||This article needs additional citations for verification. (February 2012)|
|Type||Subsidiary of the InterContinental Hotels Group|
(August 1, 1952 )
|Headquarters||Denham, Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom|
|Number of locations||3,414|
|Area served||Americas, Europe, Middle East, Africa, Asia-Pacific|
|Services||Food services, lodging, conventions, meetings, timeshares|
|Parent||InterContinental Hotels Group|
Holiday Inn is an upscale mid-priced brand of hotels, formerly an economy motel chain, forming part of the British InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG). It is one of the world's largest hotel chains with 434,357 bedrooms and 3,414 hotels globally. There are over 100 million guest nights each year, globally.
Kemmons Wilson initially came up with the idea after a family road trip to Washington, D.C., during which he was disappointed by the lack of quality and consistency provided by the roadside motels of the time. The name Holiday Inn was given to the original hotel by his architect Eddie Bluestein as a joke, in reference to the musical film Holiday Inn (1942), starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. The first Holiday Inn opened at 4941 Summer Avenue in Memphis, the main highway to Nashville, in August 1952 as Holiday Inn Hotel Courts. The motel was demolished in the early 1990s, but there is a plaque commemorating the site.
Wilson partnered with Wallace E. Johnson (1901-1988) to build additional motels on the roads entering Memphis. Holiday Inn's corporate headquarters was in a converted plumbing shed owned by Johnson in 1953, when the company built its first four hotels, one covering each approach to Memphis. On the occasion of Johnson's death, Wilson was quoted as saying, "The greatest man I ever knew died today. He was the greatest partner a man could ever have." Together they started what Wilson would shepherd into Holiday Corp., one of the world's largest hotel groups.
In 1957, Wilson franchised the chain as Holiday Inn of America and it grew dramatically, following Wilson's original tenet that the properties should be standardized, clean, predictable, family-friendly and readily accessible to road travellers. By 1958, there were 50 locations across the country, 100 by 1959, 500 by 1964, and the 1,000th Holiday Inn opened in San Antonio, Texas, in 1968. The chain then became known as "The Nation's Innkeeper". The chain dominated the motel market, leveraged its innovative Holidex reservation system, put considerable financial pressure on traditional motels and hotels, and set the standard for its competitors, like Ramada Inns, Quality Inn, Howard Johnson's, and Best Western. By June 1972, when Wilson was featured on the cover of Time magazine, there were over 1,400 Holiday Inn hotels worldwide. The motto then changed to "The World's Innkeeper". Innovations like the company's Holidome indoor pools turned many hotels into roadside resorts.
The company later branched into other enterprises, including Medi-Center nursing homes, Continental Trailways, Delta Queen, and Show-Biz, Inc., a television production company that specialized in syndicated country music shows. Wilson also developed the Orange Lake Resort and Country Club near Orlando and a chain called Wilson World Hotels. The acquisition of Trailways in 1968 lasted until 1979 when Holiday sold Trailways to private investor Henry Lea Hillman Sr., of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; in the years during which Trailways was a subsidiary of Holiday Inn, television commercials for Holiday Inn frequently showed a Trailways bus stopping at a Holiday Inn hotel. Wilson retired from Holiday Inn in 1979. As of 2012 the family of founder Kemmons Wilson still operates hotels as part of the Kemmons Wilson Companies of Memphis.
Although still a healthy company, changing business conditions and demographics saw Holiday Inn lose its market dominance in the 1980s. Holiday Inns, Inc. was renamed "Holiday Corporation" in 1985 to reflect the growth of the company’s brands, including Harrah's Entertainment, Embassy Suites Hotels, Crowne Plaza, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Hampton Inn. In 1988, Holiday Corporation was purchased by UK-based Bass PLC (the owners of the Bass beer brand), followed by the remaining domestic Holiday Inn hotels in 1990, when founder Wilson sold his interest, after which the hotel group was known as Holiday Inn Worldwide. The remainder of Holiday Corporation (including the Embassy Suites Hotels, Homewood Suites by Hilton and Hampton Inn brands) was spun off to shareholders as Promus Companies Incorporated. In 1990, Bass launched Holiday Inn Express, a complementary brand in the limited service segment.  
