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7 Different Types of Hotel Chains

Entrance and registration of RedRoof Inn.

Back in the day, I traveled around 40 weeks a year. A lot of airports and hotels, some better and some worse. Depending on where I was doing business, I could stay in a luxury or a clean budget hotel, whatever was available.

I often wondered how hotels were classified and how the classification was decided. Besides, what were the different types of hotel chains? Read further if you are curious about the types of hotels for the weary traveler.

What Are the Types of Hotel Chains?

There are several categories of hotel chains. Some hotel chains include having the finest hotels in the world. Other hotel chains may only provide a clean bed for the night with basic amenities. As a one-time heavy business traveler, I loved staying at the best hotel I could afford and be pampered.

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But, when exhausted after a long day, a clean room with a cot looked great! So, discover the various hotel types and better understand where you may stay for the night or week.

1. Resort or Luxury Hotels

Signage of Four Seasons Hotels.

This category of hotels has full-sized facilities and commensurate amenities and accommodation. These are usually the most expensive hotels with a host of amenities, including:

  • On-site parking
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Complimentary travel size toiletries
  • Mini fridge
  • Exercise facilities and equipment
  • Laundry services
  • Swimming or exercising pools
  • Kid-friendly accommodations
  • On-premises spa
  • Room service
  • Complimentary plush robe

A partial list of luxury hotels with full-service amenities and accommodations:

  • Four Seasons Hotels
  • Hyatt Hotels
  • Doubletree Hotels
  • JW Marriott Hotels
  • Starwood-Westin Hotels
  • Hilton Hotels
  • Ritz-Carlton Hotels
  • Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts
  • InterContinental Hotels
  • W Hotel

2. Upscale or Upper Upscale Hotels

Signage for the hotel Courtyard - Marriott.

Hotels classified as Upscale provide many amenities like those provided in Luxury Hotels. Except for the amenities in Upscale, hotels are not quite at the same high-end level as luxury hotels. One of the most consistent identifying factors for visitors is quality of service. The Upper Upscale Hotel will have a higher level of service and amenities.

Some of the more well-known Upscale or Upper Upscale Hotels are:

  • Best Western Premier
  • Cambria Suites
  • Radisson/Radisson Blu
  • Embassy Suites/Hilton
  • Hyatt Regency
  • Crown Plaza
  • Marriott
  • Sheraton/Westin
  • Wyndham
  • Courtyard by Marriott

Amenities and services travelers expect in an Upscale or Upper Upscale hotel include:

  • Friendly and helpful staff
  • Restaurant or room-service
  • Well-kept property and grounds
  • Conference room
  • Exercise facilities
  • Active, welcoming lobby

3. Midscale and Upper Midscale Hotels

Signage of Holiday Inn and building.

Midscale hotels are designed to have higher margins and fewer operational complications. They usually have more simplified staffing models than upscale hotels. The idea is to create a cheaper property to stay in and own. The movement toward upper and midscale hotels includes incorporating more pleasing design elements. These upscale designs are in conjunction with appropriate technology features today’s travelers expect.

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These are leaders in the midscale hotel properties:

  • Best Western and Best Western Plus
  • Clarion and Comfort Inn
  • Country Inn and Suites
  • Doubletree and Hampton Inn
  • Hyatt and Hyatt Place
  • Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express
  • Sheraton and Four Points
  • Ramada and Baymount Inn
  • Fairfield by Marriott
  • LaQuinta Inns

Amenities expected while staying at midscale or upper midscale hotels:

  • Free and dependable internet
  • Bottled drinking water
  • Exercise facilities
  • Travel-size-name brand toiletries
  • Strategic and convenient locations
  • High level of service
  • Safety and Security
  • Quality beds

4. Economy Hotels

Signage of the Econo Lodge hotel.

Small to medium-sized hotels with basic accommodations and limited services are Economy Hotels. Also falling into this category may be Extended Stay hotels. They have long-term accommodations with limited services as compared to traditional hotels. The competitive economy hotel segment recognizes the client wants a clean, well-designed room.

