Traveling and hotels are two of the most important sectors in the travel industry. Hotels provide accommodation for travellers in private rooms ranging from simple beds in a small room to luxury suites with round-the-clock staff and are priced accordingly. Hotel services usually include meals and snacks, entertainment, internet access and fitness centres. Many hotels also act as venues for conferences and other events.
As people became more wealthy they started travelling for leisure instead of business and this changed the nature of the travel industry. In addition to hotels becoming more luxurious, new types of accommodation emerged such as hostels and homestays. These tended to be more affordable and offered a more personal experience than traditional hotels. The travel industry also adapted to meet the needs of this new type of traveler, such as making it possible to book rooms by telephone and providing concierge services.
In the modern world of business travel, many travellers are expected to be productive while staying in hotels and as such, some have become known as “bleisure travelers.” This growing market has led to hotel chains adjusting their room cleaning schedules so that guests can stay in their rooms during the day and have their spaces cleaned at a later time. Hotels are also providing more workspaces such as desks and quiet areas for people to work in.
Unlike hotels which are typically owned and operated by the hotel chain, some homestays and hostels are privately owned and may be run as independent businesses. Some of these businesses offer additional services such as tours and activities. Others such as Airbnb, which offers a wide range of shared accommodation options from homestays to entire apartments, have created an alternative to hotels for those who are looking to be more productive while traveling.
In addition to hotel accommodation, some travellers choose to camp in the outdoors or stay at bed and breakfasts which are converted family homes. In the case of the former, breakfast is usually included in the price of the room while the latter often have limited options for dietary restrictions such as gluten free or vegetarian.
Like hotels, some bed and breakfasts and camping grounds are accredited by organizations such as the American Camping Association and the European Camping Federation in order to ensure that these establishments comply with certain standards such as safety and cleanliness. Some hotels also have their own star rating system which they use to rank their properties, with one being the lowest and five being the highest. Hotel ratings are often used to differentiate between different hotel chains as well as to help prospective travellers decide which hotel to book a room at.
Other aspects of hotels to consider include booking policies, such as cancellations and advance payment. Some hotels offer discounted rates for bookings made online or through travel websites, while others require a higher deposit or full prepayment. Some hotels also charge a mandatory resort fee which provides access to facilities such as the gym, spa or pool.