In 1994, Bass launched Crowne Plaza, a move into the upscale hotel market. In 1997 Bass created and launched a new hotel brand, Staybridge Suites by Holiday Inn, entering the North American upscale extended stay market. In March 1998 Bass acquired the InterContinental brand, expanding into the luxury hotel market. In 2000 Bass sold its brewing assets (and the rights to the Bass name) and changed its name to Six Continents PLC. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) was created in 2003 after Six Continents split into two daughter companies: Mitchells & Butlers PLC to handle restaurant assets, and IHG to focus on soft drinks and hotels, including the Holiday Inn brand.
The brand name Holiday Inn is now owned by IHG, which in turn licenses the name to franchisees and third parties who operate hotels under management agreements.
In January 2002, The Wall Street Journal reported that the company, led by Ravi Saligram, was producing a new 130-room "Next Generation" prototype hotel to rebuild the brand. It would include a bistro-like restaurant and an indoor pool. The first of these prototype hotels, the Holiday Inn Gwinnett Center, was built in Duluth, Georgia, in 2003.
On October 24, 2007, IHG announced a worldwide relaunch of the Holiday Inn brand, which spelled trouble for the remaining HI motels. The relaunch is "focused on delivering consistently best in class service and physical quality levels, including a redesigned welcome experience [and] signature bedding and bathroom products..." The first relaunched Holiday Inn opened in the USA in the spring of 2008. Currently there are more than 2,500 relaunched Holiday Inn brand hotels around the world, and the Holiday Inn global brand relaunch process was completed by the end of 2010. By then, the majority of the HI motels were removed from the chain, with a few exceptions (In the 1980s and 1990s HI hotels were built alongside the motel properties [i.e. Baton Rouge, Louisiana] in order to provide more amenities and newer rooms). When the relaunch occurred, these motels were either demolished or closed off, even if a full-service hotel was already on site. To this day, only a few Holiday Inn motels still fly under the flag.
In September 2008, IHG announced the creation of a new timeshare brand, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, a strategic alliance with The Family of Orange Lake Resorts. The Holiday Inn at Chessington World of Adventures is safari-themed, with a Zafari Bar and Grill.
Great Sign 
The "Great Sign" is the roadside sign used by Holiday Inn during their original era of expansion in the 1950s-1970s. It consisted of a marquee box; a tower with either red, orange, or blue neon lighting, a large chasing arrow that always pointed towards the motel/hotel, and a four-stage flashing animated neon star at the top. It had 1,500 feet (460 m) of neon tubing and over 500 incandescent light bulbs. It was introduced by Kemmons Wilson when he opened his first motel on August 1, 1952. The signs were extremely large and eye-catching, but were expensive to construct and operate. The sign, including the famous script logo, was originally designed by Memphis, Tennessee, artist, James A. Anderson, Sr., a commercial artist who later became known for his oil paintings of Mexico and the American southwest. Original fabrication drawings were done by Rowland Alexander of Balton & Sons Sign Company. The manufacturers of the sign were members of the Balton family, whose ancestor D.F. Balton founded Balton & Sons (now Balton Sign Company) in Memphis in 1875. The story goes that the sign’s colors were selected because they were favorites of Wilson’s mother. The popularity of the sign led to many clones being produced, some of which remain to this day. In 1982, following Wilson's departure, the Holiday Inn board of directors made the decision to phase out the "Great Sign" in favor of a cheaper and less catchy backlit sign that still maintained the original backscript logo (this changed after the second remodel). The decision was not without controversy as it essentially signaled the end of the Wilson era and removed a widely recognized company icon. Wilson was angered about this, saying, "It was the worst mistake they ever made". Wilson so loved the sign that it was engraved on his tombstone. The majority of the signs were sold as scrap metal and recycled.
In 2003, in a program of hotel redesign, the company brought back a revamped version of the Great Sign that showed up the company's advertising under the slogan "Relax, it's Holiday Inn." The makeover came with a new prototype hotel that included photography of the sign and a retro-style diner named after founder Kemmons Wilson. The idea was later scrapped.
