Hotels provide private serviced rooms for guests. They range from very basic budget-style to extremely luxurious accommodation.
Booking a room 
In most cases, hotel rooms are booked, or reserved, in advance, so that a room will be held by the hotel awaiting the arrival of a specific guest. Rooms at hotels can also be rented by simply walking in and enquiring at the front desk, but this may be met with a decline as the hotel may be fully booked for the night.
Rooms can be booked directly with the hotels, or via intermediaries such as travel websites and travel agents. Airlines, railways, ferry operators and other travel-related services providers often act as intermediaries as well, providing their passengers and clients the option to book a hotel room in addition to their regular services.
Room rates 
The price paid for staying at the hotel is generally determined by the room rate, i.e. the rate paid for staying each night spent in the room. The base room rate usually does not include anything but accomodation. Other services, as well as meals, usually incur extra charges. Use of some of the room's and hotel's facilities might also not be free for staying guests. It is good to make sure what is included in the rate and what chargeable extra before booking.
Hotels usually have a standard rate quoted at the front desk and displayed prominently in the hotel and in the rooms, which is often called the rack rate. The rack rate is usually the highest rate the hotel would charge for the room, as it is often required by legal restrictions. There are usually many different rates one can pay for a given night that are lower from the rack rate, and the value of the rate depends on a number of factors. Knowing how hotels set their offered rates can help you book your desired room cheaper.
Some of the factors that can influence the value of the rate:
- Advance bookings - special, lower rates are often available when booking in advance. Hotels are very interested in having as many rooms as possible booked early to managed their occupancy better. The best rates are usually offered when booking 21 days or more in advance, but even booking a few days in advance would often get you a better rate than the rack rate you would get when walking into the hotel on the day of your stay.
- Cancellability - most bookings can be cancelled until the night of the stay, so the hotel risks keeping the room for you and then you cancelling it at the last minute. If you choose a rate that does not allow that, it would usually be lower, but you risk losing money if your plans need to change.
- Advance payment - you will usually pay for your hotel stay when checking out, but some attractive rates require you to pay in advance.
- Booking channel - you can sometimes get a better rate booking through a booking consolidator website. Conversely, hotels sometimes offer special rates only when booked via their own websites.
- Seasonality - most destinations usually have a high season for tourism, when staying there is deemed more desirable, so the rates will be higher then. It is usually dependent on weather conditions (most destinations will see more tourists coming in warmer months, except for skiing destinations, when months with good snow cover will attract most tourists).
- Special events - There are also some happenings during the year, such as holidays, feasts or special events (e.g. prominent football matches, concerts, festivals) that may affect demand and rates. For business destinations, trade fairs often rack up the rates considerably. If you do not intend to participate in those events, make sure you check the calendar of planned events at your destination and avoid them to avoid the increased rates.
Checking in and out 
On arriving at the hotel, guests should check in, which means giving the front desk the details of the guests staying in a given room, referring to the booking, confirming rates and conditions, being assigned a room and receiving the key to the room. Checking out is done once a guest's stay is completed. The front desk staff presents the charges incurred and guests settle the bill. The key to the room is returned to the front desk at that time.
Hotels usually have a fixed check-in and check-out times, given as the earliest hour one can check in at and the latest at which one can check out. Those are usually not the same time - hotels leave a few hours between check-in and check-out times to allow for housekeeping to clean and prepare any rooms that might be vacated at the last possible moment (thusly, a day's stay at a hotel is usually shorter than 24 hours even if using all available time). Otherwise, check-in and check-out times are limited by the availability of front desk staff - not all hotels have front desks working 24 hours a day.
The latest check-out time varies between hotels, but is generally sometime around noon, while check-in is usually possible at times from 2 PM onwards. Earlier check-ins and later check-outs hotels are usually treated as extra services incurring extra charges. They can sometimes be offered free of charge as perks to some guests, included in some rates or special packages. That said, sometimes hotels will let guests check in early or check out late on inquiry at the front desk with no additional comditions and charges if rooms are available.
Please note that failure to check out at appropriate check out times on the day your stay ends will often be understood as occupying the room for yet another night and incur a full regular nightly rate. Late check-outs should be agreed upon with the front desk staff beforehand.
In some hotels, the check-in and check-out can be performed via automated kiosks in the hotel's lobby. This may be provided as a measure of economy (instead of employing staff hotels focusing on low costs offer automated services) or convenience (automated check-in and check-out may be quicker and more comfortable for some travellers in some situations).
Room types 
Within a single hotel property, many different rooms may be available. Even in properties with uniform rooms, it is good to make sure what type of room is available to book one precisely fitting one's needs. Rooms may vary according to number and types of beds, size, facilities and amenities as well as décor and design.
- Single rooms are for single travellers. In many hotels, a single room is actually the same as a double room.
- Double rooms are for two travellers sleeping in the same bed.
