If you’re considering investing in or managing a small hotel, one of the first things you’ll need to determine is the ideal room count. But how many rooms should you plan for? In this comprehensive guide, we’ll dig into the data to answer the question: what is the average room count for a small hotel?

In short, most industry sources define a small hotel as having anywhere from 25 to 150 rooms, with the average falling around 50-80 rooms. However, average room counts can vary significantly based on factors like location, target guest segments, amenities offered, and more.

Over the next 3000 words, we’ll analyze the average room counts for small hotels in detail. You’ll learn how definitions of “small hotel” vary, data on typical room counts in the U.S. and globally, how room supply impacts profitability, and strategies for picking the optimal size for a new or existing small hotel property.

Defining Small Hotels

When it comes to defining small hotels, the primary factor that is considered is the number of rooms they have available for guests. However, the exact criteria for classifying a hotel as small can vary depending on the industry and region.

Let’s take a closer look at how small hotels are defined in the hospitality industry.

Industry Definitions Based on Room Count

In general, small hotels are often characterized by having a limited number of rooms compared to larger establishments. While there is no universally agreed-upon threshold for what constitutes a small hotel, industry standards often consider hotels with less than 50 rooms as falling into this category.

For example, the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AH&LA) defines small hotels as those with less than 75 rooms. Similarly, the Small Luxury Hotels of the World organization classifies small hotels as properties with fewer than 50 rooms.

It’s important to note that these definitions are not set in stone and may vary depending on local regulations and market dynamics. Some regions may have lower or higher thresholds for classifying hotels as small, particularly in areas with limited land availability or strict zoning restrictions.

Other Factors That Classify Small Hotels

While room count is the primary factor in classifying small hotels, there are other considerations that can impact this categorization. These factors include:

  • Property size: Small hotels are often characterized by their compact size, with a limited footprint compared to larger resorts or chain hotels.
  • Service offerings: Small hotels may offer a more intimate and personalized guest experience, with a focus on individualized attention and unique amenities.
  • Location: Small hotels can be found in a variety of settings, including urban areas, rural landscapes, or even historic buildings.
  • Target market: Small hotels often cater to specific niche markets, such as luxury travelers, eco-conscious tourists, or budget-conscious individuals.

It’s worth mentioning that the classification of a hotel as small can also have implications for the level of competition it faces in the market. Smaller hotels may need to differentiate themselves from larger establishments by offering a distinct ambiance, specialized services, or unique features that attract guests seeking a more personalized experience.

To learn more about the different types of hotels and their classifications, you can visit the websites of industry associations such as the AH&LA (https://www.ahla.com/) or consult local hospitality regulations and guidelines.

Average Room Counts for U.S. Small Hotels

When it comes to small hotels in the United States, the average number of rooms can vary depending on several factors. However, statistical data suggests that a range of 50-80 rooms is the most common among small hotels.

This size allows for a comfortable number of rooms while still maintaining a personalized and intimate atmosphere for guests.

Breakdown by Hotel Class and Location

Small hotels can be found in various locations across the country, ranging from bustling cities to quaint towns. The average room count can differ based on the hotel’s class and location. For example, small boutique hotels in popular tourist destinations may have fewer rooms, typically around 50, to provide a unique and exclusive experience to guests.

On the other hand, small hotels located near airports or business districts may have slightly higher room counts, averaging around 70-80 rooms, to cater to the needs of business travelers.

It’s important to note that these numbers are averages and can vary from hotel to hotel. Some small hotels may have fewer than 50 rooms, while others may have more than 80 rooms. The variation depends on factors such as the size of the property, available space, and the target market the hotel aims to serve.

Impact of Brand Affiliation on Size

Another factor that can influence the average room count for small hotels is brand affiliation. Small hotels that are part of a larger hotel chain or brand tend to have more standardized room counts. This is because brand affiliations often come with specific requirements and guidelines for the hotel’s size and amenities.

For instance, a small hotel affiliated with a well-known brand may have a room count closer to the upper end of the range, around 70-80 rooms. This allows them to offer consistent services and amenities that align with the brand’s standards.

On the other hand, independent small hotels may have more flexibility in determining their room counts, often falling within the 50-70 range.

Room Counts for Small Hotels Worldwide

When it comes to small hotels, room counts can vary significantly depending on various factors such as location, target market, and available space. To get a better understanding of the average number of rooms in small hotels worldwide, let’s delve into international size comparisons and explore the factors that impact the global supply of hotel rooms.

International Size Comparisons

Small hotels can differ in size from country to country. In some regions, a small hotel may have just a handful of rooms, while in others, it could have dozens. For example, in popular tourist destinations like Bali, small hotels often have around 10 to 20 rooms.

On the other hand, in metropolitan cities like Tokyo or New York, small hotels may have up to 50 rooms or more to accommodate the high demand from business and leisure travelers.

According to a study conducted by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the average number of rooms in small hotels across different countries ranges from 10 to 50. However, it’s important to note that these figures can vary considerably depending on the specific location and market conditions.

Additionally, the definition of a small hotel can also vary across countries, further impacting the room counts.

