The hotel industry is one of the most important components of the wider service industry, catering for customers who require overnight accommodation. It is closely associated with the travel industry and the hospitality industry, although there are notable differences in scope. In this article, you will learn more about the hotel industry, its links to those other service industry sectors, and the range of hotel and guest accommodation types that exist.

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Extra: The Impact of Corona Virus Epidemic on the Hotel Industry

What is a Hotel?

Broadly speaking, a hotel is a managed building or establishment, which provides guests with a place to stay overnight – on a short-term basis – in exchange for money. The precise features and services provided to guests can vary quite drastically from one hotel to another, and hotel owners generally aim to attract a particular type of customer through their pricing model and marketing strategy, or via the range of services they offer.

What is The Hotel Industry?

Next, it is important to answer the question: what is the hotel industry? Put simply, the hotel industry is the section of the service industry that deals with guest accommodation or lodgings. By most definitions, the hotel industry refers not only to hotels, but also to many other forms of overnight accommodation, including hostels, motels, inns and guest houses. However, it does not usually include long-term or permanent forms of accommodation.

Due to the nature of hotel services, it is closely associated with the travel and tourism industry.

The Difference Between the Hotel Industry and the Hospitality Industry

One common area of confusion relates to the difference between the hotel industry and the hospitality industry, with many people mistakenly believing the two terms refer to the same thing. However, while there is a cross-over, the difference is that the hospitality industry is broader in scope and includes multiple different sectors.

The hotel industry is solely concerned with the provision of guest accommodation and related services. By contrast, the hospitality industry is concerned with leisure in a more general sense. As a result, it covers accommodation, restaurants, bars, cafés, night-life and a number of travel and tourism services.

Different Types of Accommodation in the Hotel Industry

It is important to understand that the hotel industry is a catch-all term, used to describe services related to guest accommodation. With that in mind, it is worth noting that there are a variety of different accommodation types which fall under this umbrella term. Some of the main types are described in more detail below:


The most common type of accommodation in the hotel industry, a hotel is defined as an establishment that offers overnight accommodation, meals and other services. They are mainly aimed at travellers or tourists, although locals may also use them. Hotels provide private rooms, and almost always have en-suite bathrooms.

Bed and Breakfasts

Bed and breakfasts, or B&Bs, are smaller establishments, which offer guests private rooms for overnight stays, along with breakfast in the morning. Often, these establishments are converted from private homes and many B&B owners live in their property. While they are often a budget option, high-end or luxury B&Bs do also exist.


Motels are a form of overnight accommodation tailored towards motorists. For this reason, they are typically located conveniently by the roadside and offer ample free parking. A motel will generally have a number of guest rooms and may have some additional facilities, but will usually have fewer amenities than hotels.


‘Botel’ is the name given to a boat that has been adapted to offer hotel-style lodgings. Many botels are permanently moored riverboats, although others are converted ships, which are perfectly capable of travelling with guests onboard. They are especially popular in European cities with rivers or canals.


An inn is an establishment that provides temporary accommodation, usually along with food and drinks. Inns are smaller than hotels, and are closer in size to bed and breakfasts, although inns are often slightly larger. Guests are allocated private rooms and food options will usually include breakfast and dinner.


Resorts are commercial establishments, which will usually consist of a hotel and a variety of additional services and amenities, on-site. Guests will usually have access to lodgings, restaurants, bars, entertainment options, recreational activities and shops, which can all be accessed without leaving the premises.

Serviced Apartments

Popular among business travellers, serviced apartments are apartment-style lodgings, where guests benefit from a full range of services, such as room service, housekeeping and laundry services. Most serviced apartments also offer additional amenities, while the apartments themselves tend to be larger than most hotel rooms.


Often confused with hostels, a hostal is a form of accommodation, primarily found in Spanish-speaking regions. They resemble a budget hotel, offering either private bedrooms or apartments, while they may also have a bar, restaurant and/or café. Most hostals are family-owned and guests may sometimes share bathrooms with others.


A hostel is a form of accommodation, typically aimed at those on a budget, where multiple guests sleep in different beds in the same living space. Effectively, guests pay for a bed, rather than a private room, and hostels hold a particular appeal for those looking to meet new people. Guests will usually share kitchen and bathroom facilities.