- Twin rooms have two separate single beds.
- Triple rooms have either three separate beds, or a double bed plus a single bed.
- Quads rooms are designed for 4 people or more.
- Suites are complete apartments with multiple rooms, generally intended for longer stays.
- Honeymoon suites are novelty rooms with oversize beds or whirlpool baths. Marketed to couples, these are often larger than standard rooms but are not multiple-room suites.
- Efficiencies are rooms with kitchen or cooking facilities, permitting travellers to avoid costs of dining in restaurants.
Most modern hotel rooms will include private bathrooms (meaning they can only be accessed from the rooms and are intended to be used by the guests staying in the rooms only), which will be fitted with a sink, toilet and shower or bathtub (or both). This type of arrangement, called ensuite, has become commonplace in properties across all standards, although some hotels even in developed countries continue to offer rooms with shared bathrooms. Such bathrooms are usually located in common hallways and are intended for use by all occupants of the rooms in a given floor. Often a hotel room that is not ensuite will still include a sink with running water or even also a toilet.
Some hotels also offer bathrooms especially fitted to cater for the needs of disabled guests. This include special handlebars and supports, a folded seat in a shower stall and other fitments to enable comfortable use by a person with limited mobility, e.g. using a wheelchair, elderly or infirm. Guests requiring such facilities should make sure a property provides them and communicate this need at the time of booking.
Types of beds 
- A king bed provides comfortable room for two people
- A queen bed provides enough room for two people, and a comfortable sleep for one person
- A single bed is yet narrower, often found in small single and twin rooms (often referred to as twin bed)
For more detailed information on bed and mattress sizes, you may want to refer to .
Connecting rooms 
Some hotels also have connecting rooms, which are separate units than can be connected with a door between them. Those can be useful for groups or families wanting to stay together with access to each other's room, but not sharing one. When not in use as such, they are often rented out as regular rooms with the connecting doors locked. A downside of staying in a connecting room is that noises from the other connecting room are sometimes more audible.
Suites are sets of separate chambers rented by a hotel as a common accommodation unit. A suite would usually include one or more bedrooms and some other rooms, such as a living room or sitting room, sometimes with a sofa that converts into a bed. Dining, office and kitchen facilities are also added in many suites. Suites generally offer more space and furniture than a standard hotel room.
A suite is usually provided as either a luxurious type of accommodation, one that enables more people (e.g. a family) to stay in a single unit, or one that provides for a more convenient extended stay. Often, these are marketed to businesspeople and convention delegates with the second room serving as a small office or meeting space.
Floors and views 
In hotel buildings comprising several stories, rooms on upper floors are often deemed more attractive as they provide a better view, more privacy (less chance of anybody being able to glimpse into the room through the window from outside) and are farther away from any ground level noises. This especially applies to hotels in metropolitan areas, located at busy areas with heavy traffic, often in tall towers surrounded by other buildings. A reverse pattern applies to two-storey motels, where ground-floor tenants may park at the room and unload baggage directly instead of dragging luggage up a flight of stairs.
It is also possible that some rooms in a hotel have better or worse views than others; one side of an oceanfront lodge may face a beach while the other rooms face a road or highway. A landmark, skyline, landscape or striking vista may be visible from only part of the hotel; some rooms may also have less access to daylight, facing an internal courtyard or a wall of another building.
Rooms deemed better with regard to views or lighting may be offered at increased rates and require a specific booking.
Executive rooms, lounges and floors 
Some of the more upscale hotels may offer special categories of rooms that provide access to a number of amenities contained within a lounge, often called executive or club lounge, and hence the rooms or suites would also be denoted as executive or club. Such lounges will often include both comfortable seating space, leisure amenities such as international TV, press and concierge service. It is common for a lounge to provide snacks and beverages at certain times or even throughout the day. All of the amenities available in the lounges are usually free of charge for guests with access to the lounges.
For convenience reasons, such lounges and rooms are often put on a separate floor or floors (named executive floors or similarly) with direct unrestricted access to the lounge, and the access to those floors is restricted to guests staying in those rooms only. Sometimes breakfasts for guests staying in such floors would be served at the lounge rather than in the area where other guests have breakfast. Lounges are often placed on higher floors of hotel buildings to provide better views.
Please note that naming of such facilities, their general availability, amenities available and mode of operation may vary, and a room denoted as executive or club might not provide access to a lounge like that. If you care for such amenities, it is best to consult the hotel's website or staff before booking.
Smoking / non-smoking 
Hotels usually designate rooms as "smoking" and "non-smoking" (referring to tobacco/cigarette/cigar smoking) to enable non-smoking guests to enjoy rooms not tainted with the particular odours and other side effects of smoking. If either the absence of smoking residuals or the ability to smoke in the room is important to you, it is best to make sure your room is smoking or non-smoking while booking. If you believe you might have been assigned a wrong type of room, do contact the front desk of your hotel and ask to be moved to an appropriate category.
