reduction in sick leave by staff working in the areas covered by the Baxx units. After all, BAXX is killing flu and cold virus just as efficiently and effectively as any other pathogen.

The ceiling is the preferred mounting position for a Baxx unit – usually, but not essentially, central to the room. Brackets on the Baxx unit also facilitate wall mounting as an alternative where suitable. It’s usual to hard wire the Baxx unit to a continuous power circuit as the Baxx unit should never be

The BMB booster units are being introduced to the model range for mass air conditioning units and ducted systems in office buildings, shopping malls, medial facilities etc for this reason, as well as supplementing the existing models in processing areas and cool rooms as described above. Baxx Australia www.baxx.com.au Ph: (02) 9939-4900 Fx: (02) 9939-4911 ssyme@baxx.com.au See ad on page 10 of this issue.

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mo Product News Australia’s Largest Motel Chain Turns 25

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ustralia’s largest accommodation group is looking towards some exciting developments as it strengthens its coverage of Australia. Golden Chain Motor Inns, with more than 340 properties, says its achievements have been based on providing value for money to property owners as well as generating a brand that can be associated with quality accommodation. Stephen Drew, general manager of Golden Chain, says the Golden Chain brand has strong recognition among tourists and business travellers and this would be a key factor in its success in the future. Golden Chain is very serious about Internet Marketing; with studies showing as much as 40% of all bookings derived from customers looking and booking, on the net. As Australia’s largest motel group, our challenge is to market and sell for a diverse spread of property types and destinations. To improve our members’ results we have redeveloped our website to include more pictures, descriptions, map mash-ups and even video.

and reputation of the brand and Golden Chain says it has many loyal travellers seeking accommodation in both areas. With over 340 motels throughout the nation, Golden Chain has more than 8,000 room nights available every day of the week, which means 8,000 people being referred throughout the network. Golden Chain says this referral business is the best and cheapest from of advertising, allowing member funds to go towards other forms of promotion. That’s also the reason the group has a tiny office support operation, employing just 6 people. The group says that means member contributions are kept to a minimum and 80% of those fees go towards promotion of the group.

“Dura Fleece” Australia’s No. 1 Fleece Blanket has just got better!

Naturally, website optimisation is massively important to maximize search engine results. We optimise to increase traffic to our main website and we take steps to pass value on to our members’ websites to create a holistic strategy which tries to place our members at the top for all relevant searches. Our website helps guests to quickly find and qualify the best accommodation for their needs and then gives them simple options to make bookings. We provide guests with live availability and pricing (bookings are commission free) as well as links to our member’s website and toll free reservations numbers that are a direct connect with the property.

Cross-feeding of properties - from the city to the regions and vice versa - builds the standing

“Dura Fleece” is a proven performer and it has been laundered and thoroughly tested by a number of major Hotels and Resorts, producing excellent results in every case. Unlike similar ‘Fleece Style’ Blankets this product undergoes a special ‘Anti Pill’ process to ensure the Blanket does not look shabby after a few washes and the pile always remains in the original condition.

Special features of “Dura Fleece” are

• • • • • • • • •

400 gsm quality Stylish Colours Anti-Pill Finish Fully washable Durable, Robust Warm 100% Polyester Heavy duty Stitching No fragile Satin bindings

“Dura Fleece”, Australia’s leading Fleece Blanket has been keeping Accommodation guests warm and comfortable for many years now. Major Hotels and Property owners who have experienced “Dura Fleece” keep coming back because of the durability, ease of laundering, stylish colours and affordability of this proven product.

HotelHome Australia

1800 HOTELHOME (1800-468-354)

Golden Chain is also deriving its message of “quality not quantity” into key markets such as Sydney were it is establishing a stronger presence to meet the demands of travellers. The group remains focused on the philosophy when it was founded 25 years ago of being “the best, not necessarily the biggest” and it is this message that has hit a chord with moteliers across Australia.

Hotel Blankets do not need to be boring in colour. “Dura Fleece” has added style to Hotel Blankets by increasing the colour range to include the very latest palette of colour, which will suit all properties both traditional and contemporary.

www.hotelhome.com.au

email : sales@hotelhome.com.au New phone number for free calls 1800 HOTELHOME (1800-468-354)

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mo Product News Water Quality Update By Brett Alexander www.poolbits.com.au

Councils around NSW are starting to enforce stricter guidelines when it comes to testing recreational water as set down by the NSW department of Heath.

