Holiday Inn History

Holiday Inn hotels are well known from everybody in US. Even kids visiting Walt Disney World know that Holiday Inn's pool is waiting for them.

But I wonder if everybody knows how Holiday Inn brand was established. Now when Holiday Inn hotels chain celebrates its 52nd anniversary of its history and a year of Kemmons Wilson's dead I think it is important to say once again how it all started. From a family vacation and traveler's dream to the reality of more than 3000 Holiday Inns all over the world...

Holiday Inn began as the vision of Kemmons Wilson (1913-2003) in the early 50ties of the last century. In 1951 Wilson was on a family vacation to Washington. He became very unsatisfied by overpriced motels. (Wilsons were charged extra $2 for each of theirs five children.) Kemmons Wilson became unhappy with the lack of quality and comfort in the dusty hotels along the roadside, too. He was sure that after a long trip everybody will be pleased to find a good accommodation and have a rest.

His dream had started:"What about: - air-conditioned room with private bathroom and telephone where children under 19 can stay free together with the parents; - good food in the restaurant - free parking lot - swimming pool - free ice cubes - dog kennels?" All these amenities were then revolutionary for the hotel industry. Wilson did not stop dreaming: "What about if you can find such a room and accommodation advantages everywhere down your road and be at home away from home?"

One day Kemmons Wilson said to his wife:"I'm going to go in the business and build a chain of 400 hotels." And he did.

First Holiday Inn was opened on the 1st August 1952 on Summer Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. It was so successful that Wilson started building identical Holiday Inn hotels everywhere he found perfect locations. Millions travelers learned to organize their business trips or family vacations around the Holiday Inns, knowing that the same room, food and night-lit pool waited for them down the road. Holiday Inn hotels chain grew year after year. Every 2 1/2 days a new Holiday Inn was opening somewhere in the world.

By 1972 Kemmons Wilson company operated 1405 Holiday Inns in United States and around the world. Holiday Inn reservations were made through the Holidex - a computerized reservation system. The Wilson dream became a reality.

His autobiography "Half Luck and Half Brains" give us the whole story how Holiday Inn hotels chain was established. It provides hope to everyone that anything is possible through hard work. Those who wish to be successful can choose to follow Wilson's "20 Tips for Success".

Unfortunately it seems that this book can be rarely found. Amazon and Barnes & Noble offer only used (but in good condition) ones. May be the publishers will consider a new issue.

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