C. Kemmons Wilson
After a family vacation exposed the need for a lodging alternative to tourist courts, Wilson decided that he would build a string of slightly upscale motels to fill that void. Opening his first Holiday Inn in 1951, Wilson expanded his chain through an extensive licensing program. Each Holiday Inn, though operated by a different owner, would be nearly an exact replica of the others, with such amenities as air conditioning, color television and a swimming pool. Because of Wilson’s strict standards and intensive licensee training programs at “Holiday Inn University,” he was able to build Holiday Inns into an affordable and popular brand-name motel chain.

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