Motels doing it tough

Motels doing it tough

Michelle Majcherzak and her husband, Kristian, have had the leasehold of Cunningham Shore Motel for the past seven years and have never experienced anything like 2020.

The bushfires affected all Lakes Entrance motels when the evacuation call came. But most thought, when they were contained, it would be back to business and a good Easter would go a long way to recovering.

Between February and March the town was full of well meaning visitors who brought their cash with them and spent. No one could have predicted the dire situation the country would face.

“It has definitely been the toughest year yet, we were going along reasonably well until the fires and COVID-19,” Michelle said.

“Travel bans on overnight stays have been tough but are finally being lifted, so we hope things will pick up in our industry.

“Many older Australians travel at this time of year and Lakes Entrance is half way between Melbourne and the coastal towns of New South Wales. We have been missing these bookings and even the grey nomads who usually travel to Queensland for winter, many would spend a few days in Lakes on their way.”

Michelle understands travel restrictions were needed but feels it is now time to look to the future and open the borders.

“New South Wales has had the worst outcomes with coronavirus but are being progressive in the opening up of their economy,” she said.

“The overnight stay restrictions being looked at will hopefully make a real difference.

“Many people come to Lakes Entrance to visit family but don’t stay with them. They need motels, they are not going to travel four hours and four hours back for a day visit.”

It is financially challenging for all motels as they solely get their income from one source.

“We can’t adapt our business to takeaway like a cafe or restaurant and still have some income coming in,” Michelle said.

Motel owners who only have the leasehold have had to negotiate rent relief with their landlords.

“It took us six weeks to negotiate but reached an outcome that is fair on both sides,” Michelle said.

On top of the worries of their business the Majcherzaks have been supervising the home schooling of their grade five and year seven children.

“Not being a teacher, that has been a lot of work,” Michelle said.

“I have had to re-teach myself to show them how to do different things.”

The children will return to school on June 9 and are eager to do so.

“They miss the face-to-face contact with their teachers plus the contact with their classmates,” Michelle said.

IMAGE: Michelle Majcherzak and her husband, Kristian, who have had the leasehold of Cunningham Shore Motel, have never experienced anything like what 2020 has offered.