A Brief History of the Hotel Industry (2024)

From ancient to modern times

In the beginning, there was a fire at the hearth, a warm meal and a roof over one‘s head. Thus begins the history of the hotel industry. People have been providing hospitality for weary travellers since our ancestors inhabited the earth about 100,000 to 200,000 years ago.

Some years down the line, in the age of antiquity, spas and bathhouses often provided sleeping facilities and were popular attractions for those seeking rest and relaxation.

In medieval times, it was mostly cloisters and abbeys that provided travellers with accommodation. It was also during this period that more and more inns and guesthouses were opened on popular trade routes to provide food and lodging for travelling merchants and their horses.

These were not hotels as we know them today. Hotel chains such as the “Ritz” only came into being hundreds of years later and were a manifestation of the growing prosperity of developing industrial nations.

The hotel industry, which always strove to meet a changing society’s needs and demands, has meanwhile developed into a highly complex branch of the economy. Today, the hotel industry includes all categories of establishments from inexpensive guesthouses to luxurious 5 star hotels. Hotel management strategies have had to adapt to these developments and it could be said that these strategies have even entered the realm of science. The demand for and the choice of subjects that can be studied such as hotel or hospitality management show the increasing academisation of the hotel industry.

Milestones of the Hotel Industry

From caves to skyscrapers

A Brief History of the Hotel Industry (1)

  • The Lascaux caves that are part of the Unesco World Cultural Heritage are considered to be the first shelter where both an artistic cultural background as well as the accommodation of people of a different tribe can be proven. The exact dating of the caves is disputed, but they are said to be as old as 38,000 to 15,000 BCE.
  • It gets a little more concrete in classical Pompeii; hard evidence of a Lupanar, a bordello dating back to the year 69 BCE was found. This bordello is considered to be the first proven hospitality establishment that also charged for lodging.
  • The first real guesthouses can be traced back to the early eighth century in Japan. The Nishiyama Onsen and Hoshi Ryokan are the first hotels in human history: 47 generations later, the latter establishment is still owned by the original family.
  • It took another millennium for the first establishment to call itself a hotel. The Grand Hotel opened its doors in London on 25th January 1774.
  • Today, just 250 years later, there are countless (according to estimates, over 500,000) hotels and gastronomical establishments around the world.
  • According to the Guinness Book of Records, the biggest hotel in the world with 7351 rooms is the First World Hotel in Pahang, Malaysia.
  • The Ritz-Carlton in Hong Kong has the distinction of being the highest hotel in the world. The hotel is located on the 102nd to the 118th floor of the International Commerce Center and lies at an altitude of 484 meters.
  • The record holder for the all time most expensive hotel to be sold is the Waldorf Astoria New York in Manhattan. It was sold to the Chinese Anbang Insurance Group for 1,95 billion US dollars in 2014.

Better, further, faster

Travelling in the 20th century

The technological, economical and social developments in the 19th and particularly the 20th century lead to huge changes in the hotel industry. Travelling was no longer just for the privileged upper classes. The invention of trains and automobiles as well as social benefits such as holidays and reduced working hours made it possible for the average person to indulge in travel.

The second half of the 20th century saw a huge economic boom in industrial nations which lead to increased travel amongst the larger populace. It wasn’t just newly acquired wealth that promoted more travel; the population explosion, urbanisation and demographic developments all contributed to an increased desire to travel and the growth of the tourism and hotel industry. As a consequence of this increased demand, many more guesthouses, hostels, motels or international hotel chains that catered to various target groups and in different price categories opened all over the world. Another development in the hospitality industry was the categorisation of different types of hotels; to name just a few, there are now spa and wellness hotels, sports hotels, seminar hotels, resorts, casino hotel and motels. In the US alone, 35,000 motels were built between 1939 and 1960.

The expansion of international air travel gave the hotel and tourism industry a further boost. The cost of flight tickets has been on the decrease since the 1970s and, since the age of the so-called “cheap airlines”, travel all over the world has become more affordable.

In comparison to other industries, the travel industry was quick to take advantage of the rise of the internet and offer easy and inexpensive travel options. It is now possible for customers to book, compare and review hotels, flights and car hires from the comfort of their homes.

From Little Things Big Things Grow

Impacts on the hotel industry

As can be seen, the historyand growth of the travel industry has not been linear; it has grown exponentially. Rapid technological advances have made a huge impact on the industry in more ways than one. It has been and continues to be difficult for hotels to keep up with the pace of development. Established ways of doing things remained the same for centuries, then decades and, finally, years. Today, changes have to be adapted to on a near daily basis. However, the core business of the hotel industry has not changed significantly. Hotel guests in the 21st century may have different wants and needs to guests in the 18th century, but the basic principles of the accommodation and hospitality industry have remained the same.

