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What is the Largest Hotel Chain?

Are you wondering which hotel chain is the biggest in the world?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: The largest hotel chain in the world is Marriott International.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take a closer look at the world’s largest hotel chain and explore what makes it so successful. We’ll also examine other hotel chains that are in the running for the title and discuss the factors that determine a hotel chain’s size and success.

What is a Hotel Chain?

Before diving into the largest hotel chains, it is important to understand what a hotel chain is. Simply put, a hotel chain is a group of hotels that are owned and operated by the same company. These hotels typically share the same branding and standards for quality and service.

Definition of a Hotel Chain: According to Investopedia, a hotel chain is “a group of hotels owned by one company, which may have different owners or franchisees running the individual hotels.” Hotel chains can range from budget options to luxury brands and can be found in various locations around the world.

How Do Hotel Chains Work? Hotel chains operate by using a franchising model or by owning and managing their own hotels. In the franchising model, individual hotel owners pay fees to the larger company in exchange for the right to use the brand name, marketing, and reservation systems. The larger company provides support and guidelines for the individual hotels to maintain the brand and quality standards.

The Benefits of Staying at a Hotel Chain: Staying at a hotel chain can have many benefits for travelers. These benefits can include brand recognition, loyalty rewards programs, consistent quality and service standards, and larger availability of rooms in various locations. Additionally, many hotel chains offer amenities such as fitness centers, swimming pools, and on-site restaurants.

The Largest Hotel Chain in the World

When it comes to the largest hotel chain in the world, Marriott International takes the crown. The company, which started as a humble root beer stand in Washington DC in 1927, has grown into a global hospitality giant with over 30 hotel brands under its umbrella.

Marriott International’s History and Growth

Marriott International was founded by J. Willard Marriott and his wife Alice S. Marriott, who opened their first hotel, the Twin Bridges Marriott Motor Hotel, in Arlington, Virginia in 1957. Since then, the company has grown rapidly through strategic acquisitions and partnerships.

One of the key milestones in Marriott’s growth was its acquisition of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company in 1995, which added luxury properties to its portfolio. The company also acquired Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide in 2016, making it the largest hotel chain in the world with over 1.3 million rooms in more than 130 countries.

Marriott’s Hotel Brands

Marriott International has over 30 hotel brands, each catering to different segments of the market. Some of its most well-known brands include:

  • Marriott Hotels & Resorts: the company’s flagship brand, catering to business and leisure travelers looking for upscale accommodations
  • Sheraton: a mid-tier brand known for its comfortable rooms and convenient locations
  • Ritz-Carlton: a luxury brand with properties in some of the world’s most desirable destinations
  • Courtyard by Marriott: a brand focused on providing comfortable accommodations for business travelers

The Size and Scale of Marriott International Today

As of 2021, Marriott International has over 7,600 properties worldwide, with more than 1.4 million rooms. The company is also the largest employer in the hospitality industry, with over 176,000 employees around the world.

Marriott’s dominance in the industry is reflected in its revenue, which totaled $10.6 billion in 2020. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has continued to expand, with plans to open over 2,000 new hotels in the coming years.

It is worth mentioning that Marriott International is not only focused on growth, but also on sustainability. The company has set ambitious goals to reduce its environmental impact, including reducing water usage by 15% and carbon emissions by 30% by 2025.

Other Hotel Chains in the Running

When it comes to the largest hotel chains in the world, there are a few key players in the industry. While Marriott International takes the top spot, there are several other hotel chains that are hot on their heels.

Hotel Chain Number of Properties Number of Rooms
Hilton Worldwide 6,145 971,000
Wyndham Hotels & Resorts 9,280 828,000
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 5,742 883,000

Hilton Worldwide is one of the largest hotel chains in the world, with over 6,145 properties and 971,000 rooms. They have a presence in over 119 countries and territories, making them a truly global brand.

Wyndham Hotels & Resorts is another major player in the hotel industry, with over 9,280 properties and 828,000 rooms. They operate a variety of hotel brands, including Ramada, Super 8, and Days Inn, among others.

InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) is also a major player in the hotel industry, with over 5,742 properties and 883,000 rooms. They are the parent company of hotel brands such as Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, and InterContinental, among others.

While these hotel chains may not be as large as Marriott International, they are still significant players in the industry. Keep in mind that the number of properties and rooms listed here are subject to change, as hotel chains are constantly expanding and acquiring new properties.

What Makes a Hotel Chain Successful?

There are a variety of factors that contribute to the success of a hotel chain. Some of the most important include:

  • Brand Recognition and Reputation: A hotel chain’s brand and reputation can make or break its success. It is worth mentioning that many of the largest hotel chains have been around for decades and have built up a strong brand name and reputation over time. For example, Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. has been in operation for over 100 years and is one of the most well-known hotel chains in the world.
  • Customer Loyalty Programs: Many hotel chains offer customer loyalty programs to incentivize guests to return and continue booking with them. These programs typically offer rewards such as discounted rates, free nights, and upgrades. For instance, Marriott International, Inc. has a well-regarded loyalty program called Marriott Bonvoy.
  • Global Reach and Expansion: Hotel chains that have a global presence are more likely to be successful. This is because they have the ability to tap into a larger customer base and cater to travelers from all over the world. For example, InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (IHG) has a presence in over 100 countries and territories.
  • Investment in Technology and Innovation: Hotel chains that invest in technology and innovation are more likely to stay ahead of the competition. This can include everything from mobile check-in to smart room technology. For instance, Hilton Worldwide Holdings, Inc. has invested heavily in technology and has a mobile app that allows guests to check-in and choose their own room.

The Future of Hotel Chains

As the world recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the hotel industry has faced significant challenges. Many hotel chains have struggled with a decrease in bookings and revenue. However, the future of hotel chains is not all bleak. Some hotel chains have adapted to the changing landscape and have even found ways to thrive.

The Impact of COVID-19 on the Hotel Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the hotel industry. According to a report by McKinsey & Company, hotel revenue per available room (RevPAR) decreased by 80% in April 2020 compared to the previous year. Many hotels had to close temporarily, and some may never reopen.

However, the pandemic has also presented opportunities for hotel chains to innovate and adapt. For example, some hotels have implemented new cleaning protocols to reassure guests that their rooms are safe. Other hotels have started offering day-use rooms as an alternative to overnight stays.

New Trends and Innovations in the Hotel Industry

One trend that has emerged in the hotel industry is the use of technology to enhance the guest experience. Many hotels now offer mobile check-in and keyless room entry using smartphones. Some hotels are also experimenting with virtual reality to give guests a preview of their rooms and amenities before they arrive.

Another trend is the rise of wellness-focused hotels. These hotels offer amenities like yoga classes, healthy food options, and spa treatments to promote health and well-being. Some hotel chains, like Marriott’s Westin brand, have made wellness a core part of their brand identity.

The Rise of Alternative Accommodations

One challenge that hotel chains face is competition from alternative accommodations like Airbnb and VRBO. These platforms offer travelers a wider range of options, including apartments and vacation homes. According to a report by Statista, Airbnb had over 7 million listings worldwide in 2020.

However, some hotel chains have responded to this challenge by launching their own alternative accommodations brands. For example, Marriott has launched Homes & Villas by Marriott International, which offers luxury vacation homes in destinations around the world.


In conclusion, Marriott International is currently the largest hotel chain in the world, but there are other hotel chains that are also major players in the industry. Factors such as brand recognition, customer loyalty programs, global reach, and investment in technology and innovation are key to the success of a hotel chain. As the hotel industry evolves and new trends emerge, it will be interesting to see how the largest hotel chains adapt and continue to grow and succeed.