Factors Impacting Global Supply

Several factors influence the global supply of hotel rooms in small hotels. One significant factor is the availability of land or property suitable for hotel development. In densely populated cities or tourist hotspots, finding suitable space for small hotels can be challenging, leading to smaller room counts.

Conversely, in less crowded areas with ample land, small hotels may have the opportunity to expand and offer more rooms.

Another factor that impacts room counts is the market demand. Small hotels often cater to specific niches and target markets, such as budget travelers, eco-tourists, or boutique hotel enthusiasts. Depending on the target market’s preferences and the overall demand for accommodation in a particular area, small hotels may adjust their room counts accordingly.

For example, if there is a high demand for budget accommodation in a popular tourist destination, small hotels may opt for more rooms to meet the needs of budget-conscious travelers.

It’s worth mentioning that the availability of resources, such as trained staff and financial capital, can also influence the room counts in small hotels. Limited resources may constrain the ability of small hotels to expand or maintain a larger number of rooms.

How Room Supply Impacts Hotel Profitability

When it comes to hotel profitability, the number of rooms available plays a crucial role. The room supply directly affects several key factors that impact a hotel’s financial success.

Fixed vs. Variable Costs

One of the ways room supply impacts hotel profitability is through fixed and variable costs. Fixed costs, such as mortgage payments, property taxes, and insurance, remain constant regardless of the number of rooms occupied.

On the other hand, variable costs, including housekeeping, utilities, and amenities, increase with each additional occupied room.

Having a higher number of rooms can help spread fixed costs over a larger revenue base, potentially reducing the overall cost per room. However, it’s essential to strike a balance between the number of rooms and the demand to avoid high vacancy rates that could lead to increased variable costs and decreased profitability.

Impact on Occupancy and ADR

The number of rooms available directly affects a hotel’s occupancy rate and average daily rate (ADR). Occupancy rate refers to the percentage of rooms occupied during a specific period, while ADR is the average price per room sold.

A smaller hotel with a limited number of rooms may have higher occupancy rates due to higher demand and limited supply. However, this could lead to lower ADR as the hotel may need to offer competitive rates to attract guests.

On the other hand, larger hotels with more rooms may have a lower occupancy rate but higher ADR, resulting in comparable or even higher profitability.

It’s crucial for hoteliers to analyze market conditions, competition, and demand trends to determine the optimal room supply that maximizes both occupancy and ADR while ensuring profitability.

Optimizing Staffing Ratios

The number of rooms in a hotel also influences the staffing ratios, which can significantly impact profitability. With a higher room supply, hotels can distribute staff across a larger number of rooms, potentially reducing labor costs per room.

However, it’s important to strike a balance between staffing levels and guest satisfaction. Insufficient staffing can lead to poor service quality and negative guest experiences, affecting the hotel’s reputation and future bookings.

On the other hand, overstaffing can increase labor costs without a proportional increase in revenue.

Hoteliers should carefully analyze guest expectations, seasonal demand variations, and operational efficiency to determine the optimal staffing ratios that ensure profitability while maintaining excellent guest satisfaction levels.

Picking the Right Size for a Small Hotel

When it comes to starting a small hotel, one of the crucial decisions is determining the right size for your property. This decision will directly impact your hotel’s operations, profitability, and customer satisfaction.

There are several factors to consider when determining the number of rooms that your small hotel should have.

Tailoring to Target Market

One factor to consider when picking the right size for a small hotel is the target market you want to cater to. Are you targeting budget-conscious travelers, luxury-seeking guests, or business professionals?

Understanding your target market will help you determine the number of rooms you need to accommodate their needs. For instance, a small hotel targeting budget-conscious travelers might prioritize offering a larger number of smaller, more affordable rooms, while a hotel targeting luxury-seeking guests might focus on providing a smaller number of spacious and high-end rooms.

Constraints of Building or Land

The constraints of your building or land can also play a significant role in determining the size of your small hotel. If you have a limited space available, you may need to work with what you have and optimize the number of rooms accordingly.

On the other hand, if you have the opportunity to expand or renovate your property in the future, you might consider starting with a smaller number of rooms and leaving room for growth. It’s essential to consult with architects, contractors, and local authorities to understand any limitations or zoning regulations that may affect your hotel’s size.

Opportunities to Add Rooms Later

Flexibility is crucial when it comes to the size of a small hotel. While it’s essential to have a sufficient number of rooms to meet demand, it’s also beneficial to have the ability to add rooms later if needed.

This allows you to adapt to changing market conditions and increase capacity as your business grows. Consider designing your hotel in a way that allows for future expansion, whether it’s through adding additional floors or converting existing spaces.

This foresight can save you time and money in the long run.

Ultimately, picking the right size for a small hotel requires careful consideration of your target market, building constraints, and future growth opportunities. By taking these factors into account, you can make an informed decision that sets your small hotel up for success.


When embarking on a new small hotel project or evaluating an existing property, carefully analyzing the ideal room count based on location, target market, amenities, and profit goals is crucial.

While the average U.S. small hotel has 50-80 rooms, the optimal size can vary significantly. By understanding industry benchmarks, factors that impact profitability, and strategies to pick the right room supply, small hotel investors and operators can make data-driven decisions to maximize their property’s financial success.

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