However, as circumstances surrounding the industry have changed, managing a hotel now requires extensive knowledge of hotel and hospitality management. Knowing about business management, online marketing, review and revenue management and much more is indispensable to running a successful establishment.

Taking the rapidly increasing developments in the field into consideration, it is hardly surprising that small hotels in particular find it difficult to cope with the huge demands of the digital aspects of the hospitality industry.

Opportunities in Modern Hotel Industry

Customer Alliance as partners for your review management

The digitalisation and academisation of the hotel industry does, however, present an opportunity to distinguish yourself from your competitors by utilising these new technologies in addition to applying hotel management knowledge. Read about how Instant Survey improves guest experiences at The Mandala Hotel

Nobody can be an expert in all fields and it is well worth distributing some of the responsibilities of hospitality managed onto other strong capable shoulders. As always, it is of utmost importance to choose the right partners.

The hotel industry has come to a point in time where online reviews are often the decisive factor when booking accommodation. Professional review management is vital if you don’t want to fall behind in the competition with other hotels and online travel agencies.

A Brief History of the Hotel Industry (2)

Talk to us and discover new opportunities for your business with our solution. We are the leading German company in the field of review management with over 4,000 satisfied clients.

Don’t be daunted by the rapid evolution in the hotel industry and the customer experience. Together, we can find ways to help you use these developments to your advantage.

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Additional Literature

A Brief History of the Hotel Industry (2024)

FAQs

What can you say about the history of hospitality industry? ›

The ancient history of the hospitality industry began in 15,000 BCE with teh Lascaux caves in France which were developed to accommodate members of other tribes. In classical antiquity we learn about Greek and Roman spas popular for those seeking rest and relaxation.

What is the history of hotel? ›

One of the first hotels in a modern sense was opened in Exeter in 1768. Hotels proliferated throughout Western Europe and North America in the early 19th century, and luxury hotels began to spring up in the later part of the 19th century. Hotel operations vary in size, function, complexity, and cost.

What is hospitality industry Short answer? ›

The hospitality and tourism industry is a vast sector that includes all the economic activities that directly or indirectly contribute to, or depend upon, travel and tourism. This industry sector includes: Hotels & Resorts. Restaurants & Catering. Night Clubs & Bars.

What is hotel management short answer? ›

Hotel management is an area of the hospitality industry that involves overseeing the operations of a hotel location. When working as a hotel manager, you may manage the operations of a motel, resort or another similar establishment that provides lodging and other services for guests.

What is hospitality industry in your own words? ›

The goal of the hospitality industry is to provide customers with an enjoyable experience. Whether that enjoyment comes from eating a good meal, relaxing in a luxurious spa, or getting a good night's rest away from home, making sure each individual guest is taken care of is paramount.

What is hospitality industry summary? ›

Hospitality is an industry that includes restaurants, hotels, casinos, amusement parks, events, cruises, entertainment, and other tourism-related services. As such, this industry isn't just important to businesses, but also to customers, employees, and economies.

Why is hotel industry important? ›

The hotel industry is one of the most important components of the wider service industry, catering for customers who require overnight accommodation. It is closely associated with the travel industry and the hospitality industry, although there are notable differences in scope.

What is the main purpose of hospitality industry in early history? ›

A It was considered as the duty of the Christians to offer hospitality to travelers and pilgrims. A Monasteries functioned as inns, providing accommodations and food for the weary traveler.

What is the main purpose of a hotel? ›

The primary purpose of hotels is to provide travelers with shelter, food, refreshment, and similar services and goods, offering on a commercial basis things that are customarily furnished within households but unavailable to people on a journey away from home.

What is the most important thing in the hospitality industry? ›

Service is the key in the Hospitality Industry

Good service is the key to success in any hospitality business. Many customers rely on internet reviews to decide whether to visit a business – and just a couple of dissatisfied customers sharing their experiences online can quickly put you out of business.

What is a good sentence for hospitality? ›

A warm welcome and hospitality awaits all participants. We thank this institution for its hospitality. They thank the staff for their hospitality. I wanted to explore the multiple ways in which women engaged in the politics of hospitality, how they spoke of their own generosity, their own civility and power.

What have you learned in hospitality industry? ›

You not only learn the upper-level management skills and the operation processes in hospitality, but you may also develop marketable skills such as teamwork, leadership, design thinking, finance and budgeting, as well as marketing.

What is the full meaning of hotel? ›

Definition of hotel

(Entry 1 of 2) : an establishment that provides lodging and usually meals, entertainment, and various personal services for the public : inn. Hotel. communications code word.

Why is hotel management important? ›

Hotel management is critical to the success of a guest accommodation business, and the management and finance department oversees the core day-to-day operations. This can include managing hotel services, overseeing events, devising strategies, solving problems, and meeting with business partners.

