When choosing a hotel, it's always nice to go with a familiar name. Holiday Inn is a brand that many people have come to know and trust, and with locations all over the world, you can book a room without having to worry about surprises. Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts have been around for decades, but if you're interested in the history of this company, dig a bit deeper to learn where the hospitality came from.
Creating a Hotel Company
Kemmon Wilson, the founder of Holiday Inn, created the chain back in 1952. He was inspired after a trip with his family to Washington, D.C. a year earlier when he became outraged after each hotel charged extra for his five children. Not only was this expensive, but the Wilson family was not happy with the uncomfortable accommodations.
He decided to try to reinvent the lodging industry by building 400 family-friendly motels, each within a day's road trip of each other. He wanted the hotel group to be both comfortable and affordable, and his design created a standard used by many today.
Some of the ideas that Wilson incorporated into his design were guest rooms that measured 12 by 26 ft., including the bathroom. He also put in an eye-catching at each resort swimming pool, telephones and TVs in the room, ice machines, a restaurant, and most importantly, no extra charge for children. A year later in 1953, the first Holiday Inn hotel opened in Wilson's hometown of Memphis, Tennessee.
Expanding the Holiday Inn Brand
By 1953, Holiday Inn of America built three more hotels. In 1960, the first Holiday Inn International opened in Montreal, Canada. In 1965, the hotel worked with IBM to implement what is called the Holidex system, which allowed guests to make reservations.
A few years later, in 1967, the hotel chain opened its first European hotel in the Netherlands. In 1993, Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts became the largest hotel brand in the world, offering 365,000 rooms worldwide. It was around this time that Holiday Inn started offering fitness centers in their hotels after TIME magazine reported on the fitness craze of the 80s. By 1995, it was the first hotel that had a reservation system online, which appealed to business travelers. It was a great sign of the way traveling would change. Since then, the hotels have continued to offer reliable services to satisfied guests around the globe. IHG hotels have even expanded to include a timeshare company, the Holiday Inn vacation Club.
IHG Hotels & Resorts Partner Hotels
Holiday Inn hotels are currently owned by the InterContinental Hotels Group, which has a number of other partners. These include InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Kimpton, Hotel Indigo, EVEN Hotels, HUALUXE, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn Express, Holiday Inn Resort, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, Staybridge Suites and Candlewood Suites.
If you are a member of IHG Rewards Club, you can earn points at over 5,200 hotels, which you can redeem for free rooms and more.
Get More Out of Your Holiday Inn Stay
Holiday Inn hotels have a lot to offer, but there are many ways that you can take advantage of all the perks. The first step is to become an IHG member. Once you're a member, you can automatically save up to 15 percent on hotels in select cities and up to 20 percent by booking your next vacation early.
You can also download the Holiday Inn app, on which you can save your room preferences, complete a virtual check-in and check-out, explore hotel offers such as spa discounts, and leave reviews. Through the app, you can use your membership to reserve Uber rides, browse trip extras for rental cars and event tickets, check pet-friendly hotels, and view your points balance.