Motels: Riches from Royal Treatment

As the sun sinks slowly over the rim of the steering wheel, where is a vacationing family likely to put in for the night?

At the first "vacancy" sign they see, say the executives of Holiday Inns, the nation's most ubiquitous innkeeper. At the first cheap place they can find, contend the officers of Motel 6, a chain whose $6-a-person basic rate has inspired competitors across the nation to pare their prices. "At my place," answers Earl Gagosian, president of a California-based chain of just about the most expensive motels in the country.

Lately, more and more people have been staying at...

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