It always pays to do plenty of research before going into a new business or occupation.
For Best Western owner Danny Marwood, that involved staying in regional Victorian hotels and motels three to four nights a week.
At the time he was installing modular school buildings across the state. So he got to see a lot of properties and a lot of Victoria.
What did he learn? “They were packed with corporates like me during the week,” he said.
And that was something he never forgot. So, when he and wife Natalie were looking for a business opportunity a few years later, those crowded motels were front of mind.
“I said, ‘let’s do this’ – and, after 12 months of looking for the right property, they did and now own and run the Best Western Plus Ballarat Suites.
It’s close to the major attraction of Sovereign Hill and a short drive to the CBD. “We bought the newest one in town – this is exactly where we’re meant to be.”
Danny says moving into hospitality has been a fantastic move for the family, which includes their children Sienna, 6, and Quinn, 8.
“They have pretty much grown up in the motel, which is very much a family operated business.
“We used to live on site until a few months ago and recently employed full-time managers, which has allowed us to spend more time with the kids, who have grown up thinking everyone’s parents work together like Natalie and I do.”
In fact, the couple met through work. Danny was running a landscaping business and employed Natalie, a qualified horticulturalist. You could say that love bloomed.
“We broke both rules: 1) never get romantically involved with a workmate and 2) never work with your partner.”
But rules are made to be broken, and in this case everything’s worked out fine. “We’re really compatible and work well together.”
The couple enjoy the industry and the people they meet.
“Every motelier would say they could write a book about the characters you meet in this job – owning and running a motel broadens your insight into life, put it like that.”