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Types of hotels: The ultimate guide

  Posted in Resources

Understanding the types of hotels and key differences between hotel types can be pivotal in selling more rooms and marketing your hotel effectively.

So, what are the different types of hotels? And how do you correctly define and categorise your hotel for success? We’ve got you covered with this comprehensive guide.

Table of contents

What is a hotel type?

Hotel types provide a shortcode, helping people to compare hotels and get an idea of what they can expect from the hotel. They help break down confusion and guide people towards the perfect hotel for their stay.

From large to tiny. Luxury to budget. And simple rooms to suites. We all know that hotels vary enormously, and it’s no surprise that we attempt to place similar hotels into groups, describing them by “type”.

Of course there are so many different ways to classify and categorise hotels, and the list of hotel types is a long one.

What are the different types of hotels?

There really are limitless labels we can apply to hotels, however these are the hotel types that are often used by hotels and in booking guides:

Independent vs chain hotels

As the names suggest, these hotel types refer to the ownership of the hotel. Chain hotels are often budget-friendly and attract guests that want the reliability of a well-established brand. Independent hotels, on the other hand, might attract guests looking for something more unique or authentic.

Small, medium and large hotels

Hotels are often described by size. A small hotel generally has 150 rooms or fewer, a medium hotel has 151 to 299 room and a large hotel has 300 to 600 rooms.

Budget to mid-range to luxury hotels

Guests have a wide range of budgets and hotels cater to all those different budgets. Guests with money to burn and time to spend enjoying the hotel’s amenities might spend $1,000 a night on a hotel while those who just want somewhere to lay their head at night will look for something closer to $100 a night.

One to seven star hotels

Star ratings are a well-known way to categorise hotels, and give a more precise idea of the quality of the hotel and range of amenities on offer. They also help guests compare the price of hotels with similar star ratings when making a decision on where to stay.

Hotels vs motels

Motel is a shortened way to describe a motorist’s hotel – a place designed for people travelling along highways who need a place to stay. Traditionally, motels had rooms facing a parking lot to make it easy for guests to come and go. Today, they usually have fewer facilities and amenities on offer compared with a hotel.

Boutique hotels

A boutique hotel is a smaller hotel, usually under 50 rooms, which is big on personality. Whether it’s art-themed rooms, a small hotel in a heritage building, a culinary-focused experience or a luxury eco-retreat set in a tropical rainforest, the experience at a boutique hotel will be highly-tailored and certain to be memorable.

Limited vs full-service hotels

The main difference here is that limited-service hotels will not have food and beverage available on-site. They may also have a more limited range of amenities, appealing to the cost-conscious traveller.

Ski, golf, water park, casino, spa, conference: Activity-focused hotels

Some hotels are set up to cater to a completely niche market. Whether you dream of spending a few days playing golf, gambling or getting pampered, there’s a hotel that will make your dreams a reality.

Extended stay hotel

An extended stay hotel offers a cost-effective way for guests looking to stay longer than the average guest. A self-serve laundry, in-suite kitchen and other conveniences you would normally find in a traditional apartment can often be found in these hotels.

Beach, downtown, airport hotel

Sometimes hotels are also described by their location. If guests want to experience a city like a local, a downtown hotel is their best option. If travellers are passing through on a quick stopover then an airport hotel will be most appropriate. Guests who simply want to chill by the beach? There’s a beach hotel waiting for them.

Business hotel

No surprises here, a business hotel is equipped with amenities that will please those travelling for business, from fast wi-fi to modern office equipment. They’ll also be located in the CBD or business district and have plenty of single rooms on offer.

Family hotel

Kids club, on-site babysitting, larger rooms, kid-friendly pools, cots in rooms, family-friendly restaurants… a family hotel will have everything guests need when travelling and holidaying with a young family.

Hotel classification: How to position your property for success

How you position your hotel in the market, identify your competition, define your ideal guests, build your brand, and then set up your marketing strategies and campaigns are all crucial factors in your success as a hotelier.

Understanding what hotel types your property falls into is information that will assist your decisions as you formulate your plans for success. So it’s important to ask yourself these questions:

  • What hotel types could be used to describe my hotel?
  • What other types of hotels are there in the area?
  • What do these hotel types tell me about my ideal guests?
  • How important and useful might these be in terms of branding?
  • Which hotel type will help highlight my hotel’s unique selling point and ultimately sell more rooms to my ideal guests?

Most popular hotel types with travellers

SiteMinder’s Changing Traveller Report 2022 surveyed more than 8000 travellers worldwide about their travel plans, motivations, and expectations. Included in the research was what type of accommodation travellers are planning to book.

By global average, the next trip travellers take will be spent in:

  • Big chain/resort – 22%
  • Vacation rental – 18%
  • Hostel/motel/budget – 16%
  • Boutique/luxury – 14%
  • B&B – 11%
  • Family/friends – 11%
  • Holiday park/camping – 8%

The world’s leading hotel commerce platform.

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