Many modern hotels, however, do not condone smoking at all within the hotel property, not only because of higher demand for strickly non-smoking rooms, but also modern smoke detectors that can be activated by somebody smoking. Thusly, smoking in your room is not advisable unless you expressly consult hotel staff that this is possible and will not trigger a smoke alarm. Laws in many countries also strictly forbid smoking anywhere within the hotel building anyway.
Meal plans 
Hotels may additionally offer meal service included in the price. Common terms include:
- Bed and breakfast (B&B). The morning meal is included. This may range considerably from a simple roll and coffee to an extensive buffet.
- Half board (aka half pension, demi-pension, modified American plan). A hotel rate that includes breakfast and one additional meal, typically dinner. Also called Modified American Plan and demi-pension.
- Full board (aka full pension, full American plan). A hotel rate in which three meals a day are included in the price.
- All inclusive. All meals and drinks are included. The list of "free" drinks is usually limited to non-alcoholic and inexpensive alcoholic beverages. Branded and premium alcoholic drinks are often not provided or available at extra cost.
Hotel types 
The hospitality industry has evolved along with the needs of travellers and devised a number of concepts that suit a particular group of travellers or specific traveller needs. While star ratings are generally governed by tourism officials, an inclusion of a hotel into a type or category is usually purely arbitrary and many hotels might be found to straddle the categories. That said, some concepts and formats have been quite uniformly adopted by the global hospitality industry and can be found almost anywhere in the globe in the same form. Some of the popular and peculiar types of hotels are discussed below.
Full-service hotels 
A "full-service hotel" is an American term referring to a hotel providing extensive service to guests and generally staffed around the clock. Many of the services provided incur extra charges over the room rate, but it is their availability that is referred to as "full service". A full-service hotel will usually include a front desk and room service available 24 hours a day, an on-site restaurant with upscale cuisine and service, and some leisure facilities dependent on country and area standards (most often a fitness room and a swimming pool). Full-service hotels are usually relatively expensive, and their basic room rates rarely include anything but accommodation itself, with every additional service incurring comparably steep charges. On the other hand, rooms in full service hotels will usually feature many amenities not found in rooms in cheaper hotels.
Full-service hotels will usually be rated as four- or five-star, or have a comparably high local rating. This category includes a broad range of facilities, from business-oriented international chain hotels to ultra-luxury boutique hotels. Some of the most popular international brands of full-service hotels include:
Limited and select-service hotels 
Hotels referred to as "limited service" or "select service" will feature only some of the services and facilities provided by full-service hotels. Those American terms are not formally defined and used quite liberally, covering a broad range of facilities. In general, as the names suggest, those hotels will not offer some of the services and facilities full-service hotels provide (for example limited or no room service, or even no restaurant on premises), and the rooms in such hotels are more simple and feature fewer amenities.
Popular limited or select service hotel brands include:
- ibis Hotels
- Holiday Inn Express
Economy or budget hotels 
Properties referred to as budget- or economy hotels are geared towards providing accomodation at the lowest possible price. This is achieved by limiting the facilities and services available to guests and making hotel rooms smaller and simpler to fit more of them into a property at a lower cost. Many new economy hotels are purpose-built properties optimized with regard to investment and operating costs. There are also older hotels which position themselves as economy hotels as their standards have fallen behind traveller expectations as the property aged.
Some popular brands of economy hotels include:
- ibis budget, formerly known as "Etap hotels", which are a very simplified version of the regular ibis hotels
- Premiere Classe, an equivalent brand from another French hotel company
- easyHotels, started by the same entrepreneur that operates the low-cost easyJet airline, which charge extra for every service, amenity or perk beyond basic accomodation
A motel, motor inn or motor lodge is an economy hotel designed specifically for travellers in motor vehicles. Most were simple single-story or two-story buildings where travellers entered their rooms directly from the car park. These were common in the 1950s and 1960s in the US, Canada and Australia as a growing number of motorists filled endless stretches of two-lane rural highway.
Built inexpensively at roadside by independent businesspeople and advertised with elaborate neon signage, these began declining in number as the main roads they served were bypassed by motorways and major chains built new economy limited service chain hotels along the off ramps to compete directly in price.
In some cases, the small-town independent motel does still represent good value for travellers' money if it has been well-maintained and upgraded with modern amenities.
In others, what was a prime bit of rural roadside a half-century ago is now within the city and in a bad neighbourhood.
In France and Germany a "motel" may refer to any inexpensive roadhouse lodge while in Portugal, Spain, Italy and much of South and Central America the term refers to an establishment which caters primarily to adultery.
Airport hotels 
Airport hotels are in suburban locations suited mostly towards guests arriving or departing from the airport, transit passengers with a significant layover between connecting flights and airline crews. Airport hotels may be connected to an airport terminal or located off-site with shuttle service between the hotel and the airport.
