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How Did Motel 6 Get Its Name


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Florri Gough



When it comes to affordable and convenient accommodations, Motel 6 undoubtedly comes to mind for many travelers. This renowned motel chain has been providing budget-friendly rooms and a no-frills approach to hospitality since its inception. But have you ever wondered how Motel 6 got its name? In this article, we will explore the fascinating history behind the name and discover the significance it holds.


As the saying goes, “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” and Motel 6 embodies this principle perfectly. Known for its straightforward approach and affordable rates, Motel 6 has become synonymous with budget lodging options for travelers across North America. With over a thousand locations, it has solidified its position as one of the leading motel chains in the industry.


But what’s the story behind the name? How did Motel 6 come to be known by this unique and memorable moniker?


In order to understand the origins of the name, we need to delve into the early history of this iconic motel chain. Let’s embark on a journey through time and discover the fascinating story of how Motel 6 became the name it is known by today.


Early History of Motel 6

The early history of Motel 6 can be traced back to the mid-20th century, a time when the concept of motels was gaining popularity across the United States. The post-World War II era saw a surge in automobile ownership, leading to an increase in road trips and the need for affordable lodging along major highways.


In 1962, Motel 6 was founded by two businessmen, William Becker and Paul Greene, in Santa Barbara, California. Their vision was to create a chain of motels that would cater to budget-conscious travelers without compromising on comfort and quality.


At a time when many motels were embracing extravagant designs and extravagant amenities, Becker and Greene decided to take a different approach. Their mission was to provide simple, clean, and affordable accommodations that would appeal to a wide range of travelers.


Their first motel was located on Milestone Mo-Tel Road in Santa Barbara, which eventually became the inspiration behind the name “Motel 6.” The name perfectly encapsulated their commitment to offering budget-friendly accommodations along the main highways, where travelers could find a comfortable place to rest and continue their journey.


The success of their first motel prompted Becker and Greene to expand their business, opening more locations in California and eventually branching out to other states. The motel chain grew rapidly, driven by its affordable rates, convenient locations, and commitment to providing a hassle-free experience for guests.


One of the key factors that set Motel 6 apart from other motels at the time was its standardized design and amenities. Each motel featured a similar layout and aesthetic, with clean rooms, comfortable beds, and essential facilities such as televisions and air conditioning. This consistency allowed travelers to know exactly what to expect when they stayed at a Motel 6.


Furthermore, Motel 6 adopted a “no-frills” approach to hospitality. Instead of offering unnecessary amenities that would drive up costs, the focus was on providing the essentials at an affordable price. This resonated with travelers looking for a budget-friendly option that didn’t compromise on quality.


Through their dedication to simplicity, affordability, and consistency, Becker and Greene laid the foundation for Motel 6’s success. Their pioneering spirit and vision for budget lodging revolutionized the industry and set a new standard for affordable accommodations.


The Founder of Motel 6

William Becker and Paul Greene, the founders of Motel 6, were two visionary businessmen who recognized the need for affordable lodging options during a time when highway travel was booming. Their entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to simplicity and value played a significant role in shaping the motel chain’s success.


William Becker, born in 1921, was a prominent figure in the hospitality industry. Before co-founding Motel 6, he had already gained valuable experience in operating hotels and motels. He had also served as the president of the National Association of Hotel and Motel Owners, giving him a deep understanding of the industry.


Paul Greene, born in 1927, brought his own expertise to the table. He had previous experience in real estate and property development, which proved instrumental in the growth and expansion of the motel chain.


Together, Becker and Greene shared a common vision: to create a motel chain that provided affordable accommodations without compromising on quality. They believed that travelers deserved a clean and comfortable place to stay, even on a tight budget.


The duo was determined to challenge the prevailing notion that budget lodgings had to be dreary and run-down. They were inspired to create a new kind of motel experience, one that combined simplicity, reliability, and comfort.


With their shared vision in mind, Becker and Greene set out to create Motel 6. They opened their first motel in Santa Barbara, California, in 1962, and their concept quickly gained popularity among travelers in search of affordable accommodations along major highways.


