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A Comparison Of Hotels & Motels: Which Is Right For Your Business Trip?

Illustration of a motel and a hotel against a blue sky

A Comparison Of Hotels & Motels: Which Is Right For Your Business Trip? Staff
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Searching for the perfect lodging for your employees can seem like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack. You’re trying to keep your workers safe and close to their destination, consider transportation, and please every person’s discerning preferences — all while staying within budget.

So, as you scroll through the seemingly endless options and start filtering them out, how do you find the best place to send your travelers?

Some of your searches will bring up hotels and motels. There’s a distinct difference between the two, and you should know what you’re getting into with these accommodations.

Before you book your next corporate lodging stay, let’s do a quick comparison summary of hotels and motels to help you decide which is right for your next business trip. (For a more in-depth review of these two types of lodging, read this article by Hotel Engine.)

1. Location

The first factor we all search for when we’re booking lodging is the location. There’s a point to the trip, and the accommodations must be near enough to that main attraction to be convenient for your traveler.

If your goal is to find a place near a major road, motels are the quickest solution. They’re located at prime spots near hotels, off interstates, freeways, highways, and in every tourist destination.

Hotels, on the other hand, are more selective about their locations. They tend to be constructed in walkable areas and near public transportation. Hotels are a better choice when travelers don’t have a car and rely on rideshares, taxis, or public transport.

2. Property Size And Amenities

When guests are mostly self-sufficient, and in need of a bed and bathroom, a motel works well. Motels are usually smaller than hotels, and they have fewer amenities and conveniences. The average hotel is combined into one or two floors, quickly accessible through the parking lot.

Hotels can have hundreds of rooms and dozens of floors, catering to short- and long-term guests. Some hotels are so expansive that their rooms stretch out over multiple buildings.

These accommodations typically offer various amenities and services, including fitness centers, restaurants, pools, and room service. A hotel’s staff level depends on the services and amenities it offers. At a minimum, you’ll find multiple concierges, housekeepers, receptionists, and shop workers. Hotels with higher ratings will have bellhops, valets, doorkeepers, and chefs.

Motels are geared toward short-term guests who might need a little assistance if they forget their toothbrushes or want continental breakfasts. Restaurants are often close by but not on the property itself. Because of the limited offerings, motels have very few staff on duty at any given time.

Almost all hotels and motels provide free WiFi and TVs, but if you want a fridge, bar, or upscale amenities, look for a hotel.

3. The Cost

Based on the above features, you can already predict that motels will be cheaper. They don’t have as much overhead as a hotel and require fewer employees. If you’re looking for the cheapest accommodations, you can find a motel room that fits almost any budget.

Keep in mind that it may not be in the safest area or have the best reputation, so check reviews carefully. You can find decent inexpensive hotels, but you can also put your travelers in a dangerous situation if you focus on the price only.

Hotel rates can be comparable to motels. However, check the fine print to watch for additional costs, such as resort and parking fees. Motel parking is usually free, with large enough spots for big trucks and RVs.

Hotel parking can be a little trickier. Depending on the accommodations, you may have to pay to park your car. This is especially common in big cities where the property is at a premium, like in New York City.


The choice between a hotel or a motel comes down to your travelers’ needs on their trip.

Do they have easy access to their own transportation? Are they mostly self-sufficient and only staying for a short time? If all of those answers are yes, a motel may suit them just fine.

But if they will need someone else to get them to their destination and feed them for a while, opt for a hotel. It’s worth the extra cost to ensure your workers are safe, comfortable, and happy.

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