The Rodeway Inn® chain was organized in Phoenix, Arizona in 1962, by Michael Robinson and his son-in-law Joe Simmons and was called Rodeway Inns of America. Robinson had been in the motel business since 1951, when he opened the Flamingo Motor Hotel in McAllen, Texas, and later joined Chicago restaurateur Marion Isbell and other investors in organizing Phoenix-based Ramada Inns in 1954, where he served as managing director until resigning in 1962 to organize Rodeway Inns.

Early Rodeway Inns typically featured colonial-style architecture somewhat similar to Ramada Inns of that era, but on a smaller scale as Rodeway Inn properties often had fewer rooms (less than 100) than Ramada, most of whose hotels were larger properties with 100 or more rooms and more amenities. The hotels of the long-defunct Hiway House chain, also with Phoenix roots, had colonial architecture similar in style to the Rodeway Inns.

Rodeway was acquired by the Vantage Company of Dallas, Texas in 1971. Prudential Life Insurance participated in a joint venture with Rodeway Inns to finance the company-owned inns. The idea of the chain was to offer independent operators the advantages of big-chain identity, much like that of the America’s Best Value Inn chain today (also by Vantage). The company originally owned and operated its inns but focused only on franchising after 1976. The brand was purchased by Ladbrokes in 1985 and was sold to Ramada in 1987. Rodeway Inn then became a part of the Choice Hotels franchise system in 1990, along with two other budget hotel brands, Friendship Inn and Econo Lodge. When this happened, the Friendship Inn chain was absorbed into the Rodeway Inn and Econo Lodge brands.

Today, the Rodeway Inn brand is comprised of over 450 hotels across the United States.