Traveling and hotels are interrelated, as hotels are the primary accommodation choice of many travelers, providing a variety of services. Hotels range from small “mom-and-pop” joints with just a few rooms to large resorts with hundreds of rooms. Hotels can also have different ambiances, from quiet family-oriented hotels to noisy hostels and party hotels.
A hotel provides accommodation in private rooms, generally with a bathroom, and may also provide other services such as food service, conference halls, a concierge, and more. Most hotels are located in urban areas, though some are situated in rural settings, and the size of a hotel room can vary, from small single rooms to large suites. Hotels often offer amenities such as pools, fitness centers, and spas, although these facilities are not required.
Hotels can be rated using star ratings, a system that attempts to quantify and evaluate a hotel’s service, comfort, cleanliness, and other features and attributes using objective and subjective criteria. A star rating system is a popular method of distinguishing one hotel from another, but it has some drawbacks and limitations. Hotel ratings are often influenced by tourism officials or the hotel industry association, and are not entirely independent.
Guests of hotels are usually expected to pay a nightly rate for use of the hotel’s facilities and amenities. Some hotels are based on a seasonality, charging higher rates during the months when staying at that destination is considered more desirable, such as the summer in beach destinations or the winter in ski resorts. The price of a hotel can also depend on whether it is a business or leisure facility; for example, the rates of business hotels tend to be higher during the week than the rates of leisure hotels.
Some hotels provide shuttle transportation in vans, mini-buses (seating 24 or less), or cars to transport guests from the hotel to local attractions, airport terminals, train stations, car rental offices, or to other locations of the guest’s choice during a stay. This is a common feature of budget hotels and can be included in the nightly room rate, while other hotels offer this on request only.
Many hotels serve as venues for conferences and private events, such as wedding receptions or company anniversaries. These functions generate a significant portion of the revenue for some hotels. Many hotels have on-site restaurants, which can serve a wide variety of meals at an additional cost to the room rate. Other hotels offer meal packages or all-inclusive rates, where the hotel provides all meals and a limited selection of beverages for a daily fee. These rates are a common option for group travel.