The hospitality industry is a part of a larger enterprise known as travel and tourism industry. The travel and tourism industry is a vast group of business with one goal in common : providing necessary or desired services to travelers. Advances in transportation enabled more people to travel greater distances at less cost spreading tourism across the globe. From modest origins, hospitality and tourism rose to become two of the largest worldwide industries.
Warriors or traders were the early travelers but they did not have hotels to accommodate them. The warriors used tents but the merchants seeking to trade tools, clothing and livestock, traded merchandise for lodging. The inns offered little more than a cot or a bench in the corner of a room or a stable. Most of them were private residences that offered temporary residence or lodging to strangers. Guests stayed in large communal rooms where sanitation and privacy were non-existent. After the establishment of money in 6th century BC, inn keeping was one of the first commercial enterprises and hospitality was one of the first services for which money was exchanged.
In the third century AD, Roman Empire developed an extensive system of brick paved roads throughout Europe and Asia Minor. Small road side lodges were constructed due to increase in the road transport. During the Industrial Revolution in 1700s, the Europeans began to combine food and beverage service with lodging. No attention was given to sanitation and beds as well as rooms had to be shared with other travelers. These early European inns were unsuitable for aristocrats. To accommodate wealthy travelers, luxurious structures were erected. These offered private rooms, individual sanitation and all comforts of a European castle. These elegant new establishments adopted the French name for mansion, ‘hotel’. The rates they charged were very high and well beyond the means of common citizens. In colonial America, inns were modeled after European inns. Beds and rooms had to be shared with strangers. Throughout 1800s, American innkeepers improved their services and continued to build larger properties.
Most of these were located in seaport town since sea transport was very widely used mode or travel and transport then. The first American hotel the ‘City Hotel’ opened in 1794 in the New York city. It was one of the largest buildings in the city and was built exclusively for hotel purpose. It had 73 guest rooms. ‘Adelphi Hotel’ in New York was the first high-rise structure in the city. In 1829, a large new hotel was constructed in Boston. ‘Tremont House’ was the earliest first class hotel in America and brought revolution in the hospitality industry. This hotel was the first to offer private rooms with locking doors. Each guest room had a wash basin and a water pitcher and a bar of soap. Other innovations included a full time service staff, a French restaurant which was located in the lobby, etc. These American hotels became important social centers and unlike their European counterparts, welcomed anyone who could afford the reasonable rates. Meanwhile in Europe, sanitary lodging continued to be regarded as a privilege to be enjoyed only by the aristocracy. But in democratic America clean and comfortable accommodation was available to any middle class worker or family.
In early 1900s, a new type of traveler entered the picture, the traveling businessman. For him the world class hotels were too expensive and the old style inns too unsanitary. A new type of lodging establishment was opened for these type of guests – ‘the commercial hotels’. It was opened by Mr. E. M. Statler, at Buffalo, New York, in Jan. 1908. It was the beginning of the chain hotel concept. This hotel provided private sanitary rooms with private bathroom. The guest received a pitcher of ice water and morning newspaper every day. “A room and a bath for a dollar and a half “ was well known among American travelers. The great Depression nearly wiped out the hotel industry. But one hotel operator, Conrad Hilton, managed to stay afloat as a result of his oil and gas investments. Around 1940 – 1950, the Hilton Hotel Corporation built or bought numerous luxury hotels around the world and competed with the largest hotel chains of the time Sheraton and Statler.
With the end of World War II, the hotel industry unexpectedly entered a new era of prosperity, Americans began traveling as never before. With an automobile in every garage, Americans began touring the country with their families. For this new type of traveler – the vacationing family unit – the formality of a traditional hotel was inappropriate. Families traveling in their cars needed casual lodging that was accessible from major highways and had ample facilities for parking. The early these properties were small and had fewer than 50 rooms. Most of them were owned and operated by a couple and were called Mom and Pop properties. By 1960, the motor hotel or the motel, had become an permanent and influential part of the hospitality industry. By this time the motels had over 100 rooms with a separate parking space for each unit.
In 1960s, a new type of lodging outlet – the economy, or budget hotel entered the picture. These lodging establishments sold only room space without F & B service. To save on construction cost, the economy hotels were built on inexpensive land and had small lobbies. They also hired minimum staff. By minimizing costs the budget hotels were able to give much lower room rates than their competitors. The first successful economy hotel, ‘Travelodge’, opened in Tacoma, Washington, in 1956 but the chain expanded nationwide by 1966. By early 1970s the idea of low rate motel/s hotels had captured the imagination of investors mini bars are the standard amenities of most budget hotels. These hotels / motels are also called as no-frills hotels.