According to hotel data company STR, less than 40% of US hotels are independently owned and operated today. That's down from 60% of hotels three decades ago.

One reason for this trend is that operating independently is often more expensive for hotels than operating as part of a chain - especially when it comes to partnering with online booking agencies such as Expedia. Hotels generally pay a 15 to 30 percent commission when a traveler uses the online booking agency to reserve a room. But larger companies like Marriott use their market power to negotiate lower booking rates.