A visual difference between a hotel and a motel.

Motel vs Hotel: What Is the Difference?

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Are you a rental property owner deciding on the category your accommodation belongs to? Or are you a traveler choosing the most suitable lodging option? Meet a hands-on motel vs hotel comparison to dispel any misconceptions! We’ll compare their main distinctions, specific characteristics, and target audience.

Keep reading this article if you’re wondering about the difference between hotels and motels. Aimed to help you make an informed decision, it also provides effective digital solutions. Let’s get down to the details!

Motel vs Hotel: Key Differences

So, what is the difference between a hotel and a motel? We’ve divided the comparison into sections dedicated to different features and services of these property categories. Let’s dive in!


Since the property names are often confused or interchanged, let’s start with the hotel vs motel definitions.

What Is Motel?

The word ‘motel’ originates from the combination of two words: ‘motor’ and ‘hotel’. As stated in the dictionary, it’s ‘an establishment which provides lodging and parking and in which the rooms are usually accessible from an outdoor parking area’. So, motels are easily accessible during road trips.

What Is Hotel?

On the other hand, a hotel refers to ‘an establishment that provides lodging and usually meals, entertainment, and various personal services for the public’. Hotels offer a comprehensive list of services for a comfortable stay.

Size & Appearance

When we compare motel vs hotel scales, hotels are usually larger establishments with an extensive range of facilities, lobbies, and multiple floors. Motels typically consist of one or two floors and provide convenient parking lots.

Rooms & Amenities

With a larger number of rooms, hotels tend to have various room types: standard rooms, studio rooms, luxurious suits, etc.

Since motels are generally booked for one or two nights, they focus on convenience and basic amenities rather than the abundance of services. You’ll find basic in-room amenities including bedding, towels, and toiletries.

In comparison, hotels deliver a wide range of on-site amenities along with extra spaces such as meeting rooms, swimming pools, restaurants, fitness centers, and others. The more stars in rating and the higher the room price, the more amenities guests will enjoy.

Guest Types

What’s the difference between a hotel and a motel in terms of travelers who choose them? Motels are geared towards travelers looking for a low-budget option located on highways and roads to stay in during their long trips.

Hotels cater to the needs of different guests: families, business travelers, or comfort-seeking guests. It enables them to take advantage of high-quality room service, restaurants, a wide range of on-property amenities, etc.


Comparing motels vs hotels, we’ve already defined the key distinctions in their setting:

  1. Hotels are usually found in tourist and urban areas near popular attractions.
  2. A motel is located along highways and major roadways.

Cost of Staying

What is the difference between hotel and motel approaches when it comes to prices? Regarding room types and in-room amenities, a motel is a cheaper option.

It’s worth noting that prices in hotels vary according to their category, location, included services, and other factors.

Hotel vs Motel Websites: Useful Tools

Is there any difference in motel and hotel site creation? This section spotlights features & solutions suitable for both property categories. Let’s explore them!

Online Booking System

Are you eager to build an online presence for your rental property? Integrate an online booking engine to avoid overbookings and drive direct reservations to your website!

MotoPress Hotel Booking

The color-coded calendar in the WordPress booking plugin by MotoPress.

NamePriceFree Trial
MotoPress Hotel Booking$139-$249 per year7-day Free Trial

If you choose WordPress as a content management system for your rental website, there is an all-in-one booking solution. The WordPress Hotel Booking plugin by MotoPress lets you add any number of accommodations, sync bookings across multiple channels, and set up property rates.

The plugin supports different payment methods: PayPal, 2Checkout, Braintree, Stripe, or Beanstream/Bambora. In addition to booking rules, you can customize email templates sent to admins and guests. It’s also possible to add and edit bookings on the dashboard.

More Features:

  • Synchronization with OTAs;
  • Online & offline payments;
  • Free & paid extras;
  • Multiple properties bookable at a time;
  • Taxes & fees;
  • Dynamic pricing options;
  • A centralized admin calendar;
  • CSV booking reports;
  • Hotel Booking mobile application.

More Details Start Free Trial Get Plugin Setup

Website Templates

The difference between motel and hotel websites affects the template design you should opt for.

If your website is based on the WordPress CMS platform, you can use one of the ready-to-go themes from its repository. They combine a professionally made design and built-in functionality.


Collage on how to choose a Booklium WordPress theme for vacation rental business websites.
The Booklium theme is packed with 5+ multipurpose demos designed for different rental properties: hotels, motels, villas, etc. You can customize the site appearance, enhance page content with Getwid blocks, and use pre-made templates.

Booklium relies on the integrated Hotel Booking plugin regarding online booking functionality. It allows you to arrange online reservations, sync bookings with OTAs, accept online & offline payments, and manage bookings on the backend.

More Details View Demo

Get access to All MotoPress products, including the Hotel Booking plugin, its addons, and themes with a discount on a Membership Plan.



To conclude the motel vs hotel comparison, both property categories provide lodging options while differentiating in their location, facilities, number of amenities & services, and pricing. The choice also depends on individual guest’s preferences, travel needs, and budget considerations. Once we’ve explored the key differences between hotels and motels, can you clearly define what constitutes each category? Share your experience in the comments!


What makes a hotel not a motel?

A hotel typically offers more extensive amenities, services, and facilities compared to a motel.

Is a hotel nicer than a motel?

While hotels often provide more luxurious amenities and services, the quality can vary greatly, and some motels offer comfortable and pleasant stays as well.

What is the purpose of a motel?

The purpose of a motel is to provide convenient, short-term lodging primarily for travelers, often situated near highways or major roads for easy access.

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