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How To Increase Hotel Revenues - From A to Zehnder's

Updated on October 21, 2015

Changes In Consumer Markets

Hotels and motel chains in the Midwest have often offered weekly rates in order to attract vacationers away from bed and breakfast establishments and costlier accommodations. Independent accommodations owners have begin to offer weekly rates as well.

In her controversial book Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America, author Barbara Ehrenreich portrayed a single, female minimum-income worker in an experiment in which she worked for minimum wage or just above it for a year. During this time, she needed a place to live in the varied cities in which she worked. After exhausting other options, she could afford a weekly rate in a few cheap motels. Over a decade into the future in 2010, many have lost their homes and apartments in the recession and homeless shelters are full of unemployed and underemployed individuals and families. Increasingly, workers are living by the week in a series of hotels and motels.

A play of Nickel and Dimed has been written and produced by Joan Holden. For a review of the play in Los Angeles see CurtainUp Los Angeles Review.

In the face of dwindling numbers of guests and the need for longer-term dwelling sites, some motel chains have begun to offer a monthly discounted rate as well, in order to improve business revenues rather than to close their doors in certain cities. A specific number of long-term rooms are designated for weekly and monthly discounts.

The Ponchatrain of Detroit, Michigan.
The Ponchatrain of Detroit, Michigan.

Elvis Parody - Return to Zehnder's

A to Zehnder's

Newer American hotel and motel chains that began in the 20th and 21st centuries have a harder time in 2010 in increasing revenues in the face of oil spills, natural gas explosions, airline rate hikes, border problems, etc. Older establishments and older chains have discovered ways of maintaining customer base and and attracting new traffic.

Zehnder's of Frankenmuth has succeeded in the Accommodations and Dining Industry since 1856. One draw is the all-you-can-eat fried chicken family-style dinners that cause patrons to line up outside around the building!

While this feature is a bit expensive to produce, the price to the consumer is not high. This encourages diners to spend additional dollars in the gift shops and pastry store on site in take-home prizes from their visit. They may eat all of their meals at Zehnder's during the rest of their vacations.

Location and Coordination

One hotel made a profitable business choice by building a unit beside Bronner's Christmas Store at 25 Christmas Lane in Frankenmuth, Michigan. The Christmas store is busy all year long with all the holiday sales and a range of religious faiths represented in their wares.

The hotel added an indoor water park, Zehnder's Splash Village , that draws quests who want to spend more than one day at Bonner's and to travel the few blocks' distance downtown into Frankenmuth on State Route 83. There, they find attractions in a German themed town that entertains visitors all year. One of the attractions is the large Zehnder's Restaurant with its famous fried chicken, lower level pastry shop, and gift shops.

Many people spend several days in the hotel near Bronner's on vacation, for Christmas shopping, and for events like the Oldies Palooza sponsored by 96 WHNN Radio at Frankenmuth High School in its large outdoor theater hollow..The Zehnder hotel and Bronner's sit at one entrance to Frankemuth and share patronage, encouraging guests to make use of each other's services.

Zehnder's in Frankenmuth is a large restaurant complex built in 1856 and restyled to resemble Mount Vernon, President George Washington's home.

The building operates 10 dining rooms and seats 1500 people. Dinners include all-you-can-eat fried chicken and many others, with children's portions available. A wonderful bakery and cafe are located in the basement sections, along with a gift shop..

Zehnder's Annual Snowfest

Virtual Tour of Frankenmuth

Nearby Treats

Located behind Bronner's on Weiss Street is the Michigan's Own Military and Space Museum , Grandpa Tiny's Farm , and the Jellystone Camp Resort . Along Route 83, visitors find Zehnder's complex, several horse drawn carriages, a large welcome center, a huge clock tower with life sized figures that portray old stories, shops, eateries,an old restored mill, and additional hotels.

The town library is located very near, a few block off Route 83 and is very well appointed with free Internet stations, a good selection of reading and research materials, a teen lounge section, and comfortable reading armchairs. At the far end of the downtown area on Route 83 is a commercial complex on either side of the street. These venues include a grocery store, McDonald's, Tim Horton,s and other merchants. Thirty miles further along this route lies Bay City, Michigan with a variety of cultural, historical, shopping, and outdoor activities.