Apartment Hotels

An apartment hotel is essentially an apartment building, which operates hotel-style services. It provides a similar experience to renting an apartment, albeit with the option to check-in and check out on-demand, rather than signing a fixed-term contract. These hotels will generally also provide basic housekeeping services.

Boutique Hotels

Often promoted on the basis of aspiration and luxury, boutique hotels are hotels that are situated within relatively small buildings. In most instances, they provide guests with upmarket rooms and high-quality services. Additionally, they often have a particular theme, and are commonly found in trendy, urban areas.

Condo Hotels

A condo hotel is a condominium building, which operates as a hotel, providing guests with the opportunity to rent a condominium unit for a short period of time. They are almost exclusively found in cities, are especially popular in the United States and combine the holiday home experience with hotel-style service features.

Eco Hotels

The basic definition of an eco-hotel is a hotel, which has specifically taken steps to embrace sustainable living practices, in order to minimise the environmental damage they are responsible for. They may prioritise the use of local products, adopt recycling measures, focus on energy saving and use sustainable bed linen and towels.

Guest Houses

Typically, a guest house is a private house, which has been converted for the specific purpose of providing guest lodgings. It is common for the guest area to be kept completely separate from another area, where the owner may live. Some guesthouses provide additional services, but many are operated on a self-service basis.

Holiday Cottages

A holiday cottage, also known as a holiday home, is simply a cottage or small house, which is left to people on a temporary basis, for holiday purposes. Essentially, a guest pays to use the property for a short period of time. They are especially common in the UK, US and Canada and a key advantage is the freedom they offer guests.


Pensions are a form of the guest house, which are very similar to bed and breakfasts, while providing more meals throughout the day. In most cases, guests have an option of different plans, such as full board, where they get breakfast, lunch and dinner, or half board, where they may get breakfast and dinner, without the lunch.

Pop-Up Hotels

A pop-up hotel is a name given to a hotel that is housed within a non-permanent structure. Typically, pop-up hotels exist for a short period of time only. They are most commonly associated with outdoor events, but pop-up hotels may also be established for a particular time of year, such as Christmas, or the summer.


Finally, roadhouses are relatively small establishments, which are situated next to a road, in order to attract passing customers. In some ways, they combine the features of a motel, B&B and inn. They will often offer a small number of private guest rooms, similar to a B&B, and may also have a restaurant and/or a bar.

Hotel industry - Quote Julia Sugarbaker

Significance of Star Ratings in the Hotel Industry

Within the hotel industry, star ratings are used to provide a measure of the quality of hotels. Although there is no international standard for defining what star ratings actually mean, the most popular version of this system is associated with the Forbes Travel Guide, where hotels are rated based on established criteria.

Star ratings carry huge significance within the hotel industry because so many customers take the time to research hotels before making a booking. Although word of mouth and feedback from other customers is important, star ratings can carry extra weight, because evaluators have experience with so many different properties.

The significance of hotel star ratings is further highlighted by the steps that those in the hotel industry take to achieve higher ratings, and this is for good reason. Moving up a star rating can help hotels to generate more bookings and charge higher rates while moving down can have the exact opposite effect.

You can learn more about how star ratings work, how they can influence customers, and view a breakdown of what each star rating means by reading “The Hotel Star Rating System: Types, Benefits, Significance, Examples”.

Hotel Marketing Trends and Strategies

Hotel marketing plays a crucial role in helping owners to maximise bookings and revenue. After all, it is the main way in which those in the hotel industry are able to reach out to potential guests, conveying their unique selling proposition, brand values and the reasons why guests should choose to stay with them. Do you want to learn more about hotel marketing? In the articles “The Latest Hotel Marketing Trends in the Hotel Industry” and “Essential Hotel Marketing Strategies” you find the latest hotel marketing trends and strategies.

Hotel Revenue Management

Hotel revenue management enables hotel owners to predict levels of demand and optimise things like distribution and pricing, in order to maximise financial results. In the article “What is Hotel Revenue Management?”, you will find out more about hotel revenue management, the reasons it is so valuable to hotel owners, and the necessary conditions for implementing a hotel revenue management strategy.

