How the Classification of Your Hotel Helps You Describe It

There are several different ways that hotel owners can classify their hotels. Usually, though, it makes sense to do it by size. 

In the following article, we will go into detail about hotel size classifications. We’ll discuss what hotel classification is and why it matters. We’ll also list and describe some different classification methods.

What Does the Term “Hotel Classification” Mean?

If you hear someone utilize the term hotel classification, they’re likely using it for two reasons. They’re using it so that the hotel owner can describe the size of the hotel, but they’re also doing it so that potential guests can understand the size and quality of the hotel they’re booking.

If you classify your hotel, that also lets your possible guests know about the types of amenities and services they might expect. As a hotel owner, if you differentiate between one classification of hotel and another, you can also market your offerings in a particular way. You will likely make it simpler and quicker for travelers to research and find suitable accommodations if they have a trip coming up. 

What Hotel Classification Should You Use?

As a hotel owner, you can use different hotel classification systems. There’s not a single recognized one that every hotel in the world uses. However, you’ll likely find that most hotel owners and individuals looking to book rooms will know about the star system and respond to it. 

The star system is widely accepted, and usually ranges from one to five stars. There are also several reputable entities that use this system. They include:

  • The AA Hotel and Hospitality Services in the United Kingdom
  • The HotelStarts Union in Europe
  • The American Automobile Association (AAA) in the United States
  • Quality Tourism Australia in Australia  

We’ll take a moment now to talk about what you can expect from each of the five hotel star designations. Then, we’ll move on to some other ways to classify hotels. 

One-Star Hotels ⭐

These are usually considered to be the most basic of hotels. They’re generally fairly small and frequently independently owned.

You might target one of these hotels because it is not very expensive. However, while you’re likely to save money with this choice, you should also expect virtually no frills. One-star hotels often don’t even have room service or additional facilities. Some of them might have shared shower and toilet facilities instead of an en suite bathroom. 

Two-Star Hotels ⭐⭐

If you’re moving up to a two-star hotel, expect to pay a little more than you would with a one-star option. Two-star hotels usually have rooms with en suite bathrooms. 

You can generally expect these to be small or medium-sized hotels. They may have some beverage and food services. You can expect a relatively simplistic hotel experience without many extras, but the standards and services should be slightly better than the average one-star hotel. 

Three-Star Hotels ⭐⭐⭐

With a three-star hotel, you will probably pay a little more than what you would with a one or two-star option. The hotel might be a bit bigger than either of the first two options as well.

Once you’ve moved up to the three-star hotel level, you might expect there to be some different room options, with some being a little fancier and more expensive than others. A three-star hotel will probably offer room service. You can also reasonably expect there to be a gym and a restaurant onsite, if not more than one of each. 

Four-Star Hotels ⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you’re booking a room in a four-star hotel, you should expect more luxurious accommodations than any of the first three options. You might expect to pay more for the privilege as well.

Four-star hotels are usually thought of as premium hotels, though they’re not quite on the level of five-star ones. Depending on the country you’re in and the regulatory agency that awards the number of stars, you might expect slightly different amenities. Four-star hotels usually have several more luxurious options onsite, though.

Those might include a secure parking garage, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, and multiple gyms. The gyms might be open long hours or even 24 hours. You can often expect to find business centers where you might get some work done, meeting rooms, and multiple restaurant options.

If you book a room at a four-star hotel, you shouldn’t expect every conceivable luxury, but you’re paying for more than you would expect to get with any of the first three star designations. 

Five-Star Hotels ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

If you book a room in a five-star hotel, you’re paying for a highly luxurious and sought after experience, and the price tag will doubtless reflect that. If you get a room at a five-star hotel, you might expect:

  • Several onsite fine dining opportunities, like sushi or a steakhouse
  • Luxury bedding
  • Flat screen TVs with premium channels
  • 24-hour room service
  • Ironing and dry cleaning services
  • Shoeshine services
  • Nightly bed turndown service
  • A butler or doorman
  • Onsite spa treatments
  • Valet parking
  • A concierge and reservations desk that’s always staffed
  • A fully stocked fridge and minibar in each room
  • In-house childcare options

Don’t be surprised if you see impressive modern art in the lobby of a five-star hotel, and possibly throughout the building as well. These are often very large hotels, though not necessarily so. 

If you pay for a five-star hotel, you’re willingly surrendering more money, but with the expectation that you’ll be pampered. That’s part of what you’re paying for: the feeling of being a VIP. 

Now that you know about the five star designations for hotels, let’s move on to another way of classifying them. 

Hotel Designations by Size

Once you know about what you can reasonably expect from a hotel that comes with a certain number of stars, you can certainly use that when advertising your hotel and marketing the experience of staying there. However, you can also use your hotel’s size as a way of designating it, since some potential guests might respond better to this method.

