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The Parisian Hotel Ritz
Porto Carras in Chalkidiki . The hotel complex, made up of several individual hotels, was designed by Walter Gropius in the 1960s
Hotel Kämp , a historic 5 star - Grand Hotel in the center of Helsinki , Finland

A hotel is an accommodation and catering business for guests against payment. It's a tourist , the hotel and catering industry zuzuordnendes companies . The term hotel industry applies to the industry .

Word origin

The French hôtel , borrowed as a hotel, comes from the French-Provençal ho (s) tel and Latin hospitale (compare the word hospital ) in the 17th century for "accommodation facility" . These words are in turn related to French hôte 'host, landlord' . The root of the word refers to the Latin hospes 'guest' . With French Hôtel for particulier Hôtel town houses of the designated in the 17th century France nobility . In the pre-revolutionary times, the city ​​palace of the landlord was the administrative building of his estates. The name goes into French on public buildings as Hôtel de ville (the " town hall " in German). The stately, representative furnishings of the city palace correspond to the later rededication of guest houses with high standards. The word hotel found its use in many languages ​​from France.


A distinction is to be made between the hotel industry in its own sense of the word and all establishments in the hotel industry that offer similar services, but weight one of the central services offered by a hotel differently. These include in particular:

  • Boarding-house : a reception is not always occupied and there is usually a private setting, similar to a private accommodation
  • Guest houses : are primarily active as catering establishments for walk-in customers , primarily only with possible overnight stays for house guests
  • Dormitory : for specific groups of people (apprentice, single, student dormitories, senior citizen accommodation), there is often no other service
  • Para- hotel business: as a comprehensive term for numerous small forms of the hospitality industry, the distinction is usually based on other offers
  • all non-commercial (non-commercial) accommodation and catering ultimately also belongs to the industry

Types of hotel business

Differentiation from hotel companies

In the hotel industry, a distinction can be made between private and corporate hotels. Private hotels are legally and economically independent individual hotels; in the group hotel business, legally dependent hotels in a chain are managed by a group. Private hotels without partnerships are part of the individual hotel business. Occasionally, private hotels join hotel cooperations in which all participating hotels try to increase their own benefits.

In addition, there are private hotels that belong to a hotel chain as part of a franchise agreement and the corresponding uniform branding . In contrast to group companies, you always remain legally and economically independent. As part of vertical integration, you have to follow the mostly strict guidelines of the franchisor. Branded hotels always appear in the form of hotel groups or cooperations.

In German-speaking countries, private hotels are largely run by the owners themselves. In addition, there manager out houses and leased houses . In the case of owner management, legal forms are those of the sole proprietorship or the GmbH .

A demarcation within the private hotel industry is difficult, as each private hotel has its own characteristics. They differ in company size, standard, alternative offers, equipment and management. With regard to the location, there are differences between the private city and the private rural or holiday hotel industry. City hotels are mostly managed by a manager and are primarily used as an overnight or conference facility; the short length of stay is typical. Private country or holiday hotels are mostly owner-managed and differ from one another through themed service offers . The target groups are guests who are interested in relaxation, rest or sport, the number of bookings fluctuates depending on the location in the season.

In Europe, in terms of the number of businesses, the private hotel industry is particularly characteristic, whereas the North American market is almost exclusively characterized by the chain hotel industry.

The Hotel Les Trois Rois in Basel is one of the oldest hotels in Switzerland

History of the hotel industry

The first hotel in the world with the name allegedly opened the hairdresser David Low in London's Covent Garden as a "Grand Hotel" on January 25, 1774. Until then, there were only furnished rooms or more catering- oriented restaurants .

The hotel gained its importance in the course of the 19th century, especially in the Belle Epoque , when in the Wilhelminian building boom across Europe, representative buildings were built in the cities in the middle-class and entrepreneurial environment as well as in the spa sector, where the large, often remote areas were built monumental spa hotels with a castle-like character gained enormous social importance. The number of beds increased steadily; The record holder was the “Stevens”, which opened in Chicago in 1927, for a long time. Starting in the USA, hotel chains emerged mainly after the Second World War , some of which have hundreds of hotels all over the world under a common head office.

The history of the hotel industry has been shaped by the history of tourism (see e.g. tourism in Germany , tourism in Austria , tourism in Switzerland ). Tourism ( history of travel ) was in turn influenced by the development of means of transport , especially the history of the railroad and the history of the automobile . For the modern age, social legislation ( vacation ), the increasing prosperity of many citizens since the second half of the 19th century and population growth have an impact in Europe (see demography of Germany , demography of Austria , demography of Switzerland ).

