In 1951, residential developer Kemmons Wilson returned to Memphis, Tennessee disillusioned by motels encountered on a family road trip to Washington, D. C. In each city, rooms varied from well-kept to filthy, few had a swimming pool, no on-site restaurant meant a few miles driving to buy dinner, and (while the room itself was $8 to $10) motor courts charged $2 extra per child, substantially increasing costs of a family vacation. He would build his own motel at 4941 Summer Avenue (U. S. 70) on the main highway (U. S. 70) from Memphis to Nashville, adopting a name from a 1942 musical film Holiday Inn about a fictional lodge only open on public holidays. Every new Holiday Inn would have TV, air conditioning, a restaurant, and a pool; all would meet a long list of standards in order to have a guest in Memphis to have the same experience as someone in Daytona Beach, Florida or Akron, Ohio. Originally a motel chain, Holiday Inn was first to deploy an IBM-designed national room reservations system in 1965 and opened its 1000th location by 1968.
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