Do you know the history of the hotel industry?

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Since the dawn of time, merchants and travellers have found refuge in places of hospitality and catering known as "hotels". While during the Middle Ages this hospitality was only organised by the Church, over time, the formal hotel industry underwent a notable evolution.

The hotel industry has become widespread in the wake of the development of tourism, a major pillar of the sector. But before reaching this point, many things happened... Our hotel in Saint-Malo intra-muros proposes to go back in time and trace the origins of the hotel industry, an activity that is now well established.

The duty to accommodate and restore travellers

At a time when our hotel in Saint-Malo did not yet exist, i.e. in ancient times, it was already considered a duty to welcome a stranger to one's home. In Greece, the first sacred texts said that it was Zeus, the father of the gods himself, who sent the itinerants. It was therefore obligatory to give them shelter and food.

In France, this tradition continued until the Second Empire, the constitutional and political system established by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, President of the French Republic. At that time, post houses, a kind of inn, allowed travellers to rest and look after their horses.

After 1860, the first seaside resorts appeared and with them, prestigious hotels. The first large establishments were built in Deauville, Le Touquet, Arcachon and Cabourg.

World War I: cheap hotels arrive

The first cheap hotels appeared during the First World War. Smaller, less well decorated and more reasonable, the Prince de Galle, the Georges V and the Bristol were nonetheless emblematic. It must be said that between the two world wars, the very first paid holidays encouraged the development of a more affordable hotel industry.

In 1949, France became the leading tourist nation thanks to a major reconstruction plan. However, almost 30% of its hotels were unused. In the early 1960s, France was dethroned, due to less comfortable, less hygienic hotels than those of other major nations.

Classification of hotels

This explains why, as early as 1965, new hotel establishments were created. From then on, chains, campsites, holiday villages, self-catering cottages and pleasure boats were legion. As for the starred hotels such as our charming hotel in Saint Malo, they continue to develop today to offer an ever better quality of service.

Finally, it should be noted that the rapid expansion of the aviation industry has allowed hotels to accelerate their growth. The advent of low-cost airlines, the rise of online booking sites at the expense of traditional travel agencies, and the possibility of renting a car at lower cost have made travel more accessible, which of course benefits the tourism industry as a whole.

The digitalisation of hotel offers

While the history and growth of the travel industry has always been exponential, it must be admitted that technological advances have had a huge impact on the sector. For smaller companies, the evolution of new technologies is not always easy to grasp, but the travel industry has no choice but to adapt to the challenges of tomorrow.

However, the core of the hotel business has remained unchanged: while the desires and needs of 21st century guests are different from those of the 18th century, the basic principle of accommodation remains the same, although the modern industry incorporates more features and services to ensure optimum guest comfort.

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