The travel industry includes a large number of businesses that facilitate or provide accommodations for people who are away from home. Accommodations include hotels, motels, vacation rentals and hostels. The types of accommodation vary in price, amenities and location. Some are more suitable for business travelers, while others are better suited for leisure travellers or families.
Generally speaking, hotels have more amenities than motels and offer a higher level of service. Hotels often have concierges, bellhops, valets, chefs and housekeeping staff. Motels, on the other hand, may only have receptionists. In addition, some hotels have special rooms for extended stays (such as suites or efficiency apartments). Some have whirlpool tubs, and are marketed to honeymooners or couples looking for romance. Other hotels have guest laundry facilities and restaurants, or provide room service.
Motels tend to be more budget-friendly than hotels. They typically don’t have as many rooms, and are usually located in suburban areas or on the edge of metropolitan areas. Most are accessible by car, although some are also located within walking distance of public transportation or airports. Hotel rooms can range in size, from small to extremely large. They can also have different amenities, such as flat screen TVs, robes, mini-bars and premium channels. Some even have a spa in the bathroom.
Hotel rooms are rated by star systems. These are sometimes regulated by government authorities, or by hotel associations and chains. In other cases, hotels simply assign their own ratings at will. In either case, these are an indication of the quality of a given hotel or room.
Both hotels and motels are available at a wide variety of prices, depending on the amenities they provide, their location and the time of year. Prices are usually higher during the summer, when many travelers visit resorts and other destinations with warm weather.
Many hotels are members of organizations such as the Leading Hotels of the World, which performs inspections and compares member hotels against set standards. The hotels are then rated by the organization on a scale of one to five stars, and by package tour companies or other independent rating services. Hotels can also use multiple brands to sell rooms at different prices and to reach niche markets. For example, a full-service hotel can launch a “budget” or “econo” brand to enter the economy limited-service market. Similarly, a hotel with an overall three-star rating can also be promoted as a four or five-star property. This is a way for a hotel to differentiate itself from competitors. However, it can confuse customers.