Traveling and Hotels
Whether it’s for leisure or business travel, hotels are essential links between places and activities. While there is no universal definition of a hotel, most are buildings that offer accommodations to travelers, including rooms, suites, and other facilities. In some cases, hotels provide conference and meeting facilities, and offer massage/therapy services, swimming pools, and other amenities.
A hotel’s services are what distinguishes it from other accommodations. In addition to the basic services of accommodation and food, hotels may offer copying and faxing machines, currency exchange, and massage/therapy services. A hotel’s services also influence hotel rates.
The first generation of hotels began in the 19th century and were based on long-distance travel via steam-powered transportation. The advent of the automobile marked a major transition in the hotel industry.
With the rise of railroads and the interstate highway system, commercial travel grew rapidly in the postwar years. This growth spurred an unprecedented expansion in the hotel industry.
Hotels became major hubs for social and political activity. Their success made it possible for millions of Americans to afford paid vacations. Political figures often made speeches and raised toasts in hotel lobbies.
Hotels became symbolic sites in a world where political and transportation activities were simultaneous. They also played a vital role in international politics.
During the 1850s, hotels began appearing in settlements along the Pacific coast. They soon appeared in frontier settlement areas as well. They became important symbols of the American empire.