The presence of a “No Vacancy” sign is a means of indicating to people in the immediate area that the building or edifice bearing the sign has reached its capacity and does not have any additional room for people or any type of storage needs. Most commonly, a No Vacancy sign is seen on the exterior of motels and hotels. However, other establishments sometimes make use of this type of sign, including storage facilities and boarding houses.
The main purpose of a sign bearing the message of “No Vacancy” is to prevent people from entering the premises and inquiring about the availability of space for rent or lease. From this perspective, the sign helps to minimize the time spent by people who need space for some reason as well as employees who have other tasks to manage other than informing visitors that no vacancy is available at the present time.
In times past, a motel No Vacancy sign was most often displayed near the office of the motel, allowing anyone whom stopped to rent a room to quickly determine there were no rooms available. Over time, the simple placard near the office door was replaced with larger neon signs that could easily be seen from the roadway. When rooms were unoccupied and available for renting, the No Vacancy sign was shut off. However, if all the available rooms were taken, the sign was turned on to alert motorists that there was no reason to stop and look for lodgings.