Elsewhere in the Midwest, hotels and motels collaborate with restaurants, shopping malls, museums, sports arenas, movie theaters, and other entertainment establishments to arrange Package Deals for travelers and holiday celebrants on a smaller scale than in Frankemuth.

Transylvania Tourism

A theme surrounding a geographic region and local lore helps drive business, in cooperation with local merchants and tours.
A theme surrounding a geographic region and local lore helps drive business, in cooperation with local merchants and tours.

Additional Approaches


Some hotels have been converted to Senior Citizen housing in the light of the aging population of America. One such facility is a National Historic Landmark that attracts tourists. This is the Breakers Hotel in Long Beach, California. In addition to senior housing, it offers a restaurant at the top floor, with panoramic view of the area: the Sky Room with jazz played by its own Sky Room Orchestra. Seniors living in the building enjoy this venue as much as do tourists.


Travelers are increasingly looking to the Sustainable Travel and Accommodations Industry for their needs. Sustainability is important in the public view and making moves to increae it in a hotel will draw additional business.  


Many travelers shop for accomodations online and an engaging video that shows the facility, individual room choices, and other features can convince potential guests to chose a particular hotel or motel.


Many hotels have increased revenues with convention and conference traffic and Package Deals involving tours..However, others have found additional revenue in renting large conference rooms to churches and clubs for meetings, church services, and events. Some have rented space to schools for special events, for overflow classrooms, and to companies for corporate training.


Martial arts competitions are sometimes held in some hotel ballrooms and can afford a hotel a large income. Similarly,. Music competitions, from state contests among high schools to Battle of the Bands events can bring in addition revenues through ticket sales, food sales in concessions and attached restaurant, and overnight quests.


Church revivals are held often in the summer, but also in the autumn. Hotels and motels partner with restaurants and offer out-of-town revival attendees Package Deals on accommodations and dining.


A targeted sales plan and a refreshed business plan with a market analysis will help to establish in which directions a hotel or motel should proceed for best increases in revenues.


The Golden North Hotel in  Skagway, Alaska; a Historic American Building (public domain). The Historical Register status can boost business.
The Golden North Hotel in Skagway, Alaska; a Historic American Building (public domain). The Historical Register status can boost business.

© 2010 Patty Inglish

Comments and Additions

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    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 6 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      The hotel industry and revenue is a fascinating subject. The laws of supply and demand are clearly at work. During the high season, most any price goes because of the limited supply, then as the season dwindles, the question becomes where is the floor.

      When obtaining a great deal on the hotel, don't forget all the fees and the parking - these can add up quickly and for one of my Naples, Florida trips, the fees and the parking were more than my room price!

      Fun videos too - love your work! Love the variety too! Thank you!

    • kimh039 profile image

      Kim Harris 7 years ago

      Thanks Patty. I wondered how the hospitality industry was doing. I know I travel much less than I used to. Good info. Well written, of course.

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      informative. Hotels/motels sell time. An empty room revenue cannot be "made up." It is similar to airline seats. When the plane leaves the ground, the lost revenue cannot be made up. The wisdom is to know the cost/benefit break point to accommodate rates vs. empty seats and/or rooms... Perhaps if they worked on selling the "benefits" to us we may become aware of the "utility" of using their rooms and deriving a unique benefit. Saving money is easy: stay at Motel 6. Saving money and enjoying the unique benefits is a challenge...

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish 7 years ago from North America

      @EnLydia! - Frankenmuth is really a lovely town that I enjoy stopping in about 4 times a year. I am glad to know a relative of the Zehnder's!

      @samsons1- thanks fery much for your comment.

      @Hello, hello - I think there are other ways I just haven't discovered as well! Thanks for your kind words. :)

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for your informative hub which helps a lot of people saving money. You really a good list together.

    • samsons1 profile image

      Sam 7 years ago from Tennessee

      very well written & researched, informative...

    • profile image

      EnLydia Listener 7 years ago

      That was cool seeing the title, since my maiden name is father was cousins with the Frankenmuth Zehnders and would spend his summers there.