While airport hotels vary in standard of quality, many are part of international hotel chains. These often offer lower rates than a central downtown property of similar standard in a given chain due to their location. Airport hotel strips are constructed in suburbs, often with limited and complicated access to anything but the airport itself, and are prone to aircraft noise (although most airport hotels are sufficiently soundproofed). Airport hotels rarely provide especially desirable room views; serving a utilitarian function, they rarely enjoy the same level of investment in design and facilities as their city centre or resort counterparts. Hotel designers are also restricted in the height of buildings constructed in close proximity to runways and flight paths.
Extended-stay hotels / Aparthotels 
Those hotels are designed to cater for the needs of travellers staying over an extended period of time, anything from four nights to weeks or even months. As such, they straddle the divide between hotels and apartments for rent. The differences are generally that an extended-stay property or aparthotel:
- has been designed solely for the purpose, or converted to suit such purpose, while many rentable apartments are simply parts of regular residential buildings
- contains only rentable rooms, there are no fixed tennats and usually no other uses of the buildings apart from rentable rooms, suites and apartments and common services for the guests
- provide a certain level of shared services, depending on the exact standard of the property, which usually includes a front desk/reception, housekeeping and some measure of on-site gastronomy
The difference between an extended-stay and regular hotel property usually include:
- there is a broader selection of larger rooms and suites than in regular hotels which focus on smaller, single-bedroom units
- rooms and suites usually include a kitchenette / food preparation area for travellers to cater for themselves (regardless of whether other gastronomy options are provided on site)
Such hotels are generally geared towards two groups of travellers. One includes business travellers who are away on business for extended periods of time but do not completely relocate from their permanent residence. Those properties are frequently found within or around cities that are business centres, and are often located next to central business districts, business parks or places a business traveller might want to be close to, as well as being well-connected to transportation infrastructure (road/highway network, airports, railway stations). The other is geared toward leisure travellers wanting to spend a vacation in one place and cater for themselves partially or totally. They are most often found in leisure destinations and may contain fewer business-oriented facilities, while being more oriented towards the needs of travelling families.
Examples of extended-stay hotel chains and brands are:
- Residence Inn and TownePlace Suites from Marriott
- Staybridge Suites from InterContinental Hotels Group
- Homewood Suites by Hilton and Home2 Suites by Hilton
- Adagio and Suite Novotel from Accor
- Hyatt House (formerly known as Summerfield Suites)
Boutique hotels 
This term has become more popular in recent years and has been applied quite liberally by the hospitality industry thanks to its generally positive connotations and ability to enhance the status of a varying array of properties. The general concept is that a "boutique hotel" is a unique property, not one designed to fit a predetermined format or a brand, which is the case with most modern hotel chain properties. The other qualities often associated with the category are a certain degree of luxury as well as small size, but a traveller might find that a hotel referred to as "boutique" lacks either to some extent or completely.
While boutique hotels were typically thought of as independent alternatives to chain hotels, the popularity of the concept and the demands of the modern hospitality markets have led both individual property operators to form or join some type of association or chain, and hotel operating companies to extend their portfolios by acquiring or creating boutique hotels themselves, often under a specifically created brand.
Brands created by large hospitality companies created specifically to include boutique hotels include:
- The Luxury Collection by Starwood
- Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts by Hilton
- MGallery by Accor
Do note, however, that many properties operated under other upscale brands of those and other operators can also be deemed boutique hotels. The main difference is that the abovementioned brands usually do not take precedence over the original name of the property, only being featured in some communications in secondary order.
A different concept is the Ibis Styles (formerly All Seasons) brand of Accor hotels, which was created to allow inexpensive independent properties to join the Accor chain with minimal changes to the properties themselves. Ibis Styles hotels are generally similar in prices and level of service to the company's very uniform regular Ibis hotels, but very wildly in terms of actual property characteristics, locations, and room sizes. One common thing is that Ibis Styles hotels always provide free WiFi and breakfast included in the room rate, contrary to regular Ibis hotels, which often charge extra for both. The Ibis Styles brand is distinguished from regular Ibis by using green in its corporate identity and pillow-shaped logo, while regular Ibis hotels use a red pillow logo. There is some degree of uniformity applied to the design of the Ibis Styles hotels, with accents of green and purple applied to wherever a property requires a renovation.
Grand old hotels 
In many cities, there is one famous old hotel, usually going back to the Victorian era, that was historically the place to stay. Often, these hotels served cross-country rail travellers in an era long before the "jet set" and reliable commercial aviation. Some became landmarks in their own right.
Of course, the newer luxury hotels may have better facilities, but the old place has cachet.
Capsule hotels 
A capsule hotel is a type of hotel developed in Japan that provides guest accomodation in modular plastic or fiberglass blocks (called "capsules") of roughly 2 m (6 ft 7 in) by 1 m (3 ft 3 in) by 1.25 m (4 ft 1 in). A capsule is basically only suitable for laying or sleeping in it, although some also include a television, an electronic console, and wireless internet connection for guests to relax or entertain themselves before going to sleep.