Equipment of a hotel

Stars designation
First class
De Luxe

The most common hotel classification is the hotel star . This is handled differently nationally, in Europe one to five stars are common. One is applying German hotel in the Dehoga a Hotel Stern, a distinction is made between five different classification levels, the addition of "Superior" is always possible. These levels are differentiated by room facilities and service as well as additional offers by the hotel. A hotel has at least one reception ( reception ) and rooms for accommodation with bed, wardrobe, table and washing facilities as well as a restaurant that offers at least one breakfast .

Larger hotels have a reception and lounge area ( lobby ), at least one restaurant , a bar and, depending on the category, a fitness area with or without a swimming pool, garage and other facilities. The furnishings of the rooms also vary. There are often showers and occasionally bathtubs. Further equipment features can be a television, internet connection and minibar.

Hotel Concorde in Lara, Turkey

In contrast to guest houses, hotels have a reception. In the case of hotels in the De-Luxe category (5 stars) , the reception must be manned around the clock. There are hotels in different price and comfort classes - depending on the country in their own classifications for a certain category according to hotel stars . There is no standardized catalog of criteria worldwide. Basically, one-star hotels are very simply equipped, five-star hotels, on the other hand, are extremely luxurious , although the evaluation standards differ from country to country. In Germany, the stars are based on various performance, equipment and quality features set by the German Hotel and Restaurant Association (DEHOGA).

The largest hotel in Germany in terms of the number of beds is the Estrel in Berlin with 1125 rooms, the largest worldwide is the First World Hotel in Malaysia with 7351 rooms. The smallest hotel in Germany with only three rooms is the Hotel einschlaf in Wolfsburg. The seven-star hotels named as the most luxurious hotels in the world are the Burj al Arab in Dubai and the Emirates Palace Hotel in Abu Dhabi , United Arab Emirates .

The oldest hotel in Germany is the Pilgrimhaus in Soest , founded in 1304. The oldest in Japan is the Ryokan Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan, founded in 705, and the second oldest, the Hōshi , founded in 718.

Historically, certain hotels had facilities such as a hotel post office .

Hotel typology

Long hotel corridor in the Bellagio in Las Vegas
Hotel advertising around 1900 (Australia)
Sleeping cabin in Osaka

The hotel industry covers different guest requirements. Hotels can be classified according to various other criteria in addition to the quality and scope of the offer ( i.e. broken down according to hotel stars ).

Catering, service and special services

Target groups

  • There are differentiated according to target group
    • Children's ,
    • Cyclists and
    • Non smoking hotels.
    • Pilgrim hotels (hostels)
    • Women's hotels are exclusively for women, many are run exclusively by women. Businesswomen traveling alone and holidaymakers with small children often make use of them, some sometimes expand their offerings for pregnant women.
    • Wellness hotels
    • Nursing hotels are a comparatively new offer with barrier-free vacation options for people in need of care or mobility-impaired people and their relatives or care partners.
  • Depending on the type of travel, a distinction is made between hotels for

Type of residential units

An important differentiating criterion is the size and equipment of the residential units.

The living and sleeping areas are functionally separated here, and the bedroom is often a separate room. In suite hotels, the accommodation units usually contain a refrigerator, microwave and coffee maker, in apartment hotels a fully equipped kitchen. From the point of view of the hotel operator, a hotel with a large proportion of apartments is more cost-effective because it can be operated with fewer staff and can (in Austria) also be built in a residential area.

A capsule hotel is a relatively new, particularly space-saving form of hotel in Japan. There are no guest rooms and guests are accommodated in honeycomb-shaped capsules stacked on top of one another - they can only be used lying down. Baths or toilets are available as communal facilities. In most capsule hotels there are also common rooms to stay in, similar to a TV room. Nevertheless, the capsules are usually individually equipped with a television at eye level in order to guarantee a minimum of comfort. Often business travelers or commuters use capsule hotels, which are mostly - similar to a motel - at traffic junctions.

Also on the Danube Cycle Path in Ottensheim around 2008 a minimalist sleeping cabin for two people in the shape of a tube was built on a meadow, which can be booked online and then opened using a number code.


In addition, hotels are classified according to their location.

