Special Report

Hotels You Should Never Stay In

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Choosing which hotel to stay at can feel a little overwhelming nowadays. There is so much marketing, and having a brand name that you really trust is an important factor to consider. Generally speaking, branded hotels have a similar quality level across the chain (there are, of course, exceptions), so researching which brand is the best is worth the time spent. Today, we’re going to look at six hotel brands you should probably be avoiding during your next travels, plus learn a little about each chain specifically.

To compile this list, 24/7 Wall Street used data from a study conducted by Bounce to form a list of the worst review hotel chains. The study also looked at the most/least successful brands, along with the highest-reviewed brands. To determine the lowest user score, Bounce used user review data and gave it a score out of 5. For the other scores (specifically most and least successful brands), a while grading scale was used that took into account 5-star locations, availability, and annual search volume and sales. In this regard, exclusivity and fewer locations were punished, so we didn’t find this to be a great representation of what makes a brand great.

Let’s get started!

6. Motel 6

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Motel 6 is an extended-stay hotel, usually just referred to as a “motel”.
  • Score: 3.0
  • Ownership: G6 Hospitality
  • Locations: 1,430

More Temporary Housing Than A Motel

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Motel 6 is one of the most numerous and popular “extended-stay” hotel brands in the United States, but they don’t have the highest user score and end up at number six on the list. Rather surprisingly, Motel 6 is owned by G6 Hospitality, which is itself a branch of The Blackstone Group’s real-estate arm. The chain sits as an economy option for customers, which is likely part of the reason that it isn’t well-loved by the people who stay. When it comes to lodging, the most cost-efficient options generally don’t score the best.

5. Hampton By Hilton

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Hampton by Hilton belongs to the larger family of hotels operated by Hilton.
  • Score: 3.0/5
  • Ownership: Hilton Worldwide
  • Locations: 2,544

More For The Younger Crowds

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Hampton by Hilton is probably more commonly known as Hampton Inn or Hampton Inn & Suites but was later rebranded. The brand sits as a mid-level budget option from Hilton (NYSE: HLT), designed to compete against similar brands like Fairfield Inn, Holiday Inn Express, and Comfort Inn. Despite low scores, the brand has made an effort to increase its appeal to a younger crowd, something that has certainly paid off, at least based on the revenue reports from Hilton.

4. Days Inn

Days Inn is a budget option with locations all over the United States.
  • Score: 2.7/5
  • Ownership: Wyndham Hotel Group
  • Locations: 1,551

Awful Reviews

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The Days Inn is the first highest-rated entry from Wyndham on our list, which is an award they certainly don’t want. Originally founded by Cecil B. Day in Tybee Island, Georgia, it is now a widespread chain with a few variations (Days Hotel, Days Suites, Days Lodge, and more). Days is primarily an economy option, with its primary price-point competition being Super 8, Quality Inn, and Holiday Inn.

3. Wyndham Hotels

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The broad umbrella of hotels run by Wyndham totals over 20 individual brands.
  • Score: 2.7/5
  • Ownership: Wyndham Hotel Group
  • Locations: 9,280 (all franchised locations)

Too Big Too Fast

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Wyndham claims to be the largest hotel franchiser in the world, and with over 20 brands, it’s probably a valid claim. Some of the major brands under the Wyndham umbrella include Baymore, Days Inn, La Quinta, Super 8, and Travelodge, although there are quite a few more. Wyndham has a self-named chain, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, which was specifically ranked as the third-best-reviewed hotel brand. There are around 156 of these locations.

2. Ramada

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Ramada was divested into the Wyndham portfolio nearly 20 years ago after Blackstone bought Cedant.
  • Score: 2.4/5
  • Ownership: Wyndham Hotel Group
  • Locations: 919

Multiple Tiers None of Them Good

Source: Kenneth C. Zirkel / Wikimedia Commons

Continuing with brands owned by Wyndham, we have Ramada. Ramada technically no longer owns or operates any Ramada hotels after a major restructuring of Cedant, an older hospitality group that was bought by Blackstone (yes, Blackstone technically owns Wyndham, too). There are different tiers of Ramada, including Ramada Limited (a budget lodging option), all the way up to Ramada Resorts, an international touristy location in high-traffic regions.

1. Econo Lodge

Econolodge had poor ratings due to hidden fees and a misleading breakfast.
  • Score: 2.3/5
  • Ownership: Choice Hotels
  • Locations: 779

Terrible Breakfast

Cracker Barrel Breakfast Benny
Source: Michael Rivera / Wikimedia Commons

And for our winner (loser?) of the bunch, we have Econo Lodge. With economy built into the name, it’s no wonder that it received the lowest review of them all. Econo Lodge is the most prevalent chain within the Choice Hotel Group’s portfolio, primarily because of hidden fees and extremely limited breakfast options. If you want to make sure your customers don’t like you, mess with their breakfast and charge them when they weren’t expecting it!

(Dis)Honorable Hotel Mentions

Retro Vintage Image Of Old Motel And Diner Sign In Small Town USA
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Not every hotel is the worst but a lot are not the best.

Just because not these following hotels didn’t make our list, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be avoided. Here are a few (dis)honorable mentions that didn’t make the cut but should still be avoided.

Park Plaza Hotels

Park Plaza Hotel in New York
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Park Plaza Hotel in New York.

The Park Plaza hotel chain is currently owned and operated by the Raddison Hotel Group and operated is a bit of a stretch. Park Plaza has some of the lowest available rooms on the list despite having locations in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, Croatia, India, Thailand, and China. The average guest gave it only a 3.6 out of 5.

Raffles Hotels

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Even though Raffles is quite the looker on the outside. The inside has left a lot to desire. There are only 21 locations worldwide and struggle to welcome a more broad guest demographic. The Hotel chain was rated 3.9 out of 5 through guest reviews and was searched for less than 600,000 times on Google at the time of writing.

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