The Negro Motorist Green Book (1936–64) listed lodgings, restaurants, fuel stations, liquor stores, and barber and beauty salons without racial restrictions; the smaller Directory of Negro Hotels and Guest Houses in the United States (1939, U. Combining the individual cabins of the tourist court under a single roof yielded the motor court or motor hotel.A handful of motor courts were beginning to call themselves motels, a term coined in 1926.As demand increased, for-profit commercial camps gradually displaced public camp grounds.
A motel was typically single-story with rooms opening directly onto a parking lot, making it easy to unload suitcases from a vehicle.
Several historic motels are listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.
Motels differ from hotels in their location along highways, as opposed to the urban cores favored by hotels, and their orientation to the outside (in contrast to hotels, whose doors typically face an interior hallway).
The term referred initially to a type of hotel consisting of a single building of connected rooms whose doors faced a parking lot and in some circumstances, a common area or a series of small cabins with common parking.
Motels are often individually owned, though motel chains do exist.