Hotel Technology Trends

Hotel technology has advanced in leaps and bounds during recent years. Not only are “smart” systems entirely prevalent, but guests can expect to enjoy more interactive experiences than ever before. In the article “The Latest Hotel Technology Trends” you find the latest hotel technology trends and what these might signify for the hotel industry as a whole.

Consumer Trends in The Hotel Industry

The world is moving faster than ever, as shifting social attitudes, new technologies, and economic and demographic changes all drive seismic shifts in the ways we live, do business and work. Nowhere is this more obvious than in hotel industry trends. Some hotel industry trends may come and go, while others become enduring features. It’s vital to stay on top of trends in order to reap the profits of early adoption. In the article “Hotel industry Trends: keep Up With The Latest Developments!” you find the latest movements.

Hotel Management

The hotel industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the 21st century. Hotel management plays a vital role in this industry and such a business comes with many responsibilities. Only the most qualified people can take on such roles so if you are ready for this exciting job opportunity that will help you grow both personally and professionally, then you should refer to this informative guide, ‘Hotel Management: Everything You Need to Know About Managing a Hotel!’, for first-hand information on how to start a career in the highly competitive hotel industry.

Understanding the Different Hotel Positions

Achieving success in the hotel industry means ensuring that all departments are working effectively. Within any given property, there are people working in a large number of different hotel positions and it is beneficial to have an understanding of which jobs exist and what those people are actually doing.

In “Hotel Positions: Overview of All Positions Within a Hotel” you will find a concise breakdown of all of the key hotel job roles and what their main responsibilities are.

Tips to Boost Your Hotel Career Prospects

The hotel industry can be extremely competitive, which is why those who are exploring hotel careers need to find ways to stand out from the pack. In particular, there are a number of steps you can take to make sure you develop the right skills, network with the right people, perfect the application process and impress during your interview.

Read “Hotel Careers: Tips to Find a Job in the Hotel Industry” for advice on some of the steps you should take, so that you maximise your chances of landing the hotel job you are looking for.

Job Boards for Finding a Job in the Hotel Industry

Hotel jobs can be varied, rewarding, engaging and many will also offer excellent long-term prospects. Nevertheless, it is important to find the role that best suits your preferences and skill set. One of the best ways to pinpoint the right job within the hotel industry is to turn to dedicated hotel job boards and there is a wide range of these services available online.

In the article “Hotel Jobs: The Best Hotel Job Boards to Boost Your Career”, you will find 10 examples.

Channels to Find Hotel Management Jobs

The hotel industry can be extremely competitive, and this is especially true when searching for hotel management jobs. For this reason, it can be important to use a variety of different methods to actually find jobs to apply for, ranging from hotel websites and job boards, to social media and professional recruitment agencies.

In “Hotel Management Jobs: List of Channels to Find Your Dream Job” you will find information about the best channels to use to aid your search for a management position in the hotel industry.

Hotel industry - Quote César Ritz

Find Hotel Vacancies With These Chains

If you are looking for a new job in the hotel industry, it may be best to identify potential roles and apply for hotel vacancies using the websites of some of the top hotel chains. In most cases, large hotel companies will include a ‘Careers’ section on their website, providing all of the information you need.

By reading the “Hotel Vacancies: List of Hotel Chains to Start Your Career” article, you will learn more about the process of applying for hotel vacancies, along with a list of some of the most successful chains.

Finding Your Next Hotel Manager Position

The hotel industry can be highly competitive, meaning any hotel manager job that becomes available is likely to have multiple applicants. To give yourself the greatest chance of landing the role you want, it can be crucial to understand the nature of hotel management and what the job will actually entail.

In “Hotel Manager: Tips to Find Your Next Hotel Manager Job!” you will find important information about the necessary skills, qualifications and experience you need, and what to can expect from being a hotel manager.

Tips for Hiring the Best Hotel Staff

Within the hotel industry, making sensible hiring decisions can have a huge bearing on whether or not a property is ultimately successful. However, there are a number of different steps that should be followed in order to identify the positions that need to be filled and then to ensure you hire the right hotel staff for those positions.

