The general public perceives motels as a destination for truckers and prostitutes but in reality the owners have contracts with large construction firms, oil refineries, and the county social services department.
It changes the way that they’re designed. For example, if they had been designed for families then they would have a family diner onsite, a gated swimming pool, a lot of twin size beds, rooms that connect to each other with interior doors, and ADA compliant bathrooms and safety features. However, they’re not designed for families; they’re designed for construction workers and they have a completely different set of housing needs. For example, they don’t bring their kids and so there’s no need for twin size beds or a shallow swimming pool, and they work long hours and so they don’t time have to use the gym.
When there are large construction crews from one company then they barbecue steak in the parking lot and so I would recommend dedicating an area for a permanent built-in barbecue smoker and picnic table. Barbecues are usually prohibited because they’re a fire hazard but that problem can be solved by building it twenty feet away from the building.
Their jobs require manual labor which seems to indicate that they are not disabled and therefore they don’t need ADA compliant bathrooms. With that said, the larger showers and wider doors and walkways are more comfortable and so it makes sense to build the rooms that way anyway. Also, motels are required by law to have a certain number of ADA compliant rooms. They do receive a few disabled guests, mainly during the holidays, and so the rooms are truly needed.
Many construction workers smoke a lot which creates the need for a designated smoking area outside that is far away from the building. Without it they smoke while standing in their doorways, letting the smoke waft into their rooms and through others’ windows. I recommend a covered bench twenty feet away from the building. It could double as the barbecue pit but those who barbecue may not smoke and so they would have to be separate areas.
Female housekeepers are sexually harassed or at least propositioned by male guests. One such guest checked out of the motel but he remained in the vicinity and he continued to harass the housekeeper until she filed for a restraining order against him. She quit her job and then the manager hired a male housekeeper to replace her.
Female guests who are alone always become targets. If there is a horny idiot anywhere in the building he’ll notice the women who are alone and he’ll watch them, their rooms and their cars. There are security cameras everywhere and so they won’t do anything illegal but they may try to talk to her through her window or leave a note on her door to ask her to visit them in their rooms. They’re shameless creeps.
For that reason motels are bad places for women to stay but there are a few things that the property owners can do. For example, instead of installing one window for each room that faces the parking lot and the main road, it would be smart to install the windows on the backside of the building that faces an unpaved green area that does not have a walkway or stepping stones. That would discourage guys from being anywhere near her window. It would also reduce noise from the road.
Additionally, there is a different safety problem which is even more important. The county’s social services department has contracts with motels to create temporary housing for homeless people which includes their mentally ill clients who border on being a danger to themselves and everyone else.
Mentally ill guests become extremely disruptive. For example, one may slam his or her glass shower door over and over again at 3 am. They also injure themselves and so there is a certain amount of liability involved. For example, there was a man who stabbed his eye with a broom handle.
With that said, it’s necessary for motels to provide temporary housing for this population while their social workers search for permanent housing. Also, motels profit from these arrangements. Social services may send them three such guests (occupying three separate rooms) and they may stay for a month.
For safety reasons it would be wise to give them the room that’s located next to the office where there are staff at all times and security cameras. However, managers put them as far away from the office as possible to hide them from the other guests. One possible solution would be to build a room next to the office that has a door that faces the backside of the building, with a private patio that does not have a view into the other guests’ rooms.
In addition to safety issues there is also some property damage, as this population is more likely to smoke inside of a non-smoking room and to burn holes in the bedding, which means that management will have to find inexpensive bedding that can be easily replaced. They also don’t turn on the exhaust fan in the bathroom after they take a shower which puts the room at risk for mold, which means that the property owner will have to hire an electrician to wire the fan so that it will turn on automatically when one turns on the light. I wouldn’t install glass anywhere, not even glass shower doors. If they’re not allowed to have a shower curtain than I would create a “shower room” which means tiling the entire floor with textured nonslip ceramic tile and tile all of the walls up to five feet high. That way they can splash water everywhere and it won’t cause any damage.
During the holidays in November and December the construction crews and oil refinery workers go home and the motels receive an influx of vacationers who are visiting relatives in town. It’s the only time of year when the majority of the guests are families and they pay for their rooms out of their own pockets.
For those who want to buy a motel, please remember to research the future projections for the local area. Do not rely on the seller’s financial statements that show a profit in the past. The reason is because the local area may have had an enormous real estate development project that required construction crews who occupied the motels, and those projects are nearly finished which means that the construction crews will leave soon.
Oil fields are notorious for that problem. For example, the oil boom in Williston, North Dakota created an extreme housing shortage and so real estate developers built new motels and hotels there, which stayed at full occupancy. They may still, I don’t know because I haven’t looked at it since 2013. However, someday oil companies will stop building new oil wells in the Bakken Shale oil development and most of the workers will lose their jobs and move away. There will still be oil refineries in the area and they will need motels for temporary workers from time to time, but not nearly to the same extent. It’s only a matter of time until those motels will lose the contracts that have been keeping them booked. The current owners are probably already thinking about when they should sell. When they do they’ll promise prospective buyers that the motel will make huge profits and show them their financial statements to prove that it has been profitable for a long time, and they will NOT mention that their customer base is diminishing and that the future may be grim.