  • Depending on their transport connections, there are train station hotels (for example the Intercity Hotels in Germany ) and airport hotels . In the past, the railway hotels were used.
  • Motels are located directly or in the immediate vicinity of major road links and motorways. At least one parking space is available per guest room, as well as a 24-hour check-in facility. Because of their convenient location in terms of transport, motels are increasingly being chosen as the venue for seminars, conferences and meetings (MICE sector). The first motels appeared in the USA at the beginning of the 20th century and are common along the long highways.
  • According to the environment, there is a division into
    • City hotels and
    • Country hotels as well
    • Mountain hotels ,
    • Sea and beach hotels and
    • Park hotels with a special scenic location.

Themed hotels

Due to the type of construction or the location, some hotels are attractions with a promotional character.

  • Tree hotels are built into trees that serve as a support structure. Some examples are the Costa Rica Tree House in Gandoca Manzanillo Natural Park, Costa Rica; the Treetops Hotel in Aberdare National Park, Kenya; the Ariau Towers near Manaus, Brazil; and the Bayram's Tree Houses in Olympos, Turkey.
  • In Nax Mont-Noble , a Swiss village in the Valais Alps, construction began on the first hotel made of straw bales in October 2011. The Maya Guesthouse opened exactly one year later in October 2012. The insulation value of the walls and ceilings is so great that no conventional heating is required, even though the place is at an altitude of 1,300 meters. The energy concept is designed in such a way that the excess heat is stored and used to heat the shower water.
  • The zero-star hotel in Teufen AR in Switzerland and the Concrete Mushrooms in Albania are former nuclear bunkers that have been converted into hotels.
  • Some hotels host their guests underwater, such as the Utter Inn in Lake Mälaren , near Västerås , Sweden . The Hydropolis , an underwater hotel project that was ultimately not realized in Dubai , would have had its suites at the bottom of the Persian Gulf . In contrast, the Jules Undersea Lodge in Key Largo , Florida , USA , requires a diving license in order to gain access to its rooms.
  • The Ice Hotel in Jukkasjärvi , Sweden , and the Hotel de Glace in Duschenay, Canada melt each spring and are rebuilt the following winter. The Mammut Snow Hotel in Finland is located within the walls of the Kemi Snow Castle . The Lainio Snow Hotel is part of the Snow Village near Ylläs , Finland.
  • A hotel that was set up in a former prison is considered a prison hotel .
  • There are floating hotels , a term for cruise ships and river boats.
  • As propelled hotels facilities such as sleeping cars and Rotel's called.
  • Design or boutique hotels offer upscale lifestyle with different criteria in terms of architecture, furnishings and service.

There are also hotels that have individual themed rooms on offer.

further criteria

The company size is another way of subdividing hotels

Hotel rooms are usually rented on a daily basis. In love hotels rooms can be rented by the hour. They are used by people who want to withdraw for intimate commercial or private relationships. The Japanese love hotels , which are part of modern everyday culture there, represent a special form . In love hotels it is not necessarily to be assumed that there is an offer of food. Only a few hourly hotels at airports, for example, address travelers.

Services and service points, areas

Antique bell at the hotel reception

By definition, the main services offered by a hotel are accommodation and catering services. A distinction is made between four service positions or areas:

  • The Logement ( French Logis , English Rooms Division ) includes reception , housekeeping and reservations.
  • The catering (called the economic department or Food & Beverage (F&B) ) includes the kitchen, restaurant, bar, floor service and banquet service.
  • The logistics include the purchasing office, goods control, warehousing and the warehouse.
  • The administration consists of the management, bookkeeping (accounting), controlling, secretariat, marketing and sales, personnel department and finally workshops and maintenance.

Accommodation services (logement)

Typical simple single room

The accommodation services include accommodation in the actual sense, i.e. H. staying in rooms, most of which are equipped with beds. Reservations, reception, check-in and check-out , information, communication and concierge are also classified in this service area.

Catering service

The main catering service is breakfast . Depending on the category, additional catering services can be offered.

Fringe benefits

In addition to these main services, hotels often offer numerous other additional services, such as

  • Telephone / fax, internet connection , television, pay TV , minibar , radio, safe / safe , videos
  • Laundry, bathrobes, bath products
  • Room service, wake-up service, shoe shine machines.
  • Wellness offers,
  • Rental of meeting rooms,
  • Use of the garage, parking spaces, guest transfer, luggage transport,
  • Animation programs ,
  • Ticket brokerage, excursions, umbrellas and deck chairs,
  • Shopping, boutiques, hairdressers , business centers,
  • Boat dock, pool, fitness, sports equipment rental


Hotel Paris and on the right the former Aladdin (now Planet Hollywood ) in Las Vegas

The management of a hotel has a wide range of tasks. Here, small ones differ significantly from medium-sized or large chain hotels. The hotel manager has to bring a wide range of knowledge: from marketing to business controlling to guest care. He should run a profitable business. A second management level, which contributes to the relief, is rarely available in smaller hotels. There is an assistant in every larger hotel (from around 55 rooms). His job is to solve the smaller situations without the director. In large hotels (from 100 rooms) the director usually has a deputy. He oversees staff, purchasing and most of the administration. All important decisions are made by the hotel manager.