What is hotel short note? ›

A hotel or a guest-house is a large building with many rooms, where people can sleep when they are not at home.

What is the hotel industry called? ›

The hospitality industry spans across service industry sectors such as restaurants, hotels and the broader tourism industry (e.g. cruise ships).

How would you describe your hospitality skills? ›

Having good hospitality skills includes the ability to be friendly and professional with customers at all times, to anticipate and meet customers' needs and to be meticulously organised so that the company's operations run smoothly.

How would you best describe service and hospitality? ›

But simply put, service is defined as handling tasks for someone else from physical labor to providing information. Hospitality is defined as an interaction. It's the friendly and generous reception of guests, visitors, or strangers.

How do I write a summary for hospitality resume? ›

Examples of a Hospitality Worker Resume Summary Statement

Refined leader and team player. Up-to-date training in health and hygiene best practices. Friendly hospitality worker committed to customer satisfaction. Enthusiastic, energetic professional with exceptional communication skills.

What is hospitality industry essay? ›

It is the pure relation between the guest and host. The field work include the management of hotels, restaurants & other tourist attractions comprising of the hospitality industry facets of hospitality management includes – TOURISM MANAGEMENT, HOTEL MANAGEMENT, EVENT MANAGEMENT, RESORT MANAGEMENT, etc..

Why hospitality is important in our life? ›

Hospitality matters because it deepens existing relationships and creates the space for new ones to flourish. Hospitality matters because it feeds the most basic human need that we all have, to feel loved and accepted. That is not something to overlook.

What factors affect the hotel industry? ›

Additional Factors Affecting Hotel Performance in 2022
  • Staffing shortages. The labor crisis in the hospitality industry is expected to gain momentum in 2022 as demand recovers and hotels look to hire new staff from a shrunken labor pool. ...
  • Scaled-back services. ...
  • Inflation.
23 Feb 2022

Why is it important to understand the history and evolution of the lodging service industry? ›

We can know about services and amenities. Not only we can reserve our stay but we can also pay in advance. The recent trends in the evolution of hospitality industry favor the construction of hotels which has a classic historic touch integrated with modern services.

What was the first hotel? ›

The Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, a Japanese resort not far from Mount Fuji, has been in business since 705 A.D. The hotel has been passed down within the same family for 52 generations. Guinness World Records has officially recognized it as the oldest continuously running hotel in the world.

How are hotels classified? ›

Hotel classification is the ranking of hotels, usually by using nomenclature such as stars (or diamonds), with one star denoting basic facilities and standards of comfort and five stars denoting luxury in facilities and services.

What is most important to hotel guests? ›

Cleanliness matters

The most important expectation has and always will be cleanliness. Lack of cleanliness is among the top complaints about hotel stays. Good cleanliness often goes unnoticed, but poor hotel hygiene will always be something guests remember about their hotel stay.

What are 5 examples of the hospitality industry? ›

While the hospitality industry covers several different services, it can generally be defined through five different sectors. These sectors include food and beverages, lodging, recreation, travel and tourism, and meetings and events.

How do you show good hospitality? ›

Making guests feel comfortable in your home has never been easier and is a great way to show off your hospitality skills.
  1. 1 Greet Them at the Door. ...
  2. 2 Don't Tell Them to Take off Their Shoes. ...
  3. 3 Shake Their Hand. ...
  4. 4 Offer Them a Drink. ...
  5. 5 Start a Conversation. ...
  6. 6 Feed Them a Meal. ...
  7. 7 Send Them Home with a Treat.

What is hospitality service give example? ›

The hospitality industry is a broad category of fields within the service industry that includes lodging, food and drink service, event planning, theme parks, travel and tourism. It includes hotels, tourism agencies, restaurants and bars.

What is your greatest strength in hotel industry? ›

The right person in Hospitality is someone who wants to make their customers comfortable; someone who cares about the customers and who is willing to go above and beyond for them.

What can we learn from hotel? ›

Hospitality training will teach you the importance of speaking to every customer and guest in a professional, polite, and warm fashion. It will also help you develop the kinds of communication skills that employers expect their employees to use amongst themselves in any professional hospitality workplace.

What is hotel and its types? ›

Hotels can be categorized in a variety of ways, such as by size, location, services, star rating, and amenities. Hotels are most commonly categorized by the level of service (full or limited) and property type (full-service resort, limited-service hotel, and so on).

How many hotels are in the world? ›

The global hotel market

STR estimates there are 17.5 million guestrooms in 187,000 hotels worldwide, but nobody knows the actual figures.

What is ABC in hotel industry? ›

ABC. ABC stands for Ashtray, Budvase and Cruet. ABC is kept at the centre of the table while laying the cover. Back of the House. Back of the house is the ancillary area of the restaurant, where all the supporting service is carried out.

