This article is about the hotel chain; for the film, please see Holiday Inn (film).
Wilson initially came up with the idea after a family road trip to Washington, DC,during which he was disappointed by the quality and consistency provided by the roadside motels of that era. The name Holiday Inn was given to the original hotel by architect Eddie Bluestein as a joke, in reference to the Bing Crosby movie.
The chain continued to grow, more or less following Wilson's original tenets of standardization and being family-friendly. By 1972, when Wilson was featured on the cover of Time Magazine, there were over 1,400 Holiday Inn hotels worldwide.
In 1988 Holiday Inns International was purchased by UK-based Bass Brewers (ultimately to become the InterContinental Hotels Group), followed by the remaining Holiday Inn hotels in 1990. The brand name Holiday Inn is still owned by the original Holiday Inn group and leased as a franchise to InterContinental.
The company offers several different types of hotels under the Holiday Inn banner. A hotel named Holiday Inn is a mid to upper range hotel. Holiday Inn Express (Express by Holiday Inn outside North America) is a type of mid-range Holiday Inn that usually lacks a restaurant and lounge. They also offer a complimentary continental breakfast. Holiday Inn Express is usually considered a separate brand from Holiday Inn. A Holiday Inn Select is an upper range full-service hotel which caters to business travelers. Other Holiday-Inn-branded hotels include:
- Holiday Inn Sunspree Resorts – destination resorts
- Holiday Inn Garden Court – which exist ony in Europe and South Africa and are designed to reflect the national culture
- Holiday Inn Family Suites Resort – Nickelodeon-themed hotel in Orlando, Florida.
Holiday Inn was the first hotel chain to introduce a frequent stayer reward program. It debuted in 1977 as Holiday Inn Inner Circle, but was quickly reorganized into Priority Club Worldwide and later Priority Club Rewards.