generation x inspires motel 6; budget hotel snags travel + leisure’s 2010 design award

Motel 6, catering to more Elizas than Eloisas, was the dark horse for sure, walking away with Travel + Leisure‘s 2010 design award. Their intention of designing a hotel with Generation X in mind, leaves edgy boutique hotels crying in their yogurt parfaits.

And what does Generation X want in a hotel? According to USA Today, the “fickle travelers” want high-tech features, contemporary design and unique style – all in a budget hotel.

Growing up the 70s, our family took many road trips, most of which involved a U-Haul truck crammed with our possessions. Imagine six people equally crammed into an old car with marginal A/C driving from L.A. to Colorado Springs; Colorado to West Texas; West Texas back to California. So many personalities squished for hours on end. There was never a more welcome sight than the kids-stay-free/pets-allowed Motel 6, that iconic oasis of many a little Gen Xer. Gimme my bathing suit and a swimming pool and I have found the great equalizer.

Marco! Polo!

Who’s to say if the Travel + Leisure judges didn’t include a few Gen Xers expressing a little affection for the past? We all seem to have an early appetite for nostalgia.


Having spent most of my career in public relations, I’m always interested in who is marketing what to me along with the larger demographic of Generation X, those people born roughly between 1961 and 1981. I attempt to cover this every Monday in my Market Monday or Who is Marketing to Generation X? posts. In the same vein, I love to see how and why ideas and technology spread through cultures. This is called the diffusion of innovation. Innovators are the first to adopt or reject new ideas, etc.

Who is marketing to you lately?

What hotel/motel memories do you have from your growing up years?

You can learn more about how hotels and motels are responding to the widening needs of Generation X  in Rob Rush’s article, Hospitality Across Generations: Move Over Black Tie, Hello Blue Jeans!

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  1. says

    @FLCONFETTI – Girl, Days Inn was upscale! Holiday Inn, a cut above Motel 6. What fun to recall. And, man, the shaking bed! My dad would NEVER get me a quarter. Years later, I stayed in a dumpy hotel that had a shaking bed. I put a quarter in only to discover it was broken. Creepy is right.

  2. says

    @JOHN J FRANKS – The only way I ever got over the hard stuff, and I’m sure I have plenty left in me to work through – was to revisit the memories one by one and remember what I loved about them and lost. Somehow, my love for the past – be it people or places – heals me. It does bum me when trendy takes over the historic value of a place. I’ve been to that strip in Albuquerque you’re talking about. It was 12 years ago, and then, it felt like something was missing or being invented that I wasn’t sure belonged. Your comments add so much here, John. I’m so glad you feel comfortable sharing!!

  3. says

    Every summer for us was a car trip from FL to…New Jersey…Indiana…North Carolina…and twice all the way to Maine. Mom had her Days Inn and Holiday Inn guidebooks handy. I know every Days Inn on I-95 from FL to NJ. All that mattered was that there was a pool; but the truly special treat for me was the hotel that had the ‘magic fingers’ contraption. For 25cents the bed would shake for 10 mins. Creepy now, fun at 8.

  4. says

    @JOHN – I wasn’t sure where it was, but I was thinking that. Man, I’ve probably stayed at this hotel having passed through Albuquerque with my dear Daddy so many times. There is no sky like that in New Mexico. You’re so lucky to live there. So, have you seen this Motel 6? Thanks for leaving a comment.