What are hotel owners called? ›

A hotelier is a person who runs or owns a hotel. If you stay at a hotel, you may never see the hotelier, who is responsible for hiring and managing staff and keeping things running smoothly.

What are the values of hotel? ›

Core Values
  • Delivering Quality.
  • Living Integrity.
  • Supporting Community.
  • Growing Profitability.
  • Having Fun.

Who is called hotel? ›

1. Hotel, house, inn, tavern refer to establishments for the lodging or entertainment of travelers and others. Hotel is the common word, suggesting a more or less commodious establishment with up-to-date appointments, although this is not necessarily true: the best hotel in the city; a cheap hotel near the docks.

How does a hotel system work? ›

A hotel reservation system works by processing secure online reservations made through a hotel's website. The data is then passed onto a backend system which can be accessed by hotels to manage bookings. Other features may come with it – for example, the automation of reservation confirmation emails.

› All ›

It is closely associated with the travel industry and the hospitality industry, although there are notable differences in scope. In this article, you will learn...
But it is the American entrepreneurs who credited with literally changing the face of the hospitality industry with their innovation and aggressive marketing. P...
A restaurant is an example of a hospitality business. Restaurants generally rely on a high level of customer satisfaction to stay afloat. If patrons are displea...

What is the main purpose of hospitality industry in early history? ›

A It was considered as the duty of the Christians to offer hospitality to travelers and pilgrims. A Monasteries functioned as inns, providing accommodations and food for the weary traveler.

What have you learned about hospitality industry? ›

Working in hospitality teaches you skills you could not learn anywhere else. It teaches you about prioritization, about swift problem-solving, about communication, about humility, and about how people act when they're seriously hungry—like monsters—and how to keep a smile on your face despite that.

What do you think about hospitality industry? ›

The hospitality industry allows you to develop yourself – professionally and as a person. Not only do you improve on the professional skills you already possess, but with time and commitment you learn others due to the variety of colleagues, clients and situations that will put you to the test.

What is the best way to describe hospitality? ›

Merriam Webster's Dictionary defines hospitality as, “generous and friendly treatment of visitors and guests or hospitable treatment.” Dictionary.com goes further to define it as, “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”

What is the most important thing in hospitality industry? ›

Service is the key in the Hospitality Industry

Good service is the key to success in any hospitality business. Many customers rely on internet reviews to decide whether to visit a business – and just a couple of dissatisfied customers sharing their experiences online can quickly put you out of business.

What is the most important factor in the hospitality industry? ›

Communication is the most crucial skill for a hotel team. A hotel manager should train their employees to communicate to reduce errors and miscommunication.

What is the importance of services to the hotel industry? ›

Indeed, an excellent customer service will improve the relationship between your guests and your establishment. Also, satisfied guests are more likely to come back and be loyal to your hotel, as they will become true brand ambassadors.

What can we learn from hotel? ›

Hospitality training will teach you the importance of speaking to every customer and guest in a professional, polite, and warm fashion. It will also help you develop the kinds of communication skills that employers expect their employees to use amongst themselves in any professional hospitality workplace.

What is the importance of the hospitality industry in human lives? ›

The hospitality industry is relied upon by people all over the world to provide experiences and services that make people happy and comfortable. For travelers, knowing that you can stay in lodgings when you arrive at your destination and be able to eat is very important when you are setting out on a journey.

Why knowledge is important in hospitality industry? ›

Effective knowledge management in the hospitality industry can help your staff go above and beyond for guests, providing the service and experience they demand—and giving your establishment a competitive advantage.

How do you answer tell me about yourself in hospitality industry? ›

Tell me about yourself. SUGGESTED ANSWER: “I am a hard-working, conscientious and flexible person who can work either on my own or as part of a team. I have chosen a career in hospitality because I enjoy interacting with other people, I like serving customers, and I enjoy the challenges that come with the role.

What do you mean by hotel industry? ›

Put simply, the hotel industry is the section of the service industry that deals with guest accommodation or lodgings. By most definitions, the hotel industry refers not only to hotels, but also to many other forms of overnight accommodation, including hostels, motels, inns and guest houses.

What are the impact of hospitality industry to economy and society? ›

Positive impacts from this economic boom include robust foreign exchange, increases in income, and GDP growth. Tourism can also offer diverse employment opportunities, can be developed with local products, and is often compatible with other economic activities within a destination.

How would you describe your hospitality skills? ›

Having good hospitality skills includes the ability to be friendly and professional with customers at all times, to anticipate and meet customers' needs and to be meticulously organised so that the company's operations run smoothly.

What's another word for hotel industry? ›

Synonyms for hotel industry in English

hotel industry; hotel business; hotels; hotel trade; hotel and catering industry.

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