The first Motel 6 still operates in Santa Barbara today

For more than fifty years Motel 6 has been “Leaving the Light on For You TM”. One of the most recognizable accommodation brands in the world, Motel 6’s story began when low-cost housing entrepreneurs William Becker and Paul Greene sought a way to break into the hotel market, particularly a way to compete with groups like the Hilton and Holiday Inn whose rates had been steadily increasing as more and more options and amenities were being offered. After examining the bare minimum of costs required to be covered to operate (land lease, building costs, cleaning/maintenance) the pair opened their first motel in Santa Barbara, with a room rate of only $6 per night. This made for easy branding, and the Motel 6 was born.

Brandon’s Motel 6

Over the following decades the functional, easier to clean, interior décor and no on-site restaurants, paired well with a “no-frills” experience. In the early days of television, for example, pay-per-use black and white televisions were used instead of free, included color TVs, allowing the team to keep variable costs, and therefore room rates, lower than other chains. While competition did increase in the 1980s with the precipitation of other budget chains (Super 8, Econolodge among others) Motel 6, with its established brand and low rates, maintained market share and was able to begin substantial expansion. In 1994 a move was made to commence franchising, and this allowed the chain to proliferate at an increased rate. The first Canadian Motel 6 opened in Burlington, Ontario in 2000, and by 2011 Brandon Manitoba had its location at 815 Middleton Avenue along the Trans-Canada highway.

The 89 guest rooms at the Brandon location include 15 kitchenette rooms. “The Motel 6 is one of the only properties in Brandon to offer the kitchenettes and long term stay opportunities.” General manager John Pearen says, “We continue to fill a void in that area for budget accommodation with a contemporary feel.” The property also offers a meeting room with a capacity up to 20 people, perfect for that mid-size board meeting or client conference you’ve been looking for a space to host. 

Sustainability has become a heavy focus in the hospitality industry in recent years, and the challenge of updating rooms to a greener system while maintaining a low price-point provided initial challenges. Having said that, the long-term impact of updates including high efficiency toilets and heating/cooling units and using eco friendly materials have allowed the chain to do just that.

In keeping with modern times Motel 6 has also launched an app that allows guests to locate the nearest Motel 6 to them, and book right from their phone.

Pearen also spoke to some of the reasons that managing an accommodation property in Brandon is so enjoyable. “The opportunity to be part of the Brandon community and take part in events that make Brandon special” he says is what he enjoys most about doing business in this city.

He notes that while hoteliers are arguably a major factor of the event tourism Brandon First strives to enhance, Brandon has a number of unique offerings for event hosts in a city of our modest size. “The city of Brandon is unique in its location, as the second largest city in Manitoba, [and] the Keystone Centre [which is] nationally known for it’s facilities and events held here.” He goes on to add “The public attitude in Brandon and willingness of a great volunteer pool, to ensure we put our best foot forward for each event takes us a step ahead of other cities in Manitoba.”

Managing a location that is part of the largest hotel chain in North America, clocking in with over 105,000 rooms across the continent, Pearen recognizes that the room nights generated by events held here are a big business driver. That knowledge drove a continued desire to partner with Brandon First. “It is very important as a business owner/operator to support Brandon First,” he says, “The work they do ensures Brandon and Westman as a whole are recognized as an event center. Every dollar spent as a stakeholder returns multifold to our business’ and creates employment opportunities for our youth and new citizens.” It is with that feedback in mind that Brandon First works every day to bring the best, hotel room filling events to our community, not just as great things for our citizens to enjoy, but to drive that economic machine forward and contribute new dollars to our city’s economy.

To book accommodations at the Motel 6 for you next stay for an event happening in Brandon, you can download the aforementioned app, go online to or give them a call at 204-726-4000.