Hotels are a kind of lodging establishment that offers a variety of services to travelers. These include room accommodations, food and beverage, and other conveniences. They also provide recreational and health care facilities to guests. Guests may be offered other services, such as retail shops and conference facilities. Some hotels provide swimming pools.
In the United States, hotels began to appear in mountain West settlements during the 1860s. The rapid growth of railroads and the canal age greatly increased the volume of travel in America. This led to the construction of the second generation of hotel buildings.
At the turn of the twentieth century, E. M. Statler, a successful hotel entrepreneur, opened the first chain of hotels. His cost-cutting business model was influential in the early twentieth-century hotel industry. He believed that hospitality should be similar in all locations.
Following World War II, the American hotel industry experienced a period of steady growth. This increased the number of people traveling for business or pleasure. During this time, the hotel industry grew into a huge national industry. Hotels were now located in all corners of the country. However, the Great Depression ravaged the industry in the 1930s.
By the 1970s, the United States had become a global tourist destination. This led to the growth of international hotels. Hotels were now major symbols of the American empire. During this period, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other civil rights activists demanded an end to racial discrimination in public accommodations.
Although many hotels faced harassment during the domestic strife of the 1960s, they continued to serve as important centers of social and political activity in American cities. Political figures often gathered in lobbies of hotels to give speeches or raise toasts. A large number of political factions and political parties set up their headquarters in hotels.
The Great Depression and the rise of automobiles influenced the development of the hotel industry. This led to the formation of the motel, a combination of a motor and a hotel. Many of the motels were located along highways, and provided modest accommodation to highway travelers.
After World War II, the hotel industry experienced a third phase of growth. The construction of the interstate highway system made it easier for travelers to reach their destinations. Also, the emergence of reliable passenger aircraft increased the ease of travel.
As a result, the hotel industry became an essential element of the national landscape. It served as a key public forum and became the center of conflict between domestic political groups.
The twentieth-century American hotel industry is a testament to the success of organized labor. When workers joined together, they became an effective force in distributing wealth more evenly. The success of this effort allowed paid vacations for millions of Americans.
The success of the organized labor movement was reflected in the emergence of the second and third generations of hotels. These hotels were built in areas with less economic resources. Their architecture was usually whitewashed or covered with tiered porches.