Whatever Happened To No Vacancy Signs?

November 18, 2016 in Daily Bulletin

Hotels across the United States used to have bright “No Vacancy” signs that would light up to let travelers know that there’s no point stopping by. Paul Lukas explained why you don’t see them anymore:

  • Hotels now usually belong to a chain, and if they’re full, they still want potential customers to come in, so they can refer them to a sister branch.
  • Travelers, for their part, now prefer to book online rather than traverse highways looking for hotels with vacancies.
  • The concept of “vacancy” itself is beginning to mean less anyway. Hotels will frequently overbook since not all guests show up. Arrive late enough and a hotel might just decide to give you a room reserved for someone else.
  • And then there’s good old fashioned prejudice. Don’t like the guest trying to find a room? Tell them you’re full!
  • As the signs become less popular, their end becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. There are now precious few engineers who know how to perform maintenance on the neon signs.

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