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Holiday Inn

This article is about the hotel chain. For the film, see Holiday Inn (film)

Old Holiday Inn Great Sign

A worldwide chain of hotels and motels, which took their name from the film. This hotel chain is owned by Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts[?].

Holiday Inn began in 1952 as the vision of a man named Kemmons Wilson. After a roadtrip[?] to Washington D.C. on a family vacation went bad, Wilson grew frustrated at the lack of any quality in the roadside motels. Dingy courts and dusty motor hotels may have been satisfactory when Americans first began setting out on the road, but Wilson was sure that the interstate-age would call for new kinds of amenities: air conditioning, restaurants, in-room telephones, and, most importantly, standardization. Within a year, Wilson commissioned a set of blueprints from his own hand-drawn diagrams. The designer, named Eddie Bluestein[?], as a joke, wrote "Holiday Inn" across the bottom of the plans after seeing the Bing Crosby film. The name stuck. The first Inn, built on Summer Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, was so successful that Wilson decided to followed up with identical hotels on three other roads leading to Memphis.

By the 1970s, Wilson's 300,000 beds by far outpaced his nearest competitor in the same market more than three-fold. Companies like Quality Inn[?], Howard Johnsons, and Ramada Inn[?] found that keeping up with Holiday Inn required matching the company blow for blow. The results are apparent even today with each room in every motel looking pretty much the same as any other room.

As the chain grew, it tried its hand at many different marketing gimmicks including the oddly conceived John Holiday[?]. The evolution of the Holiday Inn brand may be shown from its changing slogans over the years. During the 1960s "The Nation's Innkeeper[?]" and "Your Host from Coast to Coast," became "The World's Innkeeper." In 1975 corporate executives decided "The Best Surprise Is No Surprise" as the slogan, promising that a night in one Holiday Inn was like a night in any.

By 1980, corporate execs edged Kemmons Wilson out of his chairman post and signaled their plans for altering the Holiday Inn image. In 1982, Holiday Inn replaced its 43 foot "great sign" with a more subdued backlit plastic design.

In 1990, Holiday Inn sold out to a British conglomorate, Bass PLC[?]. The Inn ceased to be an American pop culture icon and became yet another blue chip[?] in an international conglomerate. Even so, the impact of Holiday Inn on the roadside and its travelers cannot be underestimated.

In 1995 the company opened its first Holiday Inn Express[?], a chain dedicated to business travelers, in Germany.

In 2001, Bass PLC, (originally a brewery) changed its name to Six Continents, due to selling off of the Bass Brewery. In 2003, it again changed its name to Intercontinental Hotels.

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