Capsule hotels consist of multiple capsule units places side by side and stacked upon each other to maximize space utilization. Communal facilities are usually very limited and include shared washrooms and luggage lockers (as there is basically no room for luggage in a capsule), but sometimes also restaurants or vending machines. Capsule hotels are intended to provide cheap and basic overnight accommodation for guests not requiring the services offered by more conventional hotels. They are generally rarely, if ever, found outside of Japan but remain popular there.
Hotel services 
Hotels usually provide a range of services that distinguish them from other accomodation options. The array of services rendered usually plays a crucial role in determining the hotel's star rating, and also influences the prices, while being itself influenced by the group of travellers the hotel intends to cater for.
The hotel services may include:
- Front desk / reception, taking care of checking guests in and out, billing them and collecting charges, as well as taking care of various guest requests and enquiries. This facility is found in almost all but some modern self-service facilities, where guests check themselves in and out using automated check-in kiosks
- Housekeeping, taking care of cleaning the guest rooms (as well as common spaces), as well as changing bedsheets and towels, restocking amenities and minibar contents and such. This is pretty much a standard in any kind of hotel property, but the scope and frequency of housekeeping may vary widely
- Bathroom amenities, including towels, toiletries (soap, shower gel, shampoo, body/hand lotion), bathrobes, slippers; non-bathroom amenities include sewing kits and shoe-polishing. Most basic and inexpensive hotels would only provide the very basic of those (if any), while luxury hotels usually pride themselves with a wide selection of complimentary cosmetics bearing an upscale brand and all other amenities from the list.
- Useful appliances such as hairdryers, irons and ironing boards, and refrigerators. Depending on the hotel's standard, they are to be found in every room, can be borrowed from the reception being shared among the guests, are available in common service rooms or are not available at all
- In-room entertainment options such as TV or pay-per-view movies. It was usual in the earlier decades to provide a radio in the room; this function may now be integrated into the TV or alarm clock.
- Internet connectivity by means of wired Internet connection or WiFi, available in the room, specific common areas only or throughout the property. This is becoming standard in most hotels; whether the service is free or paid may vary. It is not uncommon for high-end hotels to charge substantial fees for Internet connectivity or local 'phone service which a more modest property would have included with a room at no extra charge.
- Gastronomy / meal service, discussed above. In economy limited service properties with no restaurant, the room price sometimes includes a "continental breakfast" which consists of simple pastries, muffins, coffee or juice.
- Room service, which is usually understood as the ability to have a member of staff come to the guest's room at any time, or at specifically limited times, and provide them with an item or service. This is most widely used to order food or drink items to be brought to the room.
- Minibar, which is basically a selection of snacks and beverages to be found in the room, which can be consumed by the guests and usually incurs additional charges for every item consumed. Minibar items are often very small in size compared to same products usually available for sale outside of hotels, and even more often are very expensive compared to usual retail prices.
- Tea and coffee-making facilities, which usually boil down to an electric kettle and a set of cups, and is usually provided free and, in Western countries, found standard even in relatively inexpensive hotels. It is common for the hotels to provide single-portion servings of instant coffee, bagged tea, milk or creamer and sugar (nowadays often also artificial sweetners). More upscale hotels would replace or append this with more sophisticated espresso machines using pre-packaged coffee servings, such as Nespresso.
- Turndown service is offered by some more upscale properties, consisting in members of staff converting the room from day to night use
- Wellness, fitness and spa facilities, which often include a fitness room and a swimming pool, less often a sauna, massage/therapy rooms (with staff and services rendered, obviously) and beautician/hairdresser salons.
- Business centres, where business travellers may access equipment and services such as computers, printers, fax and copying machines. In some hotels, fax (at a fixed price per-page) and currency exchange is available at the front desk.
- Concierge, a specific member of staff performing requests such as event and ticket bookings
Hotels may also charge a mandatory fee in addition to the standard room and board charge to provide access to additional facilities. This is typically called a Resort Fee and can include access to things such as exercise facilities, pools, and high-speed internet access.
In some hotels (particularly downtown in medium/large cities) additional fees apply for parking. Airport hotels will sometimes provide shuttlebus services from the hotel to the air terminal at regular intervals.
Star ratings 
The guide below is by necessity a generalization, as star ratings are awarded by each country according to their own rules, and the difference between a 3-star and a 4-star may be something as obscure as having a minibar in each room. It's also worth noting that star ratings are often 'sticky', in the sense that once awarded they're rarely taken away: a four-star built last year is probably still pretty good, but a four-star opened in 1962 and never renovated since may well have turned into a dump.
