Motel 6 was founded by William Becker and Paul Greene in Santa Barbara, California in 1962.
The partners wanted to build motels with bargain rates and decided on the rate of $6 per night; a rate which would cover building costs, land leases, and janitorial supplies. This $6 rate is the reason for the name “Motel 6.”
To cut costs the brand offered coin-operated black and white television sets instead of the free color televisions offered at more upscale hotels. Motel 6 also had no on-site dining, a model that continues today.
Throughout the 1960’s the Motel 6 model became more popular and the company began to to take a small market share away from bigger chains.
By 1980 Motel 6 had 300 locations.
Kohlberg Kravis Roberts bought Motel 6 in 1985 and began to move it away from the no-frills approach.
French-based Accor bought the company in 1990 and began franchising in 1994 in order to expand more quickly
In 2000, Motel 6 expanded internationally for the first time with a location in Ontario, Canada.
The Blackstone Group bought the motel chain in 2012 for $1.9 billion.
Today Motel 6 has more than 1,000 locations in the United States and Canada. Motel 6 also operates extended-stay hotel chain Studio 6, which has about 60 locations.