As Motel 6 continues to grow rapidly by about 70 properties a year, the brand hopes to strike a balance between its company-owned and franchised locations. That’s why starting in September, Motel 6/Studio 6 will combine management and subsidiary training, says Dean Savas, senior vice president of franchising for Accor North America.
“We realize there’s got to be a synergy between the management and the infrastructure we have in place for our subsidiary properties and that which we have in place for our franchise properties, especially when it comes to field support,” he says. “Let’s face it. When you’re doing business in a geographic area in the market, it doesn’t matter whether that property is subsidiary or franchised, it’s about the brand and how is the brand approaching the market?”
Instead of subsidiary managers visiting franchise managers only on occasion for regional training, this pooling of resources and sharing of best practices will become a consistent effort across the board. “Any time you put entrepreneurs together with company-owned people, wonderful ideas come out of it,” Savas adds.
The initiative is to prevent Motel 6 from entering a similar trap that some of its competitors have fell victim to in the past because of inconsistency among franchisees, says Bernard Rudler, senior vice president of quality and procurement for Accor North America. Additional training and demonstration will yield more success.
As announced by Motel 6 in June, the redesigned training strategy will include a new online learning tool, iLearn@6, for team members. It’s impossible to do ongoing training in the field, Savas says, which is why they developed online modules that are accessible anywhere, 24 hours a day. The training platform features more than 200 professional development courses and certification programs designed for key roles. In addition, any franchisees that aren’t meeting the minimum standards will be required to complete online training. “We do believe in rehabilitation before termination,” Savas says.
To keep the brand strong and pure, Savas says the company needs to help franchisees understand that the Motel 6 business model works. “The key is to make sure that they understand through training, experience, and more training,” he says. “If you follow the business model, you will be very successful.”
That model does not include serving continental breakfast or providing free WiFi, but Savas says as the lowest price of any national chain, Motel 6 runs 10 or 15 percent higher occupancy than other brands in the economy segment. Ruddler adds that because Motel 6 doesn’t offer an amenity like free WiFi (even though it only costs $2.99 per day), they need to focus on other aspects like improving service at all properties.
With the amount of competition out there, Savas says everyone is vying for guests. The properties with staff members who “really care and are genuine about satisfaction are the ones that are going to succeed long term.”
— Megan Sullivan, Managing Editor, Lodging