Motel 6 Celebrates 50-Year Heritage

America's most iconic hotel chain honors the past with an eye on the future

Motel 6, the most-recognized highway oasis for road-tripping adventurers, celebrates a 50-year legacy in 2012. Founded in Santa Barbara, Calif. in 1962 by two genuine American entrepreneurs, the first location’s clean rooms and unbeatable nightly rates were a hit with budget-conscious travelers. Decades later, Carrollton, Texas-based Motel 6 has welcomed millions of travelers over the years to its 1,100 company-owned and franchised locations, or more than 106,000 hotel rooms, still at the lowest price of any national chain.

“Motel 6 has a lot to celebrate, having opened our 500th franchise-owned location this year,” said Motel 6 chief executive officer Jim Amorosia. “Serving the budget-conscious traveler has always been – and will continue to be – our mission. The future of Motel 6 will be one of growth and sustainability for our brands, our partners and our people; we’re focused on expanding, primarily through franchising.”

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Motel 6 unveiled a new advertising campaign on April 9, highlighting its heritage and introducing a younger generation to the brand. The advertising campaign includes two television spots, “Lightbulb” and “Metamorphosis,” that evoke feelings of nostalgia for Motel 6 and the American road trip, with a little help from the brand’s longstanding “voice,” Tom Bodett, a modern twist and forward focus on the future.

A Nostalgic Past, But a Brighter Future

Homebuilders Paul Greene and William Becker were inspired to create a “no-frills” hotel chain following a month-long, cross-country road trip. Soon, the first Motel 6 was built on the sandy shores of Santa Barbara’s Cabrillo Beach. Sleepy travelers found free coffee, a pet-friendly environment, two bars of soap and no-iron sheets, all for just $6 a night. Fifty years later, with the highest occupancy of any hotel chain, today’s locations offer those same amenities and a few more modern-day necessities, including an extended cable channel lineup, free long distance calls, and at most locations, Wi-Fi web access and swimming pools.

The Modern, Greener Lodging Experience

Just as midcentury travelers’ styles have shifted, Motel 6 is renovating, too. In 2012, the company plans to renovate 100 locations with an award-winning redesign based on the chain’s “Phoenix” prototype. Nearly 9,000 rooms will get a fresh pop of color, sleek seating areas, platform beds and granite countertops. And, right now, today’s adventurer has all the technology needed to virtually explore and books rooms in advance via the Motel 6 iPhone®, iPod touch® and Android™ apps.

The red, white and blue “6” also will welcome eco-friendly explorers into its next era with a future-focused sustainability plan. “Phoenix” prototype buildings have up to 30 percent more efficiency than the average Motel 6, thanks to low-E glass-tinted windows, high-efficiency laundry equipment, 80 percent recycled-material flooring and energy-efficient lighting – even in the parking lot. The earth-friendly initiative will minimize carbon footprints while keeping room rates low.

This Earth Day, Motel 6 is launching a network-wide initiative to collect and recycle 50,000 compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and alkaline batteries. Consumers may support Motel 6’s efforts by dropping off bulbs and batteries at any participating Motel 6 location throughout the month of May.

Additionally, Motel 6 is encouraging all travelers to join in its 50th Anniversary celebration by sharing their favorite road trip memories on Motel 6’s Facebook page,, or booking upcoming summer stays at

About Motel 6

Motel 6 offers the lowest price of any national chain at more than 1,100 company-owned and franchised locations throughout the United States and Canada. For over 25 years, Motel 6 has used the tagline, “We’ll leave the light on for you®,” earning the chain the highest brand recognition in the economy lodging segment. Motel 6 was the first national pet friendly chain, welcoming pets since 1962. Standard amenities include free local phone calls, no long distance access charges, free morning coffee and expanded cable channel line-up. Most locations offer Wi-Fi Internet access, swimming pools and guest laundry facilities. For more information, visit

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