Becker and Greene’s hands-on approach to managing the motel chain played a crucial role in its success. They focused on providing exceptional customer service and ensuring that each motel maintained the high standards they had set. They emphasized the importance of cleanliness, comfort, and convenience, making sure that guests felt welcome and well-taken care of during their stay.


The entrepreneurial spirit and dedication of William Becker and Paul Greene were instrumental in turning Motel 6 into a household name and a leader in the budget lodging industry. Their commitment to simplicity, affordability, and quality continues to shape the motel chain’s values and reputation to this day.


Naming Process of Motel 6

Choosing the right name for a business is a crucial step in creating a strong brand identity, and the founders of Motel 6 understood the importance of a memorable and meaningful name. The naming process of Motel 6 involved careful consideration of various factors, leading to the selection of a name that perfectly encapsulated the motel chain’s values and mission.


When William Becker and Paul Greene first established their motel chain in 1962, they wanted a name that would reflect their commitment to simplicity and affordability. They aimed to create a brand that stood out from other motels at the time, evoking a sense of reliability and convenience.


The founders recognized the significance of the location of their first motel, situated on Milestone Mo-Tel Road in Santa Barbara. Drawing inspiration from this, they decided to incorporate the number “6” into the name of their motel chain.


The number “6” symbolized their offering of accommodations along major highways, making it easy for travelers to find a place to rest and continue their journey. It also represented their commitment to simplicity, with no unnecessary frills or extravagance.


In addition to the significance of the number, the founders wanted a name that was simple, catchy, and easy to remember. They aimed for a name that would resonate with travelers and establish a strong brand presence.


After careful consideration and brainstorming, Becker and Greene decided on the name “Motel 6.” The name captured the essence of their vision – offering affordable and convenient accommodations along major highways, while also embodying the simplicity that made their brand unique.


The name “Motel 6” quickly caught on and became ingrained in the minds of travelers throughout the country. Its straightforwardness and clarity resonated with the target audience, making it easy to recognize and remember. This was a key factor in the motel chain’s rapid growth and success.


Since its inception, the name “Motel 6” has become synonymous with budget-friendly lodging options. It represents a commitment to simplicity, affordability, and convenience, making it a trusted choice for travelers seeking value without compromising on quality.


The naming process of Motel 6 demonstrates the founders’ astute understanding of the importance of a well-chosen name. By selecting a name that resonated with their target audience and aligned with their brand values, they created a strong foundation for the motel chain’s future success.


The Significance of the Number 6

The number “6” holds a deep significance in the history of Motel 6. It was carefully chosen by the founders, William Becker and Paul Greene, to reflect their commitment to simplicity and convenience. The number “6” represents several key aspects that align with the motel chain’s values and mission.


One of the key meanings behind the number “6” is its association with highway travel. Motel 6 was initially established to cater to travelers along major highways, providing them with a convenient place to rest and continue their journey. The founders wanted the number in the name to symbolize this convenience and accessibility, emphasizing their commitment to serving customers on-the-go.


Additionally, the number “6” holds a symbolic representation of simplicity. Becker and Greene wanted to create a motel chain that differentiated itself from other establishments by embracing simplicity and affordability. They believed in providing clean, comfortable accommodations without unnecessary frills or complexities. The number “6” aligns perfectly with this principle, reflecting their mission to offer a straightforward and hassle-free experience for travelers.


Moreover, the number “6” is considered lucky in many cultures. It is often associated with harmony, balance, and good fortune. By incorporating the number into the name, Motel 6 aimed to evoke positive associations and create a welcoming and auspicious environment for guests.


Furthermore, the founders wanted a name that was short, memorable, and easy to pronounce. The number “6” fit these criteria perfectly, with its simplicity and strong visual impact. This allowed the motel chain to establish a brand presence that stood out from the competition, making it easily recognizable and memorable for travelers.


The significance of the number “6” goes beyond just a numerical value. It embodies the values and principles that Motel 6 represents – simplicity, convenience, affordability, and a touch of luck. It has become a recognizable symbol of the motel chain’s commitment to providing a reliable and comfortable experience for guests while staying true to its budget-friendly approach.


