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Hotel: What’s in a Name?

Starwood Hotels - Brands Luxury CollectionIf you’re a travel agent, there are a few key things that will almost certainly be a part of your job. One of the most important is being able to book accommodations for your clients that meet their needs as well as their budgets.

To that end, it is vital that you are familiar with all the different categories of hotels and what each means. After all, a resort is not always the right fit for someone used to a bed and breakfast, and an inn might be a long way from a serviced apartment.


As a travel agent, one of the accommodation choices you will likely see the most often is a resort. Larger and grander than a hotel, a resort tends to be self-contained, allowing guests to meet all of their needs without leaving the property.

Rather than a hotel where guests have to venture offsite in order to dine, see attractions or enjoy the nightlife, a resort often has a variety of facilities and amenities available to visitors.

The staple of the resort is, of course, the accommodation itself, but things like a pool, a spa, dining options, fitness facilities and more are also perks of the location. Many resorts are located in ski destinations or along the beach, which ensures that guests always have something to do nearby.

Boutique Hotels

With accommodations, bigger doesn’t always translate to better. Boutique hotels are smaller, often containing just 10 to 100 rooms or suites, and they offer upscale service.

Boutique hotels may not be preferred by business travelers, but they are ideal for those who want a luxury experience unlike any other, particularly in a big city like New York, London or Paris.

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Inns, Bed & Breakfasts and Pensions

Hotels called inns, bed and breakfasts or pensions are generally independently owned establishments that are smaller than normal. They may be historic, or they may simply be a family-run business.

The common thread between each of these accommodation types is that they typically serve full breakfasts for their guests each morning.

Hostels, Bunkhouses and Dormitories

At the budget end of the spectrum are these accommodation choices. Falling just short of a private room in a hotel, a room in a hostel may be shared, dormitory-style. However, some hostels and dormitories can be enjoyed by groups or families who are willing to share a bigger room without paying a hefty price tag.

Efficiencies, Studios and Serviced Apartments

This is the final category of hotel accommodation, and it is often forgotten about by travelers. Efficiencies, studios and serviced apartments are generally self-contained units with private bedrooms, bathrooms and even fully-equipped kitchens.

These options are a fantastic choice for longer stays as they allow guests to have more space, more privacy and the option of cooking or preparing their own meals. For larger parties or families, they can also be cheaper than adjoining rooms in a resort or a hotel.

Travel agents should be experts on accommodation, and being well-versed on these key categories of hotels is a great first step. Additional help can be found through relationships and resources from host agencies like Travel Planners International.

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