Lodging 101: Different Property Types
Deb Ward / FEBRUARY 17 2021

There is a broad range of hotel types available to travelers… Some are budget-friendly, some mid-level, and some hit the very luxurious high-end. Some provide a basic stay while others offer unique amenities and experiences. Depending on the type of hotel, guests have different expectations of the staff and the property.

Property Types

Budget (Value) Hotels typically have low room rates and most major hotel brands offer this type of property as part of their portfolios. They often provide free breakfast as part of the package (such as Comfort Inn) but have minimal services and amenities. They may be in a less desirable location or have a lower level of building construction which can contribute to more noise.

Bed and Breakfasts/Inns are smaller, independent hotels that can be either cozy/cheerful lower-cost options or quite luxurious. They are often located in a large house that may have historic value, in a beautiful setting, ideal for special occasions like a wedding or anniversary.

Business and Mid-Range Hotels are often preferred by travelers with families or business travelers. They are conveniently located and offer a consistent experience. Holiday Inn and Courtyards by Marriott are good examples of this type of lodging. Most large chains have several options in this category.

Resorts and Family Hotels cater to families by offering larger rooms, extra beds, and almost always, a swimming pool. They can be attached to theme parks, waterparks, or other attractions that focus on fun. Some of these are quite luxurious and can offer free access to multiple resorts as well as on-site activities (think Disney).

Beach and Golf Resorts offer watersports, golf, entertainments, poolside activities, and dining all year round, depending on location. Some of these are “all-inclusive” where guests spend the entire vacation on the property taking advantage of multiple restaurants, golf, tennis, para-sailing, surfing, and many other activities.

Condo Properties are individually owned and available for rent, typically through a central reservation center. Each property is uniquely decorated but still meets required standards and includes housekeeping. Some provide laundry services, access to a spa or gym, and restaurants are located nearby.

Boutique Hotels are usually smaller properties that are unique to the location and sometimes historical. They come in different price ranges, but typically are mid-range to luxury. Some big brands offer a boutique concept within their larger hotels, such as The Hacienda within the larger Hilton Puerto Vallarta, which is an adults-only option. Some have a “green” eco-hotel approach that focuses on the environment and sustainability.

Luxury Hotels are the 4 and 5-star options that have full-service amenities, high-end design, and quality, and are more spacious with strict attention to detail. They offer a concierge or butler, 24-hour room service, and often a spa on-site. They appeal to both leisure and business travelers who have high expectations for their experience.

Cruise Ships are just floating hotels. There are a variety of sizes and price categories from Carnival Cruises with over 1800 cabins to Viking River Cruises which has less than 50. Some offer a small number of stops that are more intimate while others have hundreds of excursions and ports from which to choose. It all depends on your interests and goals for your vacation and who you have along with you.

Employment Opportunities

Depending on what experience you’re hoping to gain and where your interests lie, different types of properties can offer quite different employment outcomes.  

Larger, chain hotels have the benefit of formal training programs, large and varied departments to sample, typically better salaries and benefits as well as good career prospects. It’s possible you’ll encounter more international guests and be exposed to a wide variety of cultures, perhaps giving you an opportunity to practice a second language – which is always a bonus on your resume. Because chains will more likely have a large number of branches around the world, the chances of working in another country are greater.

Smaller, boutiques and inns give you the chance to really get to know the guests, wear a variety of hats to more quickly gain experience in all areas of the business and rub shoulders with the owner or upper management. You’ll meet interesting people looking for a unique experience and find yourself in beautiful and sometimes more remote locations. There’s often a “family feel” amongst the staff and there is more flexibility in customizing the guest experience where you can really flex your creative