No Vacancy: The Rise, Demise, and Reprise of America’s Motels
The disappearance and nostalgia of the motels that dotted the tourist byways of the 1950s and 1960s are recounted in the latest book by Mark Okrant, a nationally recognized expert in tourism research. No Vacancy takes a critical look back at motels and their gradual disappearance from the tourism landscape. Okrant sets the scene with entertaining interviews of motel proprietors and people who took family vacations before the interstate system dominated the tourism landscape. Alarmed by the rate at which these properties are disappearing from the tourism landscape, Okrant conducted case studies along the old Boston Post Road, Route 66, the Las Vegas Strip, and other classic roads, searching for solutions. In the end, he offers a wide-eyed, yet optimistic view of how to keep these remnants of the 1950s and 60s from turning off their lights forever.
No Vacancy is the product of more than six decades as a motel patron, and at least half as many years of research, Okrant said. I grew up taking family vacations along the old US highways and state roads. Motels were a central part of incredible experiences with my parents and brother, and, later, with my wife and daughters. Something needs to be done to show others why they were important, and how many of them can be again.