Motel Property Manager

This is the first article in my “A Day in the Life of… ” series covering different Property Management positions. After having filled these type positions myself in numerous localities, I find the urge to pass on some of my experiences to those, either considering such positions in their upcoming plans, or as a comparison to those already having filled similar positions.

I would start with the statement that there will be a wide disparity in just what goes on for a Motel Manager….with respect to whether the Motel is run by a “Mom & Pop” or single owner on the one end …or a larger corporate chain on the other end.

So, having said that, my experience was right about in the “middle” with a small West Coast chain of about 30 or so motels. We had a reservation system run by our “home office” and they also took care of much of our accounting functions so that helped a lot. We were hired as a couple (husband & wife) and we usually started each day working the “day shift” (7am to 3pm).

First, we made sure the housekeeping staff showed up and got the rooms “turned over” as people checked out. Then, we saw that any needed maintenance items were taken care of, along with the landscape work which was usually done by a contract service. Then we would usually end up taking care of early check-ins, and by 3pm, would be looking for the afternoon/evening desk clerk to show up and take over. Once your clerk made it, you could start relaxing. Usually at this point you could try to get some errands done, do some shopping or get supper ready. You MUST, however, keep your cell phone handy in case your desk clerk has a question or problem (they usually do, unless you’re fortunate enough to have an experienced veteran). Then, the evening is yours. Again, KEEP the cell phone handy!

AT 11pm, you approach another “hurdle”. Does your “Night Auditor/Desk Clerk” show up? If so, you’re all set and should only have to answer a few questions related to “getting through the night audit” or perhaps a late check-in/customer issue!? If your night auditor doesn’t show up, you will have to cover that shift, as well as your regular one coming up in the morning.

Now, admittedly, in my time as a Motel Manager, I have only had to “stand in” for “no shows” on a handful of occasions. So I don’t want to shed an undue concern over that, but it does happen often enough to bring it up and to make one aware of those matters. A lot will depend on your employee hiring and training practices.

All-in-all, I made a lot of friends during my time as a Motel Manager with many “interesting” memories.
To anyone liking people and not afraid of a bit of work now and then, Motel management can be a rewarding challenge.