Over the years, the number “6” has become deeply ingrained in the motel chain’s brand identity, serving as a constant reminder of its roots and vision. It has helped Motel 6 establish itself as a trusted and recognizable name in the hospitality industry, synonymous with affordable lodging options and a commitment to excellent service.


Motel 6 Today

Since its humble beginnings in Santa Barbara in 1962, Motel 6 has steadily grown to become one of the most well-known and trusted motel chains in North America. Today, it operates over a thousand locations across the United States and Canada, proudly upholding its commitment to simplicity, affordability, and convenience.


Motel 6 continues to prioritize providing clean, comfortable accommodations at affordable rates, making it an attractive choice for budget-conscious travelers. Each location maintains the iconic red and blue signage, creating a sense of familiarity and brand consistency.


In recent years, Motel 6 has undergone several enhancements to meet the changing needs of its guests. The motel chain has embraced technology, offering online booking platforms and mobile apps for convenient and seamless reservations. Guests can easily find and reserve their rooms with just a few clicks, ensuring a hassle-free booking experience.


In addition to the convenience of online reservations, Motel 6 has also improved its amenities and guest services. While still maintaining its commitment to simplicity, many locations now offer modern amenities such as Wi-Fi access, expanded television channels, and upgraded bedding to enhance the overall guest experience.


Motel 6 also continues to prioritize cleanliness and guest safety. Each location undergoes rigorous cleaning protocols to ensure that rooms are spotless and comfortable for every guest. The motel chain has implemented enhanced security measures to provide a secure environment for guests, ensuring their peace of mind during their stay.


Furthermore, Motel 6 has expanded its sustainability efforts in recent years. The company has taken steps to minimize its environmental impact through energy-efficient practices, water conservation initiatives, and waste reduction programs. This commitment to sustainability aligns with the growing concern for eco-friendly practices in the hospitality industry.


With its widespread presence and commitment to providing affordable accommodations, Motel 6 has become a go-to choice for a variety of travelers. Whether it’s families on a road trip, business travelers on a budget, or individuals looking for a comfortable place to rest during their journey, Motel 6 offers a reliable and affordable option.


Looking ahead, Motel 6 continues to expand and adapt to meet the changing needs of its guests. With a focus on maintaining its core values of simplicity and affordability, the motel chain strives to provide a consistent and comfortable experience for travelers, making it a top choice for budget-friendly accommodations.



The story behind Motel 6’s name is a testament to the power of simplicity and innovation. Founded in 1962 by William Becker and Paul Greene, Motel 6 revolutionized the budget lodging industry by offering clean, comfortable accommodations along major highways at affordable rates.


The name “Motel 6” was thoughtfully chosen to reflect the chain’s commitment to simplicity, convenience, and accessibility. The number “6” represented the motel’s promise to provide a reliable and hassle-free experience for travelers. It also symbolized their offering of accommodations along major highways, making it easy for people to find a place to rest during their journey.


Throughout its history, Motel 6 has remained true to its core values, prioritizing affordability, cleanliness, and convenience. The motel chain has grown and adapted with the times, embracing technology, enhancing amenities, and implementing sustainability practices to meet the evolving needs of its guests.


Today, Motel 6 operates over a thousand locations across the United States and Canada, serving as a trusted choice for budget-conscious travelers. Its iconic red and blue signage and commitment to clean and comfortable accommodations have made it easily recognizable and synonymous with affordable lodging options.


Looking ahead, Motel 6 continues to focus on providing exceptional value and a reliable experience for its guests. With its commitment to simplicity, affordability, and convenience, Motel 6 is well-positioned to remain a leader in the budget lodging industry.


Whether it’s a family embarking on a road trip, a frugal business traveler, or an individual in need of a place to rest during their journey, Motel 6 continues to provide a trusted and affordable option. The name “Motel 6” has become a symbol of reliability, simplicity, and convenience, making it a household name in the hospitality industry.


In conclusion, Motel 6’s story is one of ingenuity and a commitment to providing quality accommodations at an affordable price. From its humble beginnings to its widespread presence today, Motel 6 has cemented itself as a go-to choice for travelers seeking value without compromising on comfort. The name will forever be tied to the chain’s legacy of simplicity and convenience, ensuring its place as a trusted leader in the budget lodging industry.