Either the owner or a third-party hotel management company can be the hotel operator, responsible for a hotel's management and operational performance. A hotel management company manages and operates the hotel on the owner's behalf, ensuring it is properly staffed, provides good service, and is profitable.
Owner-operators directly control the hotels they own and are responsible for the management and day-to-day operations – personnel, financial and procurement management – and financial performance of their hotels. The hotel properties are operated under the owner's name or through affiliation to a marketing consortium.
An independent hotel is operated by the property owner or an independent operator. Independent operators are unaffiliated third-party management companies that run hotel properties either unbranded or under some other brand on behalf of the hotel owners.
A brand management company is a hotel company that operates hotels under its brand, commonly under different "flags", for which it collects a brand fee. The properties are operated under a management contract by a brand manager or franchise agreement by local partners or the hotel owners.
A managed hotel is a property that is fully managed and operated by a brand management company for the hotel owner under one of its brands. The brand manager is responsible for the management and operation of the hotel, while the hotel owner only has the right to monitor its performance.
The owners of franchised hotels (franchisees) sign a franchise agreement with a hotel brand (franchisor) to operate the property under a franchise agreement in exchange for a franchise fee. For this operating model, hotel owners set up their own team or engage an independent operator to run the hotel.