Individual guidebooks (such as Michelin or the automobile associations) often use their own system with inspectors to award stars or diamonds; these ratings are meaningful only if the rating criteria and date of last inspection are known.
Note also that the ratings are weakening as marketers misuse them. A hotel giving itself five stars means little.
See also Rating systems.
Six and seven-star hotels 
The notion is that a hotel can be six or seven stars is a joke among travel professionals since most respectable hotel rating systems do not give out a rating higher than five stars. The consensus is since so few hotels really can achieve the five star rating then there shouldn't be a rating higher than five stars.
An example of a claimed "seven star" hotel is Dubai's Burj al-Arab. It's certainly one of the most luxurious hotels in the world (as awarded earlier by Conde Nast Traveller Magazine), and is also officially the tallest hotel in the world. In reality, it is a 5 star deluxe property (the alleged seven star status is not often corrected in the media, though).
Five-star hotels 
The five-star hotel is the quintessential luxury hotel, offering thrills above and beyond the actual needs of the travel. They have restaurants and night spots that are world class, with food and entertainment that draw non-guests to sample it too.
Five-star hotels also tend to have opulent and expensive decorations; fancy gyms, swimming pools and spas. Major five-star chains compete to offer the most ludicrous thrills imaginable: Loews offers dog-walking services, while Conrad will let you order from a menu of pillows. Needless to say, all this comes at a steep price, and you're unlikely to be able to justify the expense of a five-star for ordinary business travel. The other downside to five-stardom is that hotels that can jump through all the hoops to achieve the rating are likely to be large and impersonal.
Major chains: Orient-Express Hotels, Conrad (Hilton), Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts, St. Regis, Le Meridien and W (Starwood), InterContinental (IHG), JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton (Marriott), Fairmont, Raffles and Swissotel (FRHI), Shangri-La, Kempinski, Mandarin Oriental, Sofitel (Accor), Four Seasons, Regent, Langham International
Four-star hotels 
The four-star hotel is a comfortable & calm experience not over crowded or impersonal ,rooms should not only be well equipped but should also be of above average size. Everything works smoothly, there's Internet in every room, a well-equipped business center, and breakfast & dinner is available daily, however room service is not obligatory. Hotels are usually checked on a bi-yearly system for many hotel inspection groups & every 5 years for the official recognition of the country.
Major chains: Hilton, Marriott, Novotel (Accor), Crowne Plaza (IHG), Kimpton Hotels, La Cardinale Hotels
Three-star hotels 
Three-star hotels are solid but dull. Your room will have an attached bathroom and there's probably a restaurant downstairs and 24-hour reception service.
Major chains: Mercure (Accor), Courtyard by Marriott, Holiday Inn (IHG), Best Western, Cyprus Hotels
Two-star hotels 
Two stars means no-frills hotel. In most countries two stars means that your room probably has its own bathroom and there's probably a TV and telephone in your room, but rooms are bare-bones and you're unlikely to want to spend any more time than strictly necessary inside.
Major chains: Ibis (Accor), Comfort Inn, Motel 6, Super 8 and Etap
One-star hotels 
You don't see many of these, and with reason. One-stars are not just no-frills, but often downright dodgy: rooms are barely functional, shared bathrooms are somewhere down a corridor and the painted ladies from the all-hours karaoke bar next door dance the horizontal tango all night long in the room next to yours.
Note: There are multiple guides which use differing rating systems; in each, "one star" or "no star" properties include the most marginal hotels or motels to qualify for inclusion in that specific guide. A one-star listing on an official list of every lodge in the region may represent the worst property still lawfully open, while a one-star listing in a Michelin-style guidebook is merely the weakest to still meet a standard high enough to merit a guidebook listing.
Unrated hotels 
Unrated hotels are a mixed bag. Most, it is safe to say, are hotels that are either too dodgy to achieve even the meager requirements of a one-star — or, alternatively, too small and personal to be able to offer (say) 24-hour room service, although the service and amenities offered are otherwise of five-star caliber.
There are also selective hotel groups for smaller properties that generally select for high quality, boutique hotels.
Hotel chains 
Brands, management and ownership 
A "hotel chain" is usually meant to represent a collection of hotels under the same brand, management or ownership. Similar expressions exist in other languages (e.g. "Hotelkette" in Germany, which is a direct analogue), while in some languages the reference to network is used. A hotel chain would usually use a specific brand which becomes a part of the name of every hotel in the chain, and has all the hotels follow a number of standards. Do note, however, that the amount of uniformity and standardization within hotel chains can vary, and a hotel chain may include very different properties of different standards under a common brand.
While not of obvious to travellers it is worth noting that the hotel's brand does not imply its management or ownership. A hotel may be owned by a separate entity and operated by another, unrelated directly to the company providing the brand name by means of franchise agreement. Often hotel chains contain a mix of properties owned and operated by the "mother company", only managed by it and ones that are completely franchised out. For example, most Hilton hotels around the world are not owned, or even operated, by Hilton Worldwide.
