When you’re on vacation, whether it’s for business or pleasure, a holiday inn hotel is a great place to stay. But if you’re not sure which hotel is right for you, don’t worry – we’ve got the lowdown on what to look for when booking a holiday inn hotel, including history, locations, rooms, affordability and more!
Holiday Inn hotels have been providing leisure guests, business customers and families with great places to stay since they first opened their doors in 1952. Known worldwide for consistently providing clean rooms and friendly service, this iconic hotel chain is a familiar name to travelers around the world.
Founder Kemmons Wilson recognized a need for quality lodging that would meet the demands of interstate travel. He opened the first Holiday Inn in Memphis in 1952.
The company soon began expanding, embracing technology. In 1965, it partnered with IBM to create Holidex, the first computer reservation system in the industry.
Holiday Inn also negotiated a long-term deal with Gulf Oil Corporation in 1963, which allowed the hotel chain to accept Gulf credit cards for charging food and lodging charges at all Holiday Inns. In return, Gulf built service stations on many Holiday Inn properties.
Holiday Inn hotels are located in a variety of locations across the globe. Some are based in popular tourist destinations, while others are more secluded.
One of the most successful methods of attracting visitors to Holiday Inns was the company’s “Great Sign.” The eye-catching edifice, designed by artists Gene Barber and Roland Alexander, towered some 50 feet high and caught drivers’ attention.
Another innovation that helped Holiday Inns stand out was its long-term deal with Gulf Oil, which agreed to build service stations at some of the company’s highway hotels.
The brand also pioneered a number of new ideas, including televisions in every room and ice machines at every hallway. These were all introduced in the 1960s, and continue to be the foundation of Holiday Inn’s success today.
Holiday Inn is the world’s largest hotel chain, with more than 2500 hotels around the globe. The brand was a pioneer of many firsts, from the first hotel in Europe to online booking.
The most notable was the Holidex system, which allowed guests to book rooms in any Holiday Inn in the country via a computerized network. It also featured a number of other technological feats, including an interactive room map. And it was a clever use of space: Each Holiday Inn had a “holidome,” a large indoor space that housed everything from tiki bars to swimming pools. Other highlights included the six-roomed master suite, which was touted as being the most expensive motel suite in America at the time. It also had the most impressive bathroom.
Holiday Inn hotels are affordable to all types of travelers, from families on last-minute vacations to business travelers who want to save money. The brand is also known for offering a variety of affordable, convenient amenities like free breakfast and wireless Internet access.
George Falls, a former vice president at Holiday Inn, recalls traveling the length and breadth of the US to help open new branches and inspecting them quarterly to make sure they met company standards. “Consistency was the name of the game, and you wanted everything to look the same,” he says. It was a big part of Holiday Inn’s success, according to Spence. It allowed guests to find a room, even if they saw a sign that said “no vacancy.” And when that wasn’t possible, staff would call nearby hotels to secure an alternative stay for the customer.