Hotels vs Motels: What Accommodation Providers Need to Know

March 13, 2024 Justine. S
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If you’re a hotelier, understanding whether your property aligns more with a hotel or motel is pivotal to marketing your property effectively, attracting the right guests, and developing an effective brand strategy.

A hotel is a type of lodging that typically offers more upscale amenities and services, while a motel is a more basic and budget-friendly option that offers simpler amenities.

In this blog, we’ll explore the nuances of each type of hotel and determine whether it meets the criteria of a hotel or a motel. We’ll also provide you with insights on hotel management software that can help you simplify and streamline your operations, leading to increased bookings and revenue. By using these tools, you can provide your guests with an optimal experience tailored to the unique needs of your property.

Let’s Keep it Simple: What’s the Big Difference Between Hotels and Motels?

A hotel is a commercial establishment that offers lodging to travellers and tourists. It is a place where people can stay overnight or for an extended period while away from home.

Hotels typically offer more amenities, such as restaurants, bars, conference rooms, room service, and recreational facilities like pools, spas, and gyms. Hotels can vary in size and style, from boutique to large luxury hotels. Hotels often cater to a higher-end clientele and provide a more luxurious experience.

Some hotels are located in the city center, while others are situated in more secluded areas. The goal of a hotel is to provide a comfortable and hospitable environment for guests, whether they are traveling for business or pleasure.

Colourful motel

A motel, short for “motor hotel,” is a type of accommodation that is designed for travellers who are looking for a simple and cost-effective place to stay for a short period. Motels are usually smaller and often located near highways or major roads for easy access.

They typically offer basic amenities like free parking, Wi-Fi, and in-room facilities such as a mini-fridge and microwave. Motels are ideal for anyone looking for one- or two-day accommodation while in transit to another destination.

Key Differences:

reception bell


Hotels are known for their multiple floors and interior corridors, providing security and privacy. They have more staff available to cater to guests’ needs and usually feature on-site restaurants and bars for dining options.

Typically, hotels can be categorised in various ways, depending on their location and size. They can be classified by stars, usually one to five stars, or a type of hotel that includes extended stays, flat hotels, boutique hotels, budget hotels, conference hotels, luxury hotels, limited-service hotels, and inns.

Here are a few facts about Hotels:

  • Hotels typically offer a wide range of amenities and services to cater to the needs of their guests. These may include on-site restaurants, concierge services, fitness centers, spas, swimming pools, and business facilities.
  • Guests can expect a higher level of service at hotels, with features such as daily housekeeping and in-room amenities like toiletries, robes, and slippers.
  • Hotels often have multiple room options, from standard rooms to suites, providing guests with a variety of choices to suit their preferences and budgets.
  • Hotels can also be categorised into different types of hotels, such as luxury hotels, boutique hotels, budget hotels, resort hotels, and more, each offering a unique experience and catering to the different needs and preferences of the guests.


Motels, however, tend to be confined to convenient locations close to roads and highways, often outside cities but along popular tourist routes. Hence, the exterior corridors, with rooms that open directly to the parking lot, offering easier access to vehicles.

Unlike hotels, motels are generally smaller and have only one or two floors, and they are typically designed for short stays.

Here are a few facts about Motels:

  • A continental breakfast is not offered, but they may have a quick, basic breakfast with foods like eggs, bread, and cereal.
  • Motels can be the cheapest places to stay near popular destinations, which makes them an attractive option for budget-conscious travellers.
  • The number of staff members is also typically smaller, and they may not have as many specialised roles.
  • Services like daily housekeeping or 24-hour reception may be limited in motels compared to hotels, reflecting the differences in their target clientele and pricing structures.

Cost and Affordability

the word

Hotel Costs:

Hotels are often associated with higher costs due to their amenities, location, and services offered. Prices vary significantly depending on the hotel’s star rating, location, and room type. Luxurious hotels with extensive facilities usually come with a higher price tag.

Motel Costs:

Motels are designed for motorists seeking a quick stopover. They are known for their affordable rates and basic amenities. Motels are ideal for budget-conscious travellers or those looking for a quick and convenient place to stay without the frills of a hotel, so they tend to be more affordable due to their location outside bustling city centers.

Target Audience and Customer Base

Colourful motel


  1. Business travellers seeking comfort and luxury.
  2. Families looking for a range of amenities and services.
  3. Tourists that prefer a central location with easy access to attractions.
  4. Conference or event attendees who require meeting spaces and catering services.


  1. Budget-conscious travellers looking for affordable accommodation.
  2. Road trippers seeking a convenient place to rest for the night.
  3. Travellers who prefer proximity to highways or major roads.
  4. Individuals seeking basic amenities for a short stay rather than luxury services.

The All-In-One PMS: What Every Accommodation Business Needs

RoomRaccoon PMS

Whether your property is a hotel or motel, managing an accommodation business can be challenging. That’s why a software solution that fits the needs of your unique accommodation business is your best strategy to market your property effectively, increase your ROI, drive direct bookings, increase occupancy, and so much more.

Where do you find specific software like this? Well, we are happy to introduce RoomRaccoon’s all-in-one property management software that recognises and adapts to the different nuances of each property type, providing a tailored solution that aligns seamlessly with the essence of your establishment.

Here are some specific features every accommodation business needs:

Reservation Dashboard:
As an accommodation provider, you know how essential a reservations calendar is, and RoomRaccoon’s PMS provides just that. This easy-to-use calendar dashboard gives you an instant snapshot of all your reservations in one place.

Plus, the easy “drag and drop” feature allows you to move or upgrade room reservations with real-time status updates, making it a breeze to manage your bookings.

Booking Software: An easy-to-use, commission-free booking engine is an essential tool every property type needs. Hotel booking software allows guests to book their rooms directly on your website, eliminating the need for third-party booking agents and commissions.

By providing a visually appealing property website along with a booking engine, you can significantly increase your bookings. This strategy works particularly well for travellers who are seeking more affordable rates or require additional details before making a reservation.

Channel Manager: A channel manager is essential to promote your hotel or motel on multiple online travel agencies and booking sites for maximum visibility to potential travellers. The tool syncs your listings, calendars, and availability across all the channels you advertise on so you can keep them up-to-date without the need to log into different extranets.

Final Verdict: Which property type is your accommodation?

When deciding between a hotel and a motel, it ultimately comes down to your business preferences and priorities.

Choose a hotel if:

  • You want to offer a higher level of service and amenities to your guests.
  • You offer a more luxurious and comfortable stay.
  • You are willing to invest in added conveniences and facilities to justify a higher price point.
  • You provide guests access to on-site restaurants, bars, pools, spas, and other recreational activities during their stay.

Choose motel if:

  • You are looking for a budget-friendly accommodation option.
  • You offer a more straightforward and no-frills experience for your guests.
  • You are just looking to provide a place to rest for the night during a road trip or short stay.
  • You provide easy access to your guests’ rooms directly from the parking lot.

Ready to optimise your property management strategy and keep your guests happy?
Book a demo with us today and get a free trial of our hotel software, tailored to suit your business needs.

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Justine. S

Justine is a Content Manager at RoomRaccoon, bringing her background in language and communication studies to the SaaS world. When she's not writing about the latest trends in the industry, she's probably out exploring the world or indulging her love of pink.

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