Therefore, three types of businesses evolved in conjunction with operating hotels:
- Hotel chain operators, which often act as master franchisees providing brand concepts, names, standards and often management guidance to individual hotel operators. They may or may not assume the role of hotel management companies with all, some or none of the hotels within their chains, and often .
- Hotel management companies, which operate the hotel by employing the staff and using infrastructure to provide hotel services, collecting revenues and splitting them between themselves, the hotel chain operator / franchisor and the owner of the property
- Real estate holding companies, which own the hotel properties. This is often split between developers, who basically create hotels, building them from scratch or refurbishing existing buildings with the help and guidance of hotel chain operators and hotel management companies, and investment companies, who buy already operating hotel properties from developers. In some cases, the same franchisees may own multiple hotels with different brand affiliations for each.
Sometimes a large hospitality company would have separate entities performing each of those roles, which may or may not cooperate on specific properties depending on circumstances and needs. Travellers are almost always only presented with the name of the hotel chain operator and/or the specific brand and it may not be obvious who actually operates and owns the hotel. This may or may not be relevant, as in some chains owned and operated properties might be held to different standards from franchised properties.
Many hotel chain operators choose to operate multiple hotel chains and brands to cater to a wider range of travellers by including properties in multiple price ranges; for instance, a property which does not meet the standards to be a Days Inn can be marketed by the same chain as a Knights Inn. A chain normally associated with full-service hotels can launch an "express" or "econo" marque under different branding to enter the economy limited service price range, where a hotel only has the most basic motel-like amenities, without undermining its core brand. This form of market segmentation often also serves as a means for franchisors to circumvent restrictions where a franchisee is contractually guaranteed a minimum distance between hotels or motels of the same franchised brand.
International brands 
International brands are a popular choice with business travellers, as they generally offer standardized predictability. The downside for leisure travel is that they are rarely very exciting or exotic, and there can still be considerable variation within the brand.
The following lists major international hotel brands only, with over 500 hotels in multiple countries. Local chains can be found in individual country articles.
- Accor  From the luxury Sofitel brand to the basic Etap, Accor has hotels in a range of economic travel segments, from luxury to budget class hotels. Accor Hotels is probably the most established company in Europe and offers great choices for the backpacker and the discerning guests. Accor formerly owned Motel 6, selling it to The Blackstone Group in 2012. Accor's subsidiary Compagnie des Wagons-Lits  provides hotel services for trains.
- Best Western International  is the world's largest hotel brand with more than 4,200 hotels in 80 countries. "The Best Western Motels" were founded in 1946 as a referral chain, a co-operative owned by individual member hotels which each display their own local name alongside the chain's branding. The chain itself does not own any hotel properties. In growing economies (like Armenia or Eastern Europe), interiors of hotels built dozens of years ago have been refurbished and western management introduced for marketing to US/Canadian/Australian travellers.
- Carlson Hotels  is a leading global hotel company with more than 1,080 locations in 78 countries. Its brands include: Radisson®, Country Inns & Suites By CarlsonSM, Park Inn®, and Park Plaza®. Carlson Hotels is part of Carlson, a global hospitality and travel company.
- Choice Hotels International  Brands include- Comfort Inn, Comfort Inn & Suites, Sleep Inn, Quality Inn & Suites, Clarion Hotels, Cambria Suites, Mainstay Suites, Suburban Hotels, Rodeway Inn, and Econo Lodge
- Hilton Hotels  Hotel brands include Conrad, Hilton, Doubletree, Embassy Suites, Waldorf-Astoria, Hampton Inn, and Homewood Suites.
- Hyatt Hotels Hyatt has over 460 hotels and resorts in more than 44 countries. The company brands include Park Hyatt, Grand Hyatt, Hyatt Regency, Hyatt Resorts, Hyatt Place, Hyatt Summerfield Suites and Andaz.
- Fairmont Raffles Hotels International The company brands include Raffles, Fairmont and Swissôtel with 98 hotels and resorts in 27 countries worldwide.
- InterContinental Hotels Group  (IHG) hotel brands include InterContinental, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, Hotel Indigo, Candlewood Suites, and Staybridge Suites. With more than 4,400 hotels in over 100 countries, IHG is the largest hotel group in the world by number of rooms.
- Marriott  hotels include Renaissance, J.W. Marriott, Marriott, Courtyard, Fairfield Inn, Residence Inn, TownePlace Suites, SpringHill Suites, and Marriott Vacation Club International. Marriott also owns Ritz Carlton. .
- Louvre Hotels  brands are primarily located in Europe. The upper brand (Concorde Hotels ) includes Hotel de Crillon or Hotel Martinez. The economic brands include Première Classe  (1 star hotels) or Campanile  hotels, two very well known brands in France and Eastern Europe (more than 800 properties).
