What is The Hotel Industry?

The hotel industry is the section of the service industry that deals with guest accommodation or lodgings. By most definitions, the hotel industry refers to hotels and 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.

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 travelers 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 several 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 traveling 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 travelers, 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.


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 based on 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. 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, to minimize the environmental damage they are responsible for. They may prioritize 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 temporarily, for holiday purposes. Essentially, a guest pays to use the property for a short period. They are especially common in the UK, US, and Canada and a key advantage is a 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 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, 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.