If you’re going to do hotel designation by size, most hotel owners use the classifications small, medium, and large. Let’s take a moment to look at each one of those.


1. Small Hotels

The designation of hotel classifications by size might vary a little bit. However, when most hotel operators or would-be guests talk about a small hotel, they’re speaking about ones that have up to 25 guest rooms.

2. Medium-Sized Hotels

If you’re talking about your hotel or describing it on a website, you would probably call it medium-sized if it has anywhere from 26 to 300 rooms for guests.

3. Large Hotels

Large hotels are usually considered to be ones where you have at least 300 rooms. The number can go up from there.    

Are There Any Other Ways to Designate Hotels?

Most hotel owners and websites or other entities that describe them will use either the star system or the small, medium, and large designations. Once you understand each of these, it becomes easy to envision what you might expect from most hotels.

However, there are a few other ways you might designate hotels. We’ll mention some of those briefly. 


1. Airport Hotels

These are hotels located close to airports. These hotels often belong to chains, though not always. You can expect mostly business or vacation travelers to be staying at these hotels. You might also see pilots or flight attendants staying there. They’re not usually particularly luxurious.

2. Bed and Breakfasts

A bed and breakfast is usually a small or medium-sized hotel. They are often independently owned. In most bed and breakfasts, you would not expect to find some of the amenities that you would in larger hotels, such as a gym or swimming pool. However, the decor will likely be cozy, and there will definitely be breakfast available in the morning, as the name indicates.

You can also expect a personable experience, perhaps with the owner or operator of the facility stopping to chat with you if you linger over the breakfast table. Many couples go for a bed and breakfast experience if they want a nice weekend away from home.

3. Conference or Business Hotels

These hotels can be different sizes, but they’re often medium-sized or large. The emphasis is on business at these facilities. Usually, that manifests itself with large event rooms, free Wi-Fi, and other accommodations someone who’s there on business will like.

You can often find these hotels in the business area of large cities or close to convention centers. 

4. Resort Hotels

Resort hotels provide a hotel experience, but they’re also part of resorts. As such, you can expect to find different experiences you can take part in right there on the grounds. 

At some resort hotels, you might find indoor and outdoor swimming pools, spas, ski lessons, snorkeling lessons, or perhaps golf or tennis lessons. These hotels are most commonly medium-sized or large. 

5. Boutique Hotels

Boutique hotels are hotels that offer unique experiences. Usually, they are geared toward attracting a particular segment of the population.

Boutique hotels are usually on the smaller size. Many of them have quaint features. Sometimes, you will find boutique hotels that have been created out of buildings that used to serve a different purpose. 

The special amenities and personalized service are part of what make boutique hotels so desirable. You can expect things like room service, but you might also notice special accommodations that you might not be able to get at the average chain hotel. 

Boutique hotels can be rather pricey. It’s not uncommon to find them in large cities like New York, London, or Tokyo.   

6. Aparthotel

An aparthotel has a combination of regular hotel rooms for normal-length stays, but it also has apartments for guests who are staying longer. These apartments have some of the amenities you can expect in a hotel, though, such as room service. 

The apartments are like hotel rooms, but they may also feature a kitchen, a private laundry facility, and other amenities you might expect to see from an average apartment.  

Why Differentiating What Kind of Hotel You Have Matters

As a hotel owner, you might wonder why it matters how you designate or describe your hotel. If you think about it for a moment, though, the answer should quickly present itself.

If you’re describing your hotel on your website, or if a travel site mentions your hotel, it’s important for anyone visiting that site to know what kind of hotel you have. There are various ways you can describe your hotel, but using one of the designations we’ve talked about in this article is one of the easiest and most foolproof ones.

If you describe your hotel as being medium-sized or being a three-star hotel, for instance, most of the general public should understand what that implies. They should know what kind of services they can expect when they get there. 

You can also be explicit about what they can expect by listing all the amenities on your website. You can feature pictures of the rooms, the hotel’s exterior, the restaurants, or anything else you think is noteworthy.

How Else Might You Want to Describe Your Hotel?

You can always describe your hotel as being large or having five-star amenities, but it’s also helpful to be explicit when you mention that it’s a resort hotel, a boutique hotel, or one of the other special kinds we’ve mentioned. There are certain connotations that go with hotel descriptions like “boutique,” “resort,” or “bed and breakfast.”

If you describe your hotel using this terminology, that should give a basic indication of what a potential guest can expect. Then, if they’re looking for that type of hotel, they can go to your website or explore your hotel’s offerings more thoroughly on another site where it’s listed.

Classifications make a difference in how you’re marketing your hotel, and how you should approach the crafting of your ad campaigns as well. That’s why you should know how to describe your hotel if you’re trying to draw more attention to it.

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