- Pan Pacific Hotels and Resortsis a hotel-management company with a portfolio of 15 hotels in 9 countries. The company is a founding member of the Global Hotel Alliance, the world's largest alliance of independent hotel groups.
- Radisson  and its affiliates Country Inn, Park Plaza and Park Inn have over 1700 hotels around the world.
- Starwood Hotels  Starwood hotel brands include Le Meridien, Sheraton, St. Regis, Luxury Collection, Westin, W Hotels, Four Points, Element, and Aloft.
- Wyndham  has 6,500 hotels, concentrated mostly in North America and the Caribbean. Its vast constellation of brands includes Days Inn, Howard Johnson, Ramada, Super 8 and Travelodge. Wyndham Hotels are the upscale brand of this corporate hotel chain. There is wide variation in quality and price between different brands in this chain as Wyndham (and previously Cendant) had acquired many declining marques such as Knights Inn, franchising these as a dumping ground for "conversions" of existing, formerly-independent low-end motels.
Hotel Loyalty Programs 
Hotel Loyalty Programs are corporate sponsored membership clubs for hotel frequent guests and are similar to airline frequent flyer loyalty programs. Membership is free in most hotel chains. The purpose of Hotel loyalty programs are to ensure that a hotel company retains its clients as frequent guests by offering added value benefits for staying as a guest or booking conference rooms and facilities at their hotels. The basic idea is every eligible hotel night or every dollar you spend at hotel brands participating in the corporate hotel loyalty program earns points, which can be exchanged for rewards like hotel rooms, room upgrades and airline miles.
Some hotel chains, particularly in the luxury segment, operate programs that do not award points, but offer frequent guest recognition with added value benefits such as complimentary room upgrades, restaurant and spa discounts, and additional amenities in recognition of the loyal guest.
Hotel co-branded credit cards are a common strategy for earning hotel loyalty points and benefits when not staying at hotels.
An additional incentive for a hotel frequent guest is premium membership. Each corporate hotel loyalty program has its own criteria for elite membership. Hotel loyalty program elite membership is generally earned by a frequent guest when certain thresholds are met for the number of hotel stays, hotel nights, or money spent. A hotel stay is defined as consecutive nights at same hotel under same name, regardless of the number of different reservations.
Elite membership in a hotel loyalty program is generally based on activity within a calendar year. Sleep at the loyalty program member hotels for sufficient nights or stays, or spend enough money and you'll get a silver/gold/platinum/diamond hotel program membership card entitling you to various perks, such as hotel points bonuses, lounge access, free upgrades, guaranteed rooms, etc. High level elite membership in the major hotel chain loyalty programs, generally with the benefit of complimentary room upgrades, takes between 25 and 75 hotel nights in a 12-month period.
Some of the better-known hotel loyalty programs are:
- 1865, for Langham Hotels International. 
- Choice Privileges, for Choice Hotels properties including some international destinations. 
- Fiesta Rewards, the frequent guest program for Grupo Posadas at their following hotel brands: Live Aqua, Fiesta Americana Grand, Fiesta Americana, Fiesta Inn and One Hotels in Mexico as well as Caesar Park and Caesar Business in Brazil, Chile, and Argentina .
- Swissotel Circle, at Swissotel Hotels & Resorts. Swissotel Circle members enjoy exclusive privileges, complimentary upgrades and stays as well as special rates for Weekend Breaks. Formerly known as Club Swiss Gold. 
- Hilton HHonors, at Hilton hotels. Allows guests to "double dip", earning both hotel points and airline miles for the same stay. 
- Hyatt Gold Passport is a rewards and privileges program associated with the entire Hyatt hotel chain. Beginning with the first stay, a Hyatt Gold Passport member can earn and redeem free nights with no blackout dates in over 470 locations worldwide. For information visit 
- Kimpton InTouch, is a rewards program for the Kimpton Group collection of boutique hotels. Members get free wi-fi, earn a complimentary night's stay after every 7 eligible visits or 20 eligible nights, and other perks. 
- Marriott Rewards, for Marriott owned hotels. 
- Pan Pacific Privileges, for Pan Pacific Hotels and Resorts 
- Priority Club, for InterContinental chain hotels (including Holiday Inn). 
- Starwood Preferred Guest, for all Starwood hotels and resorts. Le Meridien's Moments program has been rolled into this. 
- Shangri-La Hotel Golden Circle, at Shangri-La and Traders. The program is unusual for having no points of its own; instead, you can choose to credit miles into various airline programs. Nights and stays are still tracked for premium levels. 
- MaS Rewards, for Sol Melia Hotels & Resorts. Allows guests to earn points for their hotel stays and to get open access to exclusive special offers in solmelia.com 2 days before non-members. 
- ByRequest, for Wyndham branded hotels. Allows guests to earn hotel points for their stays or frequent flyer miles. Additional benefits include free local and long distance calls within the same country, and a welcome snack with drink.