Holiday Inn to mark 50 years of global growth<!-- -->
Holiday Inn hotels and resorts across the Middle East will join in global celebrations taking place on August 1 to mark the 50th anniversary of one of the world's best-known hotel name.The first Holiday Inn hotel opened its doors in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1952, and today there are more than 1,500 Holiday Inn properties around the world, all of which are taking steps to acclaim the milestone. "The Holiday Inn name has become synonymous with the highest standards in contemporary hotel accommodation and value for money," said David Atkinson, area sales and marketing director, Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts, Middle East and Africa, where the brand currently has 62 properties. The Middle East's first Holiday Inn hotel opened in Oman's tropical oasis resort of Salalah in 1977. Since then the Holiday Inn portfolio has continued to expand throughout the Middle East and Africa, with the latest properties being opened in Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia and the new Holiday Inn Bur Dubai, in the UAE. "Holiday Inn means a great deal to people across the region, and we want to say 'thank you' to all our valued guests by continuing to provide quality service at great value," said general manager Nabil Hijazi. The Holiday Inn brand was the inspiration of American entrepreneur, Kemmons Wilson, whose hospitality blueprint went on to set the standard for the hotel industry across the United States, and soon after, the world. Under his new concept of hospitality, children stayed for free, and guests could enjoy a swimming pool, air conditioning, free parking, telephones and ice. Although commonplace today, these services were revolutionary at the time, and examples of the pioneering spirit with which the brand soon expanded across Europe and Asia. Holiday Inn has secured its reputation as the largest hotel brand in the world, and continues to initiate many new hospitality 'firsts'. In 1965, Holiday Inn was the first hotel to run a computer reservations system via satellite, while 1985 saw the first-ever launch of a frequent guest loyalty programme. In the mid 1990s, Holiday Inn was the first hotel to accept Internet bookings. Today, 50 years after Holiday Inn welcomed its first guest, Holiday Inn hotels and resorts worldwide provide 85 million guests each year with a great night's sleep and the famous Holiday Inn breakfast.