Throughout history, the relationship between travel and hotels has been a vital one. From the humble hotel in frontier settlement areas to the world’s largest hotels, they’ve served as vital links between places, people, and activities. They’ve been the epicenter of political activity and the arena of conflict. They’ve also served as decorative showcases.
As the twentieth century began, hotels began to multiply in the mountains and along the Pacific coast. They were the nexus of a new era of travel. They provided places to sleep and rest, and a place to eat. They were the symbol of a new age of American capitalism. They embodied the mercantilist strategy of securing a place for American goods in foreign markets.
Hotels have also served as business exchanges, decorative showcases, and public forums. In the early twentieth century, they were the epicenter of a new era of travel, a period that was marked by the rise of the automobile. These new modes of transportation reconfigured the nation’s transportation network and made long distance travel from river systems feasible. Hotels also served as the meeting places for political groups and voluntary associations, who hired hotel dining halls to hold meetings.
The hotel industry grew exponentially after World War II, becoming a key arena of domestic politics and a key driver of commercial travel. It was also the vehicle for the nation’s economic growth. The postwar boom sent incomes skyrocketing, and the hotel industry developed at a record pace.
The growth of the interstate highway system and the rise of organized labor contributed to the commercial travel boom of the postwar years. Hotel construction accelerated and hotels began to emerge in the city centers of major cities. During this time, hotels became important places for political activity, and political figures often made speeches from the hotel windows or hobnobbed in hotel lobbies.
The advent of air travel was a boon to travelers, enabling them to travel more affordably. In addition, the success of organized labor made paid vacations possible for millions of workers. Eventually, Americans ventured abroad in record numbers. Hotels played a major role in the globalization of travel and commerce, and many hotels were American owned, serving as exemplars of capitalism in foreign countries.
The hotel industry also benefited from the invention of the interstate highway system, which streamlined travel, and the invention of the passenger aircraft. These improvements made long distance travel easier, and the hotel industry expanded to record proportions. The success of organized labor increased incomes and wealth distribution. The hotel industry also played an important role in the international politics of the twentieth century, as the nation was often involved in conflictual domestic politics.
Today, hotels remain a vital link between people and places. While they may no longer play a central role in travel, they remain the essential hubs for connecting activities. Booking hotels early can save money, avoid last-minute hassles, and give travelers the option to compare hotels and find the best deals.