Motel

The motel, a lodging establishment located along highways for long-distance drivers, originated in the United States in the 1920s. By the 1980s, motels in Korea had come to refer to yeogwans equipped with modern facilities. Today, motels account for the largest proportion of lodging establishments in Korea.
Dictionary Definition
A motel is a hotel designed for travelers using automobiles, typically featuring parking spaces adjacent to each room.
Lobin Commentary

The term motel is a combination of ‘motor’ and ‘hotel.’ Motels first appeared in the United States along highways, providing lodging for long-distance drivers. As automobiles became widely available through mass production in the 1920s, the US began building a highway system, and motels started to appear along these highways.

Unlike urban hotels, where guests access rooms through a lobby, motel rooms have direct access from outdoor parking areas. This direct access necessitated that motels were mostly built as low-rise buildings with fewer rooms compared to urban hotels. They were typically located near highway-side restaurants, gas stations, and other facilities, offering minimal amenities and lower room rates. Some motels featured kitchens in their rooms, which resulted in relatively higher prices.

The rapid increase in motels along the expansive highway network also provided a foundation for the creation of hotel brands. Best Western emerged as a shared marketing platform for motels, and Holiday Inn quickly grew as a motel franchise brand. Today, most global hotel brands own mid-to-low-priced motel brands, predominantly operating under a franchise structure.

In Korea, newly built yeogwans with dedicated parking started using the term ‘motel’ in their names in the 1980s, thereby referring to yeogwans with modern facilities. These yeogwans, rebranded as motels, began to replace outdated lodging establishments and saw a rapid increase in supply. Although the number of motels has been declining steadily since the 2000s, general lodgings, which include yeogwans, still represent the largest proportion of lodging establishments in the country.

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Data Source

  • GDP: GDP, Current $US (World Bank Open Data)
  • Establishments: Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS)
  • Rooms: Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS)
  • Lodging GDP: Value Added by Industry (BEA), National Accounts (Cabinet Office), GDP of Indonesia (BPS), GDP & GNI by Sector (BOK), Economic Census (KOSIS)
  • Period: 2017-2021

※ In Korea, general & residential accommodations are included while rural & urban minbaks are excluded. Comparable countries are selected based upon availability of lodging GDP statistics for all types of accommodations.

Data Source

  • Population: Population, Total (World Bank Open Data)
  • GDP: GDP, Current $US (World Bank Open Data)
  • Rooms: Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS)
  • Lodging GDP: Value Added by Industry (BEA), National Accounts (Cabinet Office), GDP of Indonesia (BPS), GDP & GNI by Sector (BOK), Economic Census (KOSIS)
  • Period: 2017-2021

※ In Korea, general & residential accommodations are included while rural & urban minbaks are excluded. Comparable countries are selected based upon availability of lodging GDP statistics for all types of accommodations.

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Data Source

  • Korea: Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS), Tourist Accommodation Ledger (MCST)
  • USA: Census Database (STR)
  • Period: As at the end of 2021

※ General & residential accommodations other than rural and urban minbaks asre included for Korea. Life cycle was calculated as of December 31, 2021 or actual closure date. If there exists a discrepancy between data sources for an establishment, the discrepancy was settled through an algorithm before use.

Data Source

  • Korea: Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS), Tourist Accommodation Ledger (MCST), Economic Census (KOSIS), Hotel Operating Statistics (KHA), DART (FSS), Trends Report (STR)
  • USA: Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Census Database (STR), Trends Report (STR)
  • Period: 2005-2021

※ General & residential accommodations other than rural and urban minbaks asre included for Korea. Visibility was calculated as the number of establishments for which revenue data is available divided by the total number of establishments. If there exists a discrepancy between data sources for an establishment, the discrepancy was settled through an algorithm before use.

Data Source

  • Guests(Korea): Domestic Traveler Survey (MCST), International Traveler Survey (MCST), Hotel Operating Statistics (KHA)
  • Rooms(Korea): Lodging Business Ledger (MOIS), Tourist Accommodation Ledger (MCST)
  • Guests(USA): Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Trends Report (STR)
  • Rooms(USA): Compendium of Tourism Statistics (UNWTO), Census Database (STR)
  • Period: 2005-2020

※ General & residential accommodations other than rural and urban minbaks asre included for Korea. If there exists a discrepancy between data sources for an establishment, the discrepancy was settled through an algorithm before use.