Dunedin Palms Motel | The people have voted and it’s a winner

Alex and Karen Greenan are very proud of the fact that after only four years of owning the Dunedin Palms Motel they are a Loved by Guests award winner (online travel agents).

Alex was originally a motor mechanic and for 15 years, Karen worked as a secretary at Otago Medical School. She reckons that some of the skills she accumulated there prepared her for the enormous amount of computer work required to run the motel.

After finishing work as a mechanic, Alex then bought and developed a series of studio rooms around the inner city, which they still have to this day. He laughs when he looks back. “I thought this would, in some way, prepare me for being a motelier, but really, this is a whole new career and it’s only now, after four years that I feel I’ve completed my apprenticeship.”

What the couple share is a willingness to embrace a new challenge and it’s been all that and more.

Dunedin Palms is a 4.5-star motel, with ample parking and is just a seven-minute stroll to the inner city. This makes it easy for visitors wanting to explore Dunedin’s historic hub before returning to relax in the motel’s luxurious environment.

Alex and Karen are passionate Dunedin-ites who enjoy telling others about their home town and its many attractions. Karen says, “Dunedin is famous for its historic buildings, some dating back to the 1860s. A visit to The Octagon is a must and Dunedin’s railway station is one of the most photographed

in the southern hemisphere. There are also spectacular cycle trails that run from the inner city all the way to Port Chalmers. Since the Christchurch earthquake, we really appreciate what we’ve got here.”

Alex has discovered that motel management is complex. “You don’t realise how 24/7 it is until you do it. Everything has to be constantly maintained to the highest standard and at the same time, ensure our guests are happy. We have 27 rooms and eight staff; in the first year we did everything ourselves but soon learned we’d buckle under the workload if we didn’t employ staff. When we first started, our children were young – Jordie was 11 and Jessica 14 – so it was a full-on existence for our family.”

Thanks to modern technology, Dunedin Palms Motel has a good social media presence; with the help of a technically savvy staff member, it has profile through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.

Attending an ANZ bank presentation on Xero run by Markhams was a real game changer for the Greenans. “I learned a lot and soon realised how much time it could save us. Interestingly, we had been using Xero business and accounting software, but hadn’t fully realised its potential until Markhams taught us how,” says Karen.

That was two years ago, and with the help of Markhams Otago director, Barry O’Donnell and associate, Paula McKay, Karen and Alex are confident they are on the right track.

“It’s definitely eased the burden,” says Alex. “It’s made us more efficient and freed us up so we can spend more time working on the motel, instead of being stuck in the back office. Karen is very artistic and loves painting (her art graces many of the motel walls) so now she has more time to do that. All in all, we haven’t looked back – Markhams is a godsend.”

Adds Karen, “Whenever I have a query, Paula is always there to help. In fact, Markhams office is literally a stone’s throw away from the motel. How handy is that?”

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