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Timeline

1951

Kemmons Wilson and his family take a vacation by car from their home in Memphis, Tennessee, to Washington, D.C., and are disappointed by the lack of comfort and conveniences in the roadside motels they encounter.

1952

The first Holiday Inn opens its doors on Summer Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee.

1953

Wilson and Memphis builder Wallace Johnson form a partnership to develop and franchise Holiday Inns.

1954

Holiday Inns of America is incorporated. The first Holiday Inn franchise opens in Clarksdale, Mississippi.

1955

The National Association of Holiday Inns of America (NAHI) is created to represent owners of Holiday Inn hotels.

1956

NAHI’s organizational meeting is held in Memphis, Tennessee. Joseph Vatterott is elected its first president.

1960

The first Holiday Inn hotel opens outside the U.S. in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

1963

NAHI changes its name to the International Association of Holiday Inns (IAHI).

1973

Antitrust lawsuit allows owners to operate other brands besides Holiday Inn.

1976

The IAHI becomes a nonprofit corporation, IAHI, Inc.

1977

In honor of the company’s 25th anniversary, the IAHI presents Holiday Inns, Inc., with an eight-foot bronze sculpture called “The Torchbearers.” The statue was used as the model for the company’s Torchbearer Award, recognizing the system’s top-performing hotels.

1981

A member card program providing complimentary room nights for Association members in good standing is introduced.

1984

The IAHI forms a Priority Club committee.

1988

Owner magazine is launched for Association members. 

1991

Holiday Inn Worldwide moves its corporate headquarters from Memphis, Tennessee, to Atlanta, Georgia. The Association also relocates its offices to Atlanta to coincide with the corporate move.

1997

The IAHI establishes Holiday Inn, Holiday Express and Crowne Plaza brand committees.

1999

An Internet website is created for the IAHI.

2000

The IAHI Latin America committee holds its first meeting.

2003

The IAHI Staybridge Suites brand committee is established.

2004

The IAHI launches its Leadership Institute.

The Kemmons Wilson Service Award is created by the IAHI, honoring an owner or IHG executive who has demonstrated extraordinary service to the owner community that makes a difference for the future of the brands. Past Chairman George Glover (2001-2002) is named the first recipient.

With the endorsement of the IAHI, IHG adopts new, industry-leading brand standards that revolutionize how hotel companies deal with selling or re-selling room inventory via third-party intermediaries.

2005

The IAHI celebrates its 50th anniversary.

The IAHI General Manager Academy graduates its inaugural class.

2007

With the full backing of the IAHI, IHG announces a global, $1 billion relaunch of the Holiday Inn brand family, including Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express and Express by Holiday Inn.

2010

The IAHI and IHG collaborate on a global, weeklong series of systemwide Celebrate Service events honoring the contributions of the 350,000-plus people in IHG-affiliated hotels and corporate offices.

2011

The IAHI renames itself the IHG Owners Association.