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here’s a dilemma on the horizon for NSW Motel, Hotel, Gym, Swimming School and Hydrotherapy owners regarding stricter guidelines for public recreational swimming Pools and Spas, most NSW Councils are imposing mandatory Water Quality Testing as outlined below. Don’t think for a second that this dilemma is an isolated NSW case, our Federal Government is also aiming to have the entire National Pool Industry bound by the one uniformed Licensing Code. An example of these conditions are set out below, I’ve outlined the most common tests using extracts from the NSW Health guidelines for recreational swimming Pools and Spas, for individual requirements visit www.health.nsw.gov. au the guideline is very informative dealing with every aspect of running a public Swimming Pool or Spa. Suitable testing apparatus shall be used to ensure accurate results. Fresh reagents tablets sealed in foil, Reagent Strip’s and Drop’s stored in accordance with manufacturers specifications should be purchased just prior to the swimming season or at least once a year. The test methodology specified by the manufacturer of the testing apparatus should be strictly followed. Liquid testing reagents must be stored in sealed containers. NB: Test kits using ortho-tolidine as a reagent to determine chlorine or bromine have been withdrawn from sale because of the carcinogenic properties of the reagent. NB: Plastic, Perspex Kit’s or Test Strips known as “4 in 1” or “5 in 1” are not suitable for testing public swimming and spa pools. The following test methods are considered suitable using Digital Photometric or Colorimetric methods using DPD reagents then recorded on appropriate logging stationary. Chlorine/Total Chlorine/ Bromine/ pH/ Polyhexamethylene biguanide (“baquacil® oxidizor”) is a disinfectant and a preservative used

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for disinfection on skin and in cleaning solutions and used in Spas. (for more information go to taxidermy.net) will be measured at opening then once every 2 hours during daily operation. Total Alkalinity / Ozone (Note: This testing method is still under development as chlorine and bromine may interfere with the result but now can be tested efficiently with an Exact Micro 7+ photometer.) According to Australian Standards considerable reduction in levels of chlorine may be applied when using this method of sanitization. All once a Day. Cyanuric Acid/Total Dissolved Solids/Turbidity/ Bacteriological Sampling (First 2 months). All once a Week Bacteriological Sampling (Second 2 months) once a Month. The most important line of defence to prevent the spread of recreational water illness and to protect any facility from the damaging effects of contaminated water is to maintain proper water chemistry. As mentioned all above methods of testing evolve around the use of Digital Photometric or Colorimetric methods if you need advice or consultation on further developments, types of testing apparatus, treating or designing a test program please contact brett@poolbits.com.au n

The main difference between the Electroheat Subzero and Waterco’s Electroheat heat pumps is the inclusion of an automatic hot gas de-icing function. When ice forms on the evaporator, the Electroheat Subzero’s refrigeration pipe configuration is automatically reconfigured to allow hot gas to melt the ice off its evaporator; the Electroheat Subzero then reverts back to heating your pool with maximum efficiency. Electroheat Subzero heat pumps will heat your pool even when the ambient air temperature is below freezing point (0°C). Electroheat Subzero’s LED control panel features a continuous digital pool temperature display and incorporates a self diagnosis system. In the event of a problem, the control panel will display diagnostic error codes. Electroheat Subzero also features an option to switch from POOL to SPA mode automatically via an external water pressure switch or manually via a remote control. The Electroheat Subzero is protected by an array of built-in safety devices: • • •

Electroheat Subzero

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Auto defrost control to eliminate frost on the evaporator. Auto flow switch to shutdown the system in the event of no water flow. High / Low pressure refrigerant auto reset to shutdown the system in the event of low or high refrigerant pressure. Compressor protection via a time delay to allow the refrigerant to equalise before the compressor starts/restarts.

he latest advancement in swimming pool heating, Electroheat Subzero heat pumps extracts latent heat from the surrounding air, intensifies it and transfers it to your swimming pool.

Electroheat Subzero’s are powered by Scroll compressors, the most powerful, energy

Electroheat Subzero uses refrigeration technology to extract heat from the surrounding air and transfers it to the swimming pool. Electroheat Subzero heat pumps only require electrical energy to operate a compressor and a fan motor, using low amperage in the process. The Electroheat produces over 4 times more heat energy than the electrical power it consumes.

Electroheat Subzero heat pumps are equipped with Titanium heat exchangers, which have a longer life expectancy than standard copper heat exchangers. Titanium offers total protection against erosion and corrosion, it is resistant to: chlorinated water, ozone, iodine, Baquacil, bromine and salt water.

Compared to gas and electric heaters, Electroheat Subzero uses just a fraction of the energy to generate the same amount of heat and unlike solar heating; there is no reliance on the sun as the latent heat in the air is used. Generally swimming pool heat pump evaporators ice once ambient temperatures drop below 10°C, which negatively impacts on its heating performance.

efficient compressors on the market and most importantly they are also the quietest.

The exclusive design of the Electroheat Subzero’s heat exchanger creates an unmatched and powerful heat transfer source. Surface area contact with the heat exchanger is maximised by effectively circulating the pool water though its condenser tubes Electroheat Subzero has an extra large evaporator allowing it to extract more heat from the outside air maximising the heat pump’s performance and efficiency.Its cabinet is constructed of heavy-duty UV-resistant proof ABS body panels that are impervious to rust, corrosion and deterioration.


The Australian Motel Owners' Journal 11_1  

The Australian Motel Owners’ Journal is designed to help educate and inform its readers, featuring topics such as housekeeping, building mai...

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