Several intact fragments of the famous sign have been restored and relit, mostly the Holiday Inn top section of the sign, and the marquee box. However, in 2006 a complete sign was finally found. The disassembled sign, complete with star, marquee box, and the sign base, was discovered in a backlot in Minnesota. On June 3, 2007 it was purchased by a neon sign restoration expert, in order to restore it to its 1950s glory. It is currently being restored and reassembled, and after completion, it will be displayed at the National Save the Neon Signs Museum in Minot, North Dakota. Also, a nearly intact sign (sans the star section) that came from a Las Vegas location sits at the new American Sign Museum in Cincinnati Ohio.
Business relationship with Gulf Oil 
In 1963, Holiday Inns signed a long-term deal with Gulf Oil Corporation in which the lodging chain would accept Gulf credit cards to charge food and lodging at all of its hotels (in the United States and Canada). In return, Gulf would build service stations on the premises of many Holiday Inn properties, particularly those along or near major U.S. and Interstate highways. Many older Holiday Inns locations (including some no longer part of the chain) still have the service station properties intact today, either still in operation or closed down. With the exception of a few locations in the eastern U.S., hardly any of the still-open stations are now Gulf outlets. The portion of the agreement which permitted Gulf credit cards to be used for payment of food and lodging at Holiday Inns was copied by competing lodging chains and major oil companies during the mid-to-late 1960s. Most of those agreements fizzled out with the 1973 oil crisis. The Gulf/Holiday Inn arrangement ended around 1982.
Historical trademark conflicts 
- For two decades a hotel called Holiday Inn located in Niagara Falls, Ontario prevented the Holiday Inn Corporation from operating one of its own hotels in that city since the name was already in use. The hotel used a logo similar to the old Holiday Inn logo from the 1970s. The Holiday Inn Corporation directory referred to the hotel as "not part of this Holiday Inn system". The hotel also owned the holidayinn.com domain, which forced the much larger corporation to use holiday-inn.com. In 2006, an agreement between IHG and the Niagara Falls, Ontario hotel owners was reached that allowed both the Hotel and Holidayinn.com to be incorporated into the IHG system.
- During the 1960s and early 1970s, Holiday Inn hotels located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina were simply called "Holiday" because a local motel already had the "Holiday Inn" name. The name was contested by Holiday Inns, Inc. v Holiday Inn before the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina (Florence division) in 1973. The South Carolina Holiday Inn had franchised their name to Strand Development Corporation, which filed a counterclaim against Holiday Inns, Inc. The dispute resulted in a concurrent use registration for the Myrtle Beach hotel, which still operates as "Holiday Inn", although it is required to use a distinctly different font.
- Holiday Inn – This is the most recognizable tier of service. There are two distinct types: high-rise, full-service plaza hotels and low-rise, full-service hotels. The former also included many high-rises with round, central-core construction, instantly recognizable from the 1970s. Both offer a restaurant, pools at most locations, room service, an exercise room, and functional but comfortable rooms.
- Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites – The properties offer all the amenities and services of a regular Holiday Inn but consist of rooms mixed with suites.
- Holiday Inn Resort – The properties also offer all the amenities and services of a full-service Holiday Inn; resorts are considered a more of an advertising branding than a completely different brand. Most Holiday Inn Resorts are located in high-leisure-tourism markets.
- Holiday Inn Select – These upper-range full-service hotels cater to business travelers. In 2006 it was announced that Holiday Inn Select hotels would be discontinued. Existing hotels may continue to operate under the Holiday Inn Select flag until their existing license expires, however many are converting to Crowne Plaza or regular Holiday Inn hotels, with no further marketing or advertising based around the "Select" moniker. Several Select hotels still remain as of February 2013.
- Holiday Inn Sunspree Resorts (officially named SunSpree) – The properties are in resort areas with full-service amenities and deluxe service. These are typically very large properties.
- Holiday Inn Garden Court – The properties exist only in Europe and South Africa and are designed to reflect the national culture.
- Holiday Inn Express – The properties are smaller versions of Holiday Inn hotels with fewer amenities and services.
Although originally called "Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza", the Crowne Plaza moniker was split from Holiday Inn in 1994 to form a distinctive brand.
During the 1960s and 1970s there were several Holiday Inn Jr. motels with just 44 to 48 guest rooms located in portables. Locations included Camden, Arkansas, Rantoul, Illinois. Cleveland, Mississippi, Sardis, Mississippi, Farmington, Missouri, Springfield, Tennessee and Columbus, Texas. A traditionally constructed lobby building featured a Holiday Grill restaurant. The Camden location had just 32 rooms while the Rantoul location had 64 rooms.
