The word vacancy suggests a condition of being unoccupied or vacant with respect to an office, post, or residence. Consequently “No vacancy” means that the space is occupied. It could refer to a position in office or an accommodation that is occupied and filled up. Hotels, motels, offices and boarding houses commonly use a “No Vacancy sign” to indicate to the prospective seekers that their establishment is full and not having any vacancy for rent, storage or recruitment purposes.
It is common to use the “No Vacancy” sign in the hospitality industry. A hotel sporting this sign would mean that the hotel is full and the room you are seeking is not available. The word is used to signal that the occupancy of the hotel has reached its capacity and there are no rooms available for the moment. Any building sporting the sign of “No Vacancy” would indicate to the others that it is filled to capacity and cannot provide any additional accommodation for people or any other purpose. Boarding houses also typically sport a “No Vacancy” sign near the main door or a prominent window which is visible to the public. When vacancy is available, the placard is easily removed and kept away.
A “No Vacancy” Sign would ward of undue entry of people in the said premises to inquire about the availability of accommodation for rent. A “No Vacancy” sign is generally displayed in a more subdued manner shorn of any neon lights and is often placed in a location that can be easily seen by the people. Similarly an office having “No Vacancy” would clearly indicate to prospective employees that there is no recruitment taking place. It thus prevents wastage of valuable time to the office staff as well as those visiting the office in the hope of some vacancy.
In the past motels invariably had a discrete “No Vacancy” sign near the office so that it could be spotted easily by those who stopped by seeking for rooms. But more recently motels seem to prefer using neon signs to indicate to the motorists about the availability of rooms. The “No Vacancy” sign is lighted up to alert the motorist from the roadway that the motel is full. Alternately when the rooms were available, it became easier to shut off the “No Vacancy” sign. Bigger hotels are however more discrete in displaying the “No Vacancy” sign which may be placed near the entrance or at the reception counter. It is not uncommon to use electronic displays at eye level as it is easy to signal to visitors about the availability of rooms for rent.