Read “Hotel Staff: How to Hire the Best Staff for Your Hotel” for more information on the importance of hiring, the signs you need to hire new staff, and seven specific tips for actually recruiting the right people for the right roles.

A Global List of Hotel Schools

If you’re interested in finding out more about a career in the hotel industry, a course of study at a hotel school might be what you’re looking for. In “Hotel Schools: Global List of Hotel Management Schools”, you’ll learn about the advantages of attending a hotel school and the kinds of topics you might study. You’ll also be able to read about some of the top schools in the hotel industry and the courses they offer, from short subjects to full degree programmes. You can learn about everything from hotel health and safety to running your own hotel.

A List of The Most Popular Hotel Management Courses

A hotel management course can really kick-start your career in the hotel industry, building skills and expertise while also allowing you to develop your professional networks and industry contacts. In “Hotel Management Course: List of The Most Popular Courses”, you’ll learn everything you need to know about training for management roles in the hotel industry. You’ll learn why a career in hotels is a great idea and how hotel schools can help you. You’ll also find out about the top educators in the field and the kinds of courses they offer.

Hotel Course: Learn Skills for the Hotel Industry

The hotel industry can provide excellent career opportunities, but many of these will require particular skills. Meanwhile, for more advanced positions in the industry, it may be necessary to obtain certain qualifications. Thankfully, many educators offer hotel courses, which will teach these skills and provide these qualifications.

You can read our “Hotel Course: A List of Courses & Hotel Educators” article to learn more about the nature of these courses, which academic institutions actually offer them, and how they can assist you in your career.

Video: Different Types of Hotel Positions Within The Hotel Industry

Below you find a video where hotel manager Wilson shows you different types of hotel positions within the hotel industry.


Practical Guide on Revenue Management & Hotel Marketing Strategies

Hotel marketing offers a vast array of strategies that hotel owners must be aware of if they want to succeed in this business. If you want to attract as many guests as possible, you must use the most effective hotel marketing and revenue management strategies. In the ‘Free Handbook: Revenue Management & Hotel Marketing Strategies’, hotel owners will get all the tips and tricks on the best marketing strategies.

While the hotel industry is closely associated with travel, tourism and hospitality, it is focused on guest accommodation and services related to overnight stays. Nevertheless, there is a wide range of different accommodation types which are usually placed underneath the hotel industry umbrella.

The Impact of Corona Virus Epidemic on the Hotel Industry

The coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) has made a huge impact on the hotel industry, as a result of many countries being in full or partial lockdown. Governments from around the world have imposed travel restrictions, with closed borders and no domestic or international flights. Since the beginning of 2020, many local and international events have either been postponed or cancelled. These include the Olympic Games, UEFA EURO 2020, and the world’s biggest travel expo, ITB Berlin, where over 150,000 visitors were expected to attend.

With the restrictions on companies and millions of workers facing redundancies, it’s not surprising to see lots of business events and trips getting cancelled because of coronavirus fears. And because of the future uncertainties caused by the pandemic, people are reluctant to book their holidays for 2020, and even 2021.

The hotel industry is one of the hardest-hit sectors to feel the impact of the pandemic. Some hotels have experienced up to 90 per cent losses in bookings while some have had to close down. Cancelled reservations and lack of bookings have resulted in the loss of revenue for hotels. To add to this problem, most struggling hotels can’t see a way out of their cash flow problems as the future is very uncertain indeed.

In the category “Corona” you find a selection of tips that helps businesses operating in the hospitality and travel industry to recover and prepare for better times.

Want to Learn More About Related Industries?

The hospitality industry is part of the travel industry and the hotel industry is part of the hospitality industry. All of these industries have in common that they are large service industries in the world and increasingly important in the modern age. But what is the difference between the travel and tourism industry? And what are all hospitality sectors within the hospitality industry? In the following articles, you learn more about related industries.

More Tips to Grow Your Business is a knowledge platform for the hospitality & travel industry. Professionals use our insights, strategies and actionable tips to get inspired, optimise revenue, innovate processes and improve customer experience. You can find all hotel & hospitality tips in the categories Revenue Management, Marketing & Distribution, Hotel Operations, Staffing & Career, Technology and Software.

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