Holiday Inn Magazine was a monthly publication for guests during the 1970s. It featured travel destination and attraction stories in addition to a featured hotel property.
Holiday Inn Club Vacations 
In the early 1980s, Wilson bought a large plot of land bordering Walt Disney World. On this land he built the Orange Lake Resort. Recently, Orange Lake Resorts has acquired other resorts and plans to continue expanding its resort portfolio. Because there are now many resorts in the company, the Holiday Inn Club Vacations was launched in September 2008. There are currently[when?] eight Holiday Inn Club Vacations resort properties:
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Ascutney Mountain Resort, Brownsville, Vermont
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Bay Point Resort, Panama City, Florida
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Lake Geneva Resort, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort, Orlando, Florida
- Holiday Inn Club Vacation South Beach Resort, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations Smoky Mountain Resort, Gatlinburg, Tennessee
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations Sunset Cove Resort, Marco Island, Florida
- Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Desert Club Resort, Las Vegas, Nevada
Remaining motel properties 
As of January 2013, multiple motels from the Wilson era remain under the Holiday Inn brand, after the closure of the motel wing in Athens, GA in 2010. These properties are usually 2-story motels; some usually having a modern hotel on site. While several motels remain under the Holiday Inn Express brand, this list details the Holiday Inn brand properties.
- The Holiday Inn in Terre Haute, Indiana is from the 1960s. In the 1970s, like many other motels, the pool area was converted into a Holidome area. While the hotel has been heavily remodeled with a tower section adjoining the lobby, and the outside facing rooms have now been enclosed with interior hallways, the hotel somewhat retains its 1960s layout.
- The second Holiday Inn in Jonesboro, Arkansas opened in the 1970s. Later on, the pool and surrounding rooms was transformed into a Holidome, while rooms on the outside received smaller windows. However the rooms not facing the pool remain open to the outside. The original Holiday Inn downtown currently serves as the First Baptist Church care center.
- The Holiday Inn Baton Rouge-South, located on Airline Highway, opened in April 1968. The two-story U-shaped structure centers around a pool and surrounding courtyard, a popular design for motels of the period. An on-site restaurant provided guests and others with meals. In 1984, the company, going on a capital spending spree, decided to construct a new six-story Holidome on the location of the motel's lobby and restaurant site.
- The Holiday Inn in Lafayette, Louisiana on US 167 is an large expansive motel complex that opened in 1969. Later on, the swimming pool and guest rooms in the front section was enclosed with a roof and converted into the then-popular Holidome concept in the mid-1970s. The motel/Holidome still has its lounge, full scale restaurant, and game room, while the majority of the guest rooms still remain open directly to the outside walkways. The on-site playground and double tennis courts are also original to form. (There are two former classic Holiday Inn properties on the same highway, one of which is an intact single-story original Holiday Inn from the 1950s.)
- The Holiday Inn in Goleta, California, located off Highway 101, opened in the early 1960s. It is one of the few remaining full-service motel properties left in the chain. It was constructed in the 1970s Holiday Inn U2 style (2-story U-shaped motel with a pool in the center, and a lobby and restaurant in front).
- The 4-story Holiday Inn Atlanta Airport-North opened in the late 1960s with about 300 all exterior corridor rooms. It was later remodeled heavily by eliminating exterior doors on many rooms and was then converted into a Ramada in the early 2000s. In September 2012, it was renovated again and returned to the Holiday Inn brand. Surprisingly, all the guestrooms facing the pool still remain open to the outside.
- The Holiday Inn in Indiana, Pennsylvania, is located on Wayne Avenue near the intersection of US Routes 119 & 422. The hotel opened with 80 rooms in January 1965. In July 1966 and March 1969, the hotel underwent renovations, both adding an additional 40 guest rooms. In 1977, the hotel enclosed the central courtyard to create the famous Holidome. The hotel has undergone several remodeling updates, but still retains a layout reminiscent of the Wilson era. It currently has 158 guest rooms, a dining room and lounge, and a large ballroom. The Holidome recreational area has been converted into an indoor courtyard and features the original pool and courtyard tile. While many guestrooms have been enclosed by hallways, several guest rooms on the hotel's exterior still open directly to the outside.
