Are you traveling to visit family this holiday season and will be staying in a hotel? Or are you and your loved ones heading somewhere warm and fun for a great winter vacation? Maybe you just travel out of town on business often? No matter what the circumstances, the average person stays in a hotel at least a handful of times every year. So we thought we’d put together some interesting, helpful…and even gross…tips about the U.S. hotel industry.
U.S. hotel industry by numbers-
1. In 2015 the hotel industry generated a staggering $176.7 billion in revenue. Comparing this to the industry’s worst year in the last 15 years, where the industry made “only” $115 billion.
2. The occupancy rate is at an all-time high at roughly 65%. Good news for the hotel industry compared the lowest point in the last 15 years that came in 2006 (52.6%).
3. The average daily rate throughout the U.S. is now a record $121.37. The cheapest average in the last 15 years was in 2002 ($82.53).
4. New York City, NY is the most expensive city to get a hotel room, with an average cost of $271 per night. Whereas Anaheim, CA is the cheapest, with the average being $144.
5. New York City, NY also has the most hotels out of any city. The number currently being at 667, which is minuscule compared to the Beijing (4169).
6. Unsurprisingly, Las Vegas boasts the largest hotel in the U.S. The MGM Grand is the third largest hotel in the world, with 5,690 rooms. What’s more, 23 of the largest 35 hotels in the world are located within the same two-mile radius in Las Vegas.
7. In 1910, the American Hotel Protective Association, or AHLA, was founded. At that time, they discovered that the U.S. hotel industry was made up of 10,000 hotels, 1 million rooms, and roughly 300,000 employees. At year-end in 2012, there were 52,529 hotels, 4.9 million rooms, and the hotel industry employed 1.8 million people. In 2012, hotels employed six times as many people as they did in 1910, but there are only 42,529 more hotels. In 1910, on average, each hotel only employed three people. Now, the average is about 34 people per hotel.
8. The first official hotel in the U.S. was the Union Pacific Public Hotel. It was built in 1793 in Washington, D.C. In 1929, Western Hotels, which we now know as Westin, started their brand with 17 hotels in the Pacific Northwest. They established the first hotel management company in the country.
9. Standing at 1,389 feet tall, the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago is the tallest hotel in the U.S. at 92 stories high. It’s also the fourth tallest building in the U.S.
10. $2.1 billion of the $176.7 billion that is generated from hotels come as fees and surcharges. According to the U.S. Travel Association, “Each U.S. household would pay $1,060 more in taxes without the tax revenue generated by travel and tourism.”
11. Once you've got a specific hotel or chain in mind, bypass calling the 800-number to make a reservation. Instead, do some research about their published rates, and then call the hotel front desk directly to ask what specials they have.
12. If you haven't made a reservation, you might be able to score a lower rate if you time it just right. A little after 5 or 6pm, you have a shot at getting a cheaper room, or at least a better room for a standard price, if the hotel still has vacancies.
13. If you have a mediocre experience at a hotel, call or email the General Manager and explain your stay to them. This will almost guarantee you to be at least upgraded each time you stay. To be on the safe side, build up a good relationship with the GM by calling them before your planned stays in the future, to let them know you are arriving. This will also usually get you an upgrade.
14. If you’re staying somewhere for more than one week, contact the hotel directly to negotiate a lower rate. You can often negotiate up to 75% on nightly rates since it’s much less work for the hotel to keep one customer than to turn over the room constantly.
15. If you have security concerns because your motel door directly opens outdoors where anyone can access, or the hotel is just marginal and you’re worried about break-ins, hang your ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign on the door and crank up the TV when you step out to give the impression that you’re still inside.
16. In 2007, Fox News reported that a hidden camera investigation of several hotels in Atlanta revealed that glasses often go unwashed, or are treated with potentially harmful substances.
17. Bed bugs are on the rise. These pervasive insects are causing major problems in hotels. Just because a hotel is expensive, it doesn't mean it's bed bug free. Bed bugs are difficult to spot, and they spread quickly.
18. E. Coli has been found on 81% on surfaces in hotels- like the telephone, bedside lamp, and the dirtiest of all things in the hotel room… the TV remote control.
19. There have been eight dead bodies found under beds in hotels in the U.S. over the last 30 years.
20. We’ve all seen the cult horror classic ‘Psycho’, right? Well, peepholes are as commonplace as they’ve ever been, and there are plenty of modern-day Norman Bates’ out there. Check for tampered peepholes on your door, as they can be reversed to look in, instead of out.
21. TreeHouse Point- Located only 30 minutes outside of Seattle, this awesome hotel offers many different options for your vacation. Each option allows visitors a tranquil private home to enjoy the ambience of being in the treetops.
22. The Saguaro- This 1950’s Technicolor time capsule in the middle of the desert city of Palm Springs, California, is a great place to spend your vacation. Its simplicity and charm offer a certain joie de vivre experience.
23. Ultima Thule- This luxury lodge in Wrangell–St. Elias National Park and Preserve, Alaska, is 100 miles from the nearest road, and is only accessible by private plane. Here you can sit in the middle of the largest swath of protected land on the planet. After a hard day of fun outdoor activities, your hosts cook up a meal of epic proportions that you can chow down on, before retiring to your quarters.
24. Beckham Creek Cave Lodge- This is a hotel in a cave, in Arkansas. Need I say more?
25. Jules’ Undersea Lodge- Situated 30 feet below the surface of the water at Key Largo Undersea Park in Florida, this cool place is America’s one and only undersea hotel. You can spend the night sleeping with Florida’s marine life.