But also with excellent customer service and upscale amenities such as breakfast. The economy hotels are usually found a little off the beaten path. Today, economy hotels usually provide clean rooms with good service. There may also be such amenities as exercise rooms.

Some of the leading economy hotels include:

  • Econo Lodge
  • Rodeway Inn
  • Microtel
  • Days Inn
  • Howard Johnson
  • Knights Inn
  • Travelodge

The amenities expected in economy hotels include:

  • Continental breakfast
  • Walking distance to a chain restaurant
  • Coffee maker
  • Iron/hair dryer
  • Ice/snack machines
  • Secure property
  • Clean, well-lit hotel

5. Bed and Breakfast (B&B) Hotels

Bed and Breakfast (B&B) Hotel signage.

This is my favorite segment of overnight lodging, the unique Bed & Breakfast Hotels, or Inns. Focusing on the overnight traveler, a B&B host, or the owner provides personal touches. Since you often stay in their home, or at least on the family property, it is a more personal stay.

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I love B&B hotels since they treat you like family. A favorite memory of mine is staying at a random B&B found on Nantucket Island. I am a cat lover and the house cat wandered into my room and stayed the night with me. What is comfier than that? I never had that experience at a Marriott or Embassy Suites.

These are some of the amenities expected at a B&B (except the cat):

  • Robust breakfast
  • Family ambiance away from home
  • Beautiful property and grounds
  • Historic Significance
  • Uniquely decorated bedroom
  • Personal service provided by the owner
  • There could be gift baskets in the room
  • Welcoming atmosphere with a greater connection to other guests

B&B vs. Airbnb

A person holding an airbnb logo.

The Airbnb (Air Bed & Breakfast) rental service is like B&B hotels. But, there are some differences, including:

  • Availability of Host: The host of a B&B is usually the owner and interacts with the guest in their home. Beyond checking guests in and out, the Airbnb host has no obligations to interact with guests.
  • Price: Usually, an Airbnb will be less expensive due to having less time to interact with guests. Also, the Airbnb price can be less due to the condition of the stay or not having other employees on the property.
  • Hidden costs: The B&B room is usually the rate quoted and includes all fees associated with the stay. The total experience is included in the B&B rack rate. Airbnb may have other fees attached to the bill, like cleaning and convenience fees.

6. Vacation and Beach Resort Hotels

Vacation and Beach Resort Hotels.

Beach and vacation hotels are usually located near beaches, golf courses, or ski areas. Usually, the property will have beautiful landscaping and plentiful activities for children. Also, there usually are many entertainment choices.

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The properties usually provide all the amenities a family would desire. These services are meant to keep you on the property and discourage leaving. I am not sure why would you want to leave Mana Kai in Maui, lounging on the beach?

These are some of the top-rated vacations and Beach Resort Hotels:

  • The Grand Hotel Golf Resort and Spa
  • Mana Kai Maui
  • Holiday Inn Resort Panama City Beach
  • Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort and Casino
  • Esparanza Cabo San Lucas, Mexico
  • The Breakers Palm Beach
  • Four Seasons Resort Lanai
  • Hamilton Princess Hotel and Beach Club, Hamilton, Bermuda
  • The Cloister at Sea Island
  • Montage Laguana Beach

These destination properties usually provide the following amenities:

  • Direct beach access
  • Golf course on the property or nearby
  • Exercise facilities
  • Business facility and free wifi
  • Coin-operated laundry
  • Aquatic center
  • Lush and spacious grounds
  • Playground and sports venue
  • Restaurant and lounge

7. Family Hotels and Resorts

Family Hotels and Resorts on Hawaii.

Today, more families are traveling to family-friendly resorts and hotels. They provide special rooms, or suites, for the entire family to share. In the past, hotels would have an upcharge for a connecting bedroom.

