The world’s biggest hotel companies. Old trends and new tendencies

Andrzej Kowalczyk 1
  • 1 Department of Geography of Tourism & Recreation, Institute of Socio-Economic Geography & Spatial Management, Faculty of Geography & Regional Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland


Many hotels are owned by a few dozen so-called hotel chains or hotel systems. The rapid growth of big hotel companies can be regarded as proof of the entrance of hotel systems into the globalisation phase. Since 2006, companies from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) have been among the world’s top hotel systems. This year can be considered as the symbolic beginning of a new stage in the history of the largest hotel systems. This paper shows two main trends. On the one hand, the processes that could be observed in the market of the major global hotel systems from the 1990s are still discernible (for example, the position of the so-called hotel megasystems). On the other hand, new trends have come to the fore in recent years, notably the emergence of systems from the People’s Republic of China among the world’s largest hotel systems.

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