The hotelier does not have to confirm any bookings, but enjoys freedom of contract . According to the Federal Court of Justice, if a guest is not wanted, he can refuse him admission. If the hotelier confirms a booking, he is bound by it.

In the past, there were unwritten rules for the required clothing for guests - at least for upscale hotels. This compulsory dress is no longer common in German-speaking countries; in other countries, however, there are rules - some unwritten, some explicitly stated.

For example, in English-speaking countries, “casual” means casual leisure style (with the exception of open “slippers”, sleeveless shirts and the like). “California casual” sets almost no limits. “Informal” means “without a tie”. In large houses (such as the Mandarin Oriental in Hong Kong), “formal” means at least one jacket (better a full suit) as well as a tie or bow .

Hotel booking

Across Germany, around half of the bookings are made on the Internet, with an increasing tendency, whereby the corporate customer area is of great importance. Together with, HRS alone has a market share of around two thirds. This trend has contributed to the fact that prices in an industry with low margins and predatory competition have remained constant for years, which weakens the profitability of the hotels. Here the price development in Germany is different than in comparable countries.

In addition to Eastern Europe , the People's Republic of China is a growth market on the world market . In China, 30 million customers already book online.

Hotel names

An evaluation by "trivago" found that there are 146 hotels in Germany with the most common hotel names Zur Post . This name is used more than 300 times in German-speaking countries. If this frequency goes back to many traditional post stations of the horse-drawn carriage time, then with 85 times the crown for Germany it is in second place. With Linde in third place, 73 houses are named. Other common hotel names in Germany and the German-speaking countries are Adler ( Schwarzer Adler ), Hirsch , Löwe (Goldener Löwe), Sonne , Central , Deutsches Haus , Zum Grünen Baum . Ratskeller is the front runner among the 55,000 German inns . As with the hotels, the names Adler, Linde, Krone and also Zur Post follow . While Roma , Napoli , Toscana stand for Italian cuisine, Akropolis , Poseidon , Athens all refer to Greek. The names of the Asian-oriented restaurants are just as common: Asia , Peking and Thai . More than 500 Red Lions were identified for Great Britain , followed by Crown (over 400 times), White Hart and White Horse, as well as the Royal Oak. In the Alpine region there are Alpenrose and Rössl , including Rössli . The names go back to the traditional and this is the often effective name of the existing house, even if the offer and the equipment changed.

See also


  • Hilmar F. Henselek: Hotel management: planning and control , Oldenbourg, Munich 1999, ISBN 978-3-486-79732-9 .
  • Ralf Nestmeyer: Hotel worlds - luxury, lift boys, writers. Reclam, Stuttgart 2015, ISBN 978-3-15-011023-2 (on the history of the hotel industry).
  • Nikola Langreiter, Klara Löffler, Hasso Spode (eds.): The hotel . Metropol, Berlin 2011 (= Voyage. Yearbook for Travel & Tourism Research, Vol. 9), ISBN 978-3-86331-064-6 .

Web links

Wiktionary: Hotel  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Hotels  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Ursula Hermann: Knaurs etymologisches Lexikon , 1983, p. 200
  2. Classification of Austrian company statistics , Statistics Austria
  3. ^ Hasso Spode: A Brief History of the Hotel . In: Voyage . Yearbook for Travel & Tourism Research (Topic: “Hotel”), Vol. 9 (2011). ISBN 3-86331-064-0
  4. Ski resorts: Apartment complexes displace hotels,, January 24, 2016, accessed on January 24, 2016.
  5. Blog about the first hotel to be built using straw bale construction
  6. Report on a decision by the BGH on from March 9, 2012 , accessed on March 9, 2012
  7. a b Susanne Amann: Perishable goods . In: Der Spiegel . No. 45 , 2011 ( online ).
  8. Mighty Dwarfs . In: Financial Times Germany . January 25, 2012, p. 23 .
  9. ^ Page of the IHA Hotel Association , accessed on November 19, 2011
  10. information on ; Retrieved November 19, 2011
  11. World: Guess what the most common hotel name is , November 12, 2015