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Holiday Inn - History, Brands

hotels wilson franchise chain


The first chain of Holiday Inn hotels was founded in 1952. These hotels were opened in Memphis, Tennessee by Kemmons Wilson. Wilson wanted to provide less-costly accommodations for families and others right inside America. Wilson’s first Holiday Inn opened in the Berclair district of Memphis. This location was a perfect setting, with the main road to and from Nashville right beside the building. In the mid-1950s, Wilson teamed-up with Wallace E. Johnson. Kemmons Wilson first came up with the idea to team-up following a road trip to Washington, D.C. He claims to have been so disappointed with the quality of the roadside motels he encountered, that he wanted to do something that would bring change. The name of the Holiday Inn franchise was originally provided as a joke by architect Eddie Bluestein. Bluestein was making reference to the Bing Crosby movie. The chain grew dramatically in 1957, following the chain’s official renaming as Holiday Inn. Within one year, there were over fifty Inns throughout America. In 1968, the 1000th Holiday Inn opened in San Antonio, Texas.


The Holiday Inn chain led the motel market, putting a huge amount of financial pressure on more tradtional hotels. It also set the standard for copycat competitors like Days Inn, Ramada Inn, Best Western and Howard Johnson’s. When Wilson was featured on the cover of Time Magazine in 1972, there were over 1,400 Holiday Inn hotels worldwide. The decision to include indoor pools at many of the chains, further brought customers flocking through the doors. Wilson retired from his work with Holiday Inn in 1979.


Holiday Inn lost its dominance over the market in the 1980s. In 1988, the franchise was bought by Bass Brewers, which would later become the InterContinental Hotels Group. Two years later, the Holiday Inn Hotels located in the United States were also purchased after Wilson sold his remaining interest in the company. Holiday Inn is still a name that can be used by leasing the brand franchise from InterContinental who holds the rights to it. In early 2002, the Wall Street Journal ran a story about the company’s new owner, Ravi Saligram’s attempts to produce a new generation hotel and to rebuild the franchise. The first prototype of these hotels was the Holiday Inn Gwinnet Center which opened in Georgia in 2003, and included a bistro restaurant as well as an indoor pool.


There are several separate brands of the Holiday Inn franchise. They include the Holiday Inn Select which is a higher-end hotel, catering mostly to business travelers. Also included are the Holiday Inn Sunspree Resorts, the Holiday Inn Garden Court, the Nickelodeon Family Suites (renamed from the Holiday Inn Family Suites,) and the Holiday Inn Express.

Holinshed, Raphael (c. 1525–1580) - BIOGRAPHY, CRITICAL RECEPTION [next] [back] Hofstadter, Robert

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about 6 years ago

integration this is the history of hotels and how it grew .example is the intercontinental group.

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about 1 month ago

To Whom It May Concern:

I am doing research - I am trying to find the Holiday Inn in Portland, Oregon that was in business during 1977. It may be another hotel name today, or it may have been torn down by now.

I am hoping someone will be able to help with this research request. Hopefully, there is a history of all of the Holiday Inns during the 1970's.

Thank you so much for your help.

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over 6 years ago

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