Today, family-friendly resorts and hotels charge a flat rate for two-bedroom suites. These suites are not connecting rooms but separate bedrooms for parents and kids. Everyone together gives a feeling of being home when on vacation or traveling.

Family hotels and resorts have various activities for kids of all ages. These hotels are usually near beaches, ski slopes, mountains, and other scenic locations. The family can access the beach, ski slopes, water parks, and swimming pools. And upscale resorts may have their water-park-like features. For the kids, some properties even have bunk beds. How family-friendly is that?

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These are some top family resorts and hotel destinations:

  • Holiday Inn Resort Pensacola Beach Gulf Front
  • The Grove Resort Orlando
  • Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Florida
  • Kalahari Resorts and Conventions Wisconsin Dells
  • Topnotch Resort Vermont
  • Grand Wailea Resort Hawaii
  • Hotel Del Corndado California
  • Suncadia Resort Cle Elum Washington
  • Westin Riverfront Resort and Spa Avon Colorado
  • Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa San Antonio
  • Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe
  • The Blake at Taos Ski Valley

Family hotels and resorts usually provide the following amenities:

  • Many bedrooms and/or bunk beds
  • Accommodations for the family pet
  • Indoor or outdoor water features
  • Skiing and snowboarding nearby
  • On-premises restaurant or room service
  • Easy to navigate mountain trails
  • Quick access to beaches
  • Family theme parks close by

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the largest luxury hotel chain?

Marriott International is the world’s largest luxury hotel with 5,974 properties. Their luxury brands include W, St. Regis Resorts and Hotels, and Ritz-Carlton. They also have budget-friendly brands like Four Points by Sheraton.

How many properties does the largest hotel chain have around the world?

Wyndham Hotels is the largest hotel franchisor in the world, with 9,280 locations. The Wyndham Hotels brand includes La Quinta Inns, Baymount, Days Inn, Howard Johnson, and Super 8.

Are family-friendly hotels also pet friendly?

Recently, family hotels and resorts have begun to welcome family pets. In a recent study, 65% of family hotels welcomed pets. Accepting pets is good business for hotels with over 15 million guests with family pets. We do and only stay where pets are welcome!

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Are B&B or Airbnb hotels becoming more popular for the traveler?

With over 4 million rooms available worldwide, B&B Inns and Airbnb hotels have a huge demand. Some of the factors for this growth are:

  • Usually less expensive
  • Unique rooms that are often in historic locations
  • A personal touch of Host/Hostess
  • Hearty breakfast included
  • Relationships with other guests

Are budget or economy hotels safe?

The budget hotels typically have less safety than more upscale properties. Many budget hotels provide safety measures through well-trained staff. Not every brand may have this safety or varies for individual properties.

Some of the areas where safety is addressed are:

  • Automatic locking doors requiring key access
  • In-room safe
  • Multiple locking mechanisms for doors
  • Video and surveillance cameras
  • Physical location of property
  • Trained staff for addressing emergencies

What are some questions to ask yourself about selecting a hotel property?

It is beneficial to ask yourself these questions before booking a property for a great stay:

  1. Where is the hotel located? Is it in a safe and strategically located area for your stay?
  2. Is the property inviting? Do the lobby, hotel grounds, and room cleanliness meet your expectations?
  3. Do you know all the expected room charges? Are all accommodations including meals, gym or fitness charges, and internet access included?
  4. Are any parties, banquets, or conventions planned for your stay? Unless you are an attendee, the hotel stay may not be as inviting with large groups milling around.
  5. Does the hotel brand have a frequent traveler or customer loyalty program? Make sure and join if such programs exist.
  6. Will the hotel staff guarantee your safety? Does management have insurance for personal property or luggage theft?
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What amenities does the hotel provide?

Some amenities a hotel property should have are:

  • Handicap access and elevators
  • Pool or workout facilities
  • Free Parking
  • Room service
  • Concierge service