Introduction to the Development of Tourism
Early Inns: From the middle ages until the 17th century, travellers would be invited into people’s home as they made long journeys. People felt an obligation to house travellers and treated them well. As the numbers of travellers increased with modes of mass transport, specific buildings were erected to house travellers.
The first hostelries, called ordinaries, began appearing in mid-17th century colonial America. They later evolved into inns. An ordinary usually consisted of two small rooms. One room had a bar and was used for eating and drinking; the other room was reserved for the landlord and his family. Travellers slept on the floor of the bar and dining room.
As the amount of travellers grew, so did the demand for accommodation. Inns offered sleeping quarters for overnight guests while taverns specialised in food, drink and conviviality. It was accepted practice for travellers of the same gender to share both rooms and beds.
In the Victorian era two remarkable institutions were created: the railway station and the grand hotel. The Grand Hotel ensured that overnight accommodation was no longer a painful necessity. It was in the United States that the first grand hotel was developed. The City Hotel in New York City opened at the end of the 18th century, it consisted of 73 rooms on five floors.
The Tremont House opened in Boston in 1829 and is generally regarded as the first modern hotel in America. Then the largest hotel in the world, it had 170 rooms and a dining room capable of seating 200 people. The Tremont broke with the traditional inn in several ways: It had both single and double rooms, numerous public rooms and there was no signboard outside the front entrance.
The Tremont also offered several features that were novel for the times: eight baths with cold running water in the basement, a row of eight water closets on the ground floor, gas lights in the public rooms and free soap (then regarded as an extravagance).
As America grew, each town sought to have its own Tremont House to symbolise how successful and prosperous it was. By the 20th century, as more people travelled, the nature of the hotel industry changed. In 1907, the opening of the Hotel Statler in Buffalo, New York signalled the beginning of the commercial hotel concept. The hotel's slogan was "a room and a bath for a dollar and a half". However, the Great Depression brought the travel industry to a virtual halt until after World War II.
The post-war prosperity of America saw a huge increase in the demand for automobiles. Business people began to travel by car rather than train and families began taking weekend road trips. As the number of motorists grew a new class of motor hotel or motel, sprang up to cater to their needs. However, motels were mostly family owned businesses with hugely varying degrees of quality.
In 1952 Kemmons Wilson opened the first Holiday Inn. Wilson wanted his business to be an antidote to the inferior motels found across America. In his experience, motels had cramped, uncomfortable rooms, extra charges for children and less than adequate restaurants. The Holiday Inn had a swimming pool, air conditioning, a restaurant on the premises, a telephone in every room, free ice, dog kennels, free parking and baby sitters available. By the end of the 1960s Holiday Inn had become a chain of motels with locations all over America. In the 1950s and 60s hotel occupancy suffered in America due to the popularity of motels.
The 1970s saw a decline in the popularity of motels and resurgence in the popularity of hotels. As the Holiday Inn added features to its properties it gradually became a chain of hotels rather than motels. Following the Holiday Inn model, a variety of budget hotel chains became opening across America. These chains were aimed at travellers en route to a destination rather than people taking vacations. They offered clean, comfortable rooms without any frills.
As the worldwide economy improved in the 1980s, wealthy tourists began looking for indulgent vacation experiences. This led to a rise in luxury hotels. Luxury hotels included suites, exceptional food and excellent service. They were destinations in themselves and offered an experience that greatly contrasted with budget hotels.
Today, chains dominate the hotel industry. Furthermore, the marketplace is segmented more than ever before. Properties are being built for specific groups of people: the upscale, the middle market, and the value conscious. Most chains have separate divisions competing in each segment of the marketplace.
END OF UNIT:
Log in to save your progress and obtain a certificate in Alison’s free Advanced Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality Management online course
Sign up to save your progress and obtain a certificate in Alison’s free Advanced Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality Management online course
Please enter you email address and we will mail you a link to reset your password.