- The Holiday Inn Park Plaza in Lubbock, Texas, located on 3201 South Loop 289, opened in the mid-1970s with around 200 rooms. The outside pool and courtyard was then converted into the new Holidome concept enclosing the pool and the rooms that were facing towards it. Today, the outside-facing rooms still remain open to guests, while the interior Holidome area was converted and renovated into an atrium area with the original indoor pool still existing.
- The Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites in Vero Beach, Florida opened in the mid-1960s on Ocean Drive. It is unusual due to having a 3-story facing the beach, while still having the traditional 1960s HI layout.
- The Holiday Inn Airport in Long Beach, California opened in late 1966 in the traditional "U2" style. Sometime later, most of the motel rooms were demolished and replaced with then-new 13-story circular hotel building in the 1970s. The remaining motel wing is still open to guests.
- The Holiday Inn in Deming, New Mexico opened its doors in 1974 in an L-shaped style. Over the years, the motel was remodeled several times which included shrinking the motel room windows.
- The Holiday Inn Perrysburg, Ohio-French Quarter is a classic Holidome hotel. While the Inn is three stories and most of the outdoor room doors have been removed, a section of rooms by the outdoor pool remain open to the outside.
- The Holiday Inn in Spearfish, South Dakota is a classic 2 story hotel. The pool area was enclosed and converted into a Holidome. While the exterior rooms have been remodeled to open to the interior, the rooms facing the pool area retain their 1960s motor inn style.
- The Salisbury, North Carolina Holiday Inn opened in 1958 as a one story motel. In the 1960s, a newer two-story building was built on the site with a three story wing added later. The second floor that faces the highway has now been enclosed to provide larger rooms, but the bottom floor and the side not facing the highway still opens to the outside.
- The Holiday Inn on Fort Myers Beach was built in 1964. While one of the guest buildings was demolished and a similar one was built, the classic two story U-shaped motel retains most of its original feel, including its original shuffleboard court and large room windows.
- The Holiday Inn Sanibel is an expansive complex built in the 1970s. It still has hotel rooms that open to the outside.
- The Holiday Inn in Augusta, Georgia opened in the 1960s. While the lobby building has been remodeled, the rooms retain their classic large windows and layout and all still open to the outside.
- "Supplementary Information". International Hotels Group. March 31, 2009. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
- "Holiday Inn Express information page".
- "Holiday Inn information page".
- "Wallace E. Johnson: Co-founder of Holiday Inn chain". Los Angeles Times. 1988-04-29. Retrieved 2012-06-25. Fowler, Glenn (1988-04-29). "Wallace E. Johnson, Co-founder of Holiday Inns chain in 1950's". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-25.
- "Removed From Timesharing, Jon DeHaan Stays Busy In Other Ways". Ampersandcom.com. Retrieved 2011-12-11.
- Article for campground opening in Daytona
- "On the Road, Sleeping for Less". The New York Times. December 16, 1990.
- "You get what you pay for in economy motels". The News and Courier/Evening Post, Charleston, SC. November 11, 1990.
- "Holiday Inn Enters New Market Area". Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky. October 8, 1990.
- "Our History". InterContinental Hotels Group. January 9, 2008. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
- Barbara De Lollis (July 23, 2007). "Holiday Inn chain gives itself a face-lift". USA Today. Retrieved August 3, 2007.
- IHG announces worldwide brand relaunch of Holiday Inn
- "Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts". InterContinental Hotels Group. May 12, 2009. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
- Holiday Inn Niagara Falls
- Holiday Inns, Inc. v. Holiday Inn, 364 F.Supp. 775 (S.C., 1973).
- Elliot, Stuart (August 22, 1996) The New York Times.
- "About Us". HIClubVacations.com. 2008. Retrieved June 6, 2009.
- Indiana Gazette
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Holiday Inn hotels|
- Official website
- Holiday Inn Hotels review
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- Balton and Sons
- Great Sign history
- "Come Inn off the Highway" - USA Today article, May 24, 2002
- I Remember JFK, a Baby Boomer's Pleasant Reminiscing Spot: Holiday Inns
- New style Holiday Inn Review
- Classic Classy Holiday Inn, A Facebook page commemorating The Great Sign and Holiday Inn