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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 15/11/2012

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Pushing boundaries, innovating and adapting to guests' ever changing needs were pinpointed as key to Holiday Inn's success by the son of the brand's founder, Spence Wilson, who is visiting the region this week.

These traits have been inherent in the brand since its launch 60 years ago, and continue to drive the pipeline of 38 new Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels due to open across the Middle East and India in the next five years.

Seven new Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels are planned in the Middle East alone, adding to the 25 hotels already opened in the region. In India the brand will grow by over 400 per cent as 31 new Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express hotels open across the country, including the country's first Holiday Inn Express due to launch later this month.

Spence Wilson, son of Kemmons Wilson, the founder of the Holiday Inn brand, said: "More travellers have stayed at a Holiday Inn than any other hotel on the planet. From Elvis Presley, who stayed at a Holiday Inn while performing at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Centre, to Barack Obama, who took his family to the Holiday Inn Accra.

People connect with brands they know and trust and Holiday Inn and Holiday Inn Express continue to give guests the consistent quality that my father set out to provide right from the start. We're very proud to be a part of that heritage."

Having recognised a gap in the market for consistent, quality motels in the early 1950s, Kemmons Wilson set out to establish a family-friendly hotel brand that consumers could trust. The brand came to the Middle East in 1977, making 2012 the brand's 35th year in the Middle East, while the brand celebrates its 60th anniversary worldwide.

Through his innovative vision, Holiday Inn has led industry innovation from the beginning and has a rich history of 'firsts'. Kemmons revolutionised the market through the offering of family facilities, televisions and air-conditioning in every room - a first for motels in the 1950s.

It was the first hotel brand to be franchised in 1954 and in 1965, launched the world's first computerised booking system. Expansion came rapidly and by 1967 Holiday Inn launched its first hotel in Europe, reaching 1,000 hotels worldwide by 1968. Holiday Inn was also the first international hotel brand to enter China in 1984. Today, there are 63 hotels in Greater China, with an expected 38 more to come.

Pascal Gauvin, chief operating officer, India, Middle East and Africa for IHG commented:"Holiday Inn has had a great 35 years in the region and continues to perform and grow today. It continues to demonstrate its strength as a mid scale brand by providing guests in our markets with great experiences at good value."


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