It is a big world, and people need to be able to stay somewhere away from home now and then. Why shouldn’t you be the one to benefit? As evil schemes go, keeping a place of accommodation is a small niche specialty which has its ardent fans, who point out that this is the one place where the personal touch predominates — the sudden swift dispatch in the night, the disappearance under odd circumstances for weeks or even years — as well as a vital part of the evil villain’s cultural heritage. Practically in no other sphere of evilcraft does one find the victims paying good money to enter your base of operations, where they willingly strip themselves naked, turn out the light, and climb into a strange bed in a room next to complete strangers. Some practitioners of this evil art have tallied quite impressive totals of victims gradually over time to rival even those of some military conquerors, and need defer to no one in the blackness of their hearts. Although we have all experienced hotel and motel stays of some form ourselves, the view from the other side of the counter is usually an unfamiliar one which we will attempt to sketch out for our ill-meaning readers hoping to break in to the business.
- Location. Rarely can you rely upon your establishment to draw willing guests in by itself as a hotel. Perhaps if it has a notorious past or was associated with a historical character with a compelling story, you might be able to entice the curious to visit, for a time. But if you can locate even an unassuming house of lodging in proximity to some tourist draw you might be able to count on a steady stream of visitors.
- Facilities. Depending on how covert you want to keep your nefarious work and how long you plan to operate your place of hospitality, you may elect for a modest cookie-cutter exterior or a grand tortured edifice that screams madness and unnatural inclinations. Besides cramped and miserable guest rooms and a sterile main lobby you may also have grand and secluded function rooms, “physical culture” areas for the active guest, places for young children to receive special attention, legitimate-sounding tourist services, a so-called eating and/or drinking establishment with more or less questionable fare, or nearly any other kind of sideline imaginable depending on your bankroll.
- Staffing. Once the physical structure has been put up your main expenses will be for the labor required to maintain the guest rooms, common areas, and physical plant of your hotel. The work is for the most part backbreaking and foul, so your employees will expect to be paid low wages as well, unless you are planning to use conscripts or the undead instead in which case you can eliminate that cost entirely. Be strict about the indignities and cruelties each one is expected to inflict in the course of doing their duties, but allow them some freedom for personal dishonesty in fleecing the guests in order to maintain morale.
- Reputation. Since you cannot rely on either repeat business or favorable word of mouth, deceptive advertising and other public relations measures are essential. Pitch your place to the down and out, the very stupid, hormone-ravaged pre-teens, escaping felons, cheating spouses, and other key market segments, being creative about the places where an unwary eye might fall upon an ad of yours.
Strokes of genius
- First impressions. The impression that your hotel or motel makes in the first ten seconds are what dictate the way in which the guest will perceive it for all time, including the demeanor of the front desk staff, the furnishings and degree of hygiene in the guest room, the sounds they can make out when creeping through the hallways. Even if all you intend is to instill a sense of squalor and unease, the calculated little touches make all the difference in how well you bring this off.
- Conventions. It is a delight simply to imagine the mischief one might wreak upon an unsuspecting throng of innocent businessfolk, ranging from the subtle to the outrageous. If you plan to make this a key part of your operation, designate a minion to serve as convention sales manager, one who possesses the necessary traits of efficiency, ruthlessness, and stealth along with an MBA. Remember that if you want to keep this type of thing going for the long run, you must avoid the temptation toward greed and be instead keenly selective as to your targets in each show, to avoid discovery.
- Attractions. If you cannot rely on your surroundings to generate steady traffic to your area, you can also arrange to drum up excitement on the part of the public on your own. The kinds of enterprises which are known to exist synergistically with a hotel include the following:
- Bed and breakfast. These popular little guesthouses are perfect for those who have a modest need for fresh clientele to participate in their unadvertised areas of interest down in the laboratory, crypt, or dungeon. Do not take the handle too literally — if the guest is unlikely to resurface, the “and breakfast” part may remain purely theoretical in nature.
Traps for mere fools
- The competition. If you get too focussed upon how much profit you turn on the rooms themselves, trying to stay ahead of the other establishments in your area, you run the risk of losing sight of the real reasons you are maintaining the hotel as a front for your other schemes. Steal a page from the book used by the good guy and try presenting an affable persona to these other hotels, even sending them paying guests when you are too annoyed or too suspicious to take that business yourself. With some luck, you will be successful enough to give them what’s coming to them in the fulness of time anyway.
- Local authorities. Most vile activities cannot avoid leaving some slight trace of their presence, to one who is looking for clues. It is essential to bring the law to tow so that it will work on your behalf ideally or at least turn a blind eye to the rumors that will sprout up. Popular means of subversion include blackmail, infiltration, or the most popular: graft. Do not by any means neglect the local media in this thorough campaign.
- Plucky teenagers. Though these can often be turned aside with nothing more than a six-pack of beer.
- Deadbeat alien bounty hunters.
Precious and needful
- Zombie cleaning staff.
- Computerized reservation system. Ensure that it goes down the industry-standard of three times a night minimum.
- Lighted marquee. Bearing the ironic name of your hotel and a creepy slogan.
- Magic Fingers.
- Extra guest towels. You cannot trust the guests not to rip these off no matter how hard you will try.
- Fire axe. Keep it with the red rum.
- Supernatural presences. Specially coached to manifest themselves at the point of maximum horror.
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- Image credit warning dangerous structure please keep clear by limonada
- Image credit September.2008 by andendquote
- Image credit railing shadow by SnaPsi Сталкер
- Image credit good night little boy by <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/ro_buk/">ro_buk I'm not there</a>
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