Hotel 201 – Hotel ownership

Hotel 201 – Hotel ownership

The hotel business is significantly more complicated than people initially think. There’s layers of nuance, understanding and history that can only be understood after some time in this business. So, for our next series of articles, we’re going to demystify some of the elements of the hotel business.

For this one, we’ll start with a basic question.

Who Owns Hotels Anyway?

Well, that’s a more complicated answer than the question poses. Hotels can be owned by the hotel companies themselves, individuals, major real estate groups, a collection of investors and more. But it wasn’t always this way. Over time, ownership structures have become more nuanced and complicated, and we’ll examine these varietals more closely in upcoming pieces.

But first, we must look back on the early and mid-20th century. To know where we are now, and where we’re heading, we must first look back at the past.

Motor Courts

In the early days, hotel ownership was basic, both in how the business operated and the type of hotels – aka motor inns — that were built outside the major cities. You know the ones; they typically had one or two floors with room doors that were to the outside, also known as exterior corridor properties in today’s vernacular. Back then, they were mostly known as motor courts, and hotel ownership was a function of individuals owning a single hotel, or a few in the same region known simply as motel chains. But, for the most part, they were out there on their own, hoping for people to come by for a night or an extended stay.

Of course, in the major cities, you had the grand dame properties such as the WaldorfAstoria, The Willard and the Peabody hotels, which during this time were individually owned.

Tentative Affiliation

During the 1930s, the industry saw its first distinct move to modernization … Read more of this story on

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