Here's a motel you can find in the dark. With its homey advertising tag line, "We'll leave the light on for you," Motel 6 is the established economy lodging chain, with more than 1,000 locations in the US and Canada. The brand caters primarily to budget-minded business travelers and families . It offers a limited selection of amenities, including cable TV, free local calling, and complimentary coffee in the morning. It also has an extended-stay offshoot brand, Studio 6, which has about 60 locations. Studio 6 provides larger suites equipped with kitchens at a reduced weekly rate. Motel 6 is the flagship budget brand of Accor North America. In 2012 Accor announced plans to sell Motel 6.
Accor is selling the Motel 6 and Studio 6 brands to private equity firm The Blackstone Group for $1.9 billion. It is making the divestiture in order to cut debt and focus on more profitable businesses (such as its Sofitel and Novotel hotel brands in North America), and international expansion in Asia and other emerging markets. Blackstone plans to invest in the hotel chain as it looks to increase revenue in the US and Canada. It is using the deal to add to its existing hotel assets, which include Hilton Worldwide.
The budget chain is one of the largest company-operated motel businesses in the US. About 70% of Motel 6's guests come from the business travel segment, with the remaining 30% representing leisure travelers. The split for Studio 6 is about 65% business, 25% leisure, and 15% residents. The company has been focusing on franchising activities. It began franchising the Motel 6 concept in 1996 and reached its 100th franchised location in 2000; it now has more than 400 franchised locations.
The beginning of 2011 marked the opening of the 1,100th Motel 6, in Cleburne, Texas. In 2010 the company opened nearly 60 Motel 6 and Studio 6 franchise locations. The new properties incorporate the Phoenix concept in their design, which combines contemporary styling with environmentally-friendly features. Phoenix Motel 6 rooms include elements such as modern furniture, hardwood floors, flat screen HDTVs, and granite countertops.
Motel 6 was started in 1962 by two building contractors, Paul Greene and William Becker. With an $800,000 investment, they opened two motels in Santa Barbara, California offering a night's stay for $6. An investor group led by Accor -- including Accor founders Paul Dubrule and Gerard Pelisson -- acquired the Motel 6 brand in 1990 in order to expand internationally; it financed the purchase with debt.