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1984 Holiday Inns Inc.

 

 

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Stock Code VM-HOL01

  9.5% first mortgage bond for $1,000, issued 1984, due 1995,  in this famous American hotels chain. Nice vignette at top of certificate, ornate red border. Issued to Cray & Co. Printed signatures of the President and Wayne C Marsh, Company Secretary.

Certificate size is 20.5 cm high x 31 cm wide (8" x 12").

About This Company

Framed Certificate Price : 135.00

Certificate Only Price : 95.00

 

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  Price 135.00


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  Price 95.00


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About This Company

Annoyed by the inflexible pricing at America's motels, Kemmons Wilson lodged his business at the intersection where the baby boom met the open road. And to help that name stand out on the highway, Wilson used what became known as the Great Sign: a 50-foot orange-and-green monolith whose design owed as much to movie marquees as it did to previous motel signage. As Holiday Inns spread across the travel landscape, the Great Sign became as much of an icon as the Golden Arches. Interestingly, one thing the Great Sign lacked was the vacancy/no vacancy indicator used by most motels. Wilson saw this as addition by subtraction. As he explained, "If someone wants a room, I want him to come in. If we're sold out, we'll help him find the best available room somewhere else. That way, we make two friends."

By 1965, Wilson automated this Miracle on 34th Street philosophy with the Holidex reservation system, at the time the largest civilian computer network in the world. Anchored by a pair of IBM mainframes in Memphis, with connection lines running to every Holiday Inns outlet, it allowed desk clerks to access the entire chain, which in turn let customers at one Holiday Inn book rooms anywhere else in the system. "Because of Wilson and Holiday Inns' success with technology, Memphis was attractive to other topnotch businesses that depended on that type of technological infrastructure. FedEx occupies the old Holiday Inns Communications Building," says Clifford Stockton of the Memphis Regional Chamber. "Companies like these wanted to tap into what Holiday Inns had already set out."

Wilson also revolutionized the motel-supply business, creating subsidiary companies that proved so successful they became the standard in the industry. Holiday Containers provided corrugated packaging, Holiday Industries made the furniture, Holiday Press handled all the printing, and so forth. These companies moved the chain toward vertical integration and created additional revenue by serving outside clients. In fact, by 1972, 40% of their customers were franchisees of competing hotel chains like Ramada Inn and Sheraton.

In the late 1960s, Wilson's insatiable enthusiasm for land and building led him to expand internationally. "Looking for land is like going on an Easter egg hunt, and sometimes you find the golden egg," he told Time magazine in 1972, which found him tirelessly tramping through Brazil in search of motel locations while a reporter 30 years his junior struggled to keep up. At that time, "The World's Innkeeper," as the company called itself, opened a new motel every three days on average, and the chain had a total of 209,000 rooms, more than three times the number of its closest competitor, Ramada.

Not everyone approved of Wilson's revolution. Critics pointed to Holiday Inns as a key culprit in the cookie-cutter homogenization of American culture, so devoted to its brand formula that it stifled individuality. A 1971 New York Times article, decrying the "garish commercial strips" sprouting across the nation, had one family vacationer resignedly sighing, "We went the cardboard route" when discussing his Holiday Inns bookings. When viewed in this context, the chain's mid-1970s ad slogan, "The best surprise is no surprise," cuts both ways. Ultimately, though, such cavils really just amount to criticizing Holiday Inns for being too successful.

The 1970s were not as kind to Holiday Inns, nor especially to Kemmons Wilson. The recession and the oil crisis early in the decade were a nasty one-two punch for the travel business, and so many competitors had imitated Wilson's formula that the market was oversaturated. As Holiday Inns brought in professional managers to address these problems, his entrepreneurial style made him feel out of place. "Everything was run by committees," Kemmons grumbled. "I always made up my mind, and we went." Compounding matters, Wilson, whose personal stake in Holiday Inns in 1972 was worth $56 million, lost much of his fortune propping up a real estate development company, Alodex, until its eventual shuttering in 1976. He retired as Holiday Inns' CEO that same year. He resigned as company chairman in 1979 when he opposed management's acquisition of the Perkins Cake & Steak restaurant chain. From his hospital bed, while recovering from heart bypass surgery, Wilson called board members to encourage them to vote no, but they approved it anyway. "When the vote ended up being for it, he figured it was time to move on," says Spence. When Wilson turned in his keys, at age 66, his stake in the business was worth $7.3 million. (Wilson, by the way, turned out to be right: Despite a makeover and a plan to pair Perkins restaurants with Hampton Inns, the fit was never quite right, and Holiday Inns sold most of its stake in Perkins in 1985.)

Holiday Inns were never the same after he left. The brand lost a bit of its character in 1982 when the board of directors retired the Great Sign (a move Wilson once described as the "worst mistake they ever made"). In 1990 the London-based Bass Hotels & Resorts--now Six Continents Hotels--acquired Holiday Inns for $2.2 billion. Although Six Continents is a $5.7 billion business today, Holiday Inns is no longer the world's largest hostelry brand (that's Marriott). And Holiday Inns' image has changed somewhat over the years as it now caters more to business travelers than to family vacationers.

After leaving Holiday Inns, Kemmons Wilson maintained elder-statesman status in the lodging biz while at the same time remaining an entrepreneur. The Kemmons Wilson Cos., run by his three sons today, focus mostly on real estate, including Wilson Inns (which offer free popcorn for guests). And last year the Kemmons Wilson School of Hospitality and Resort Management opened at the University of Memphis, featuring a fully functioning hotel so that students can learn by doing just the way Kemmons himself did. "I always think of Dad as being very, very curious," says Spence Wilson. "He always started a new venture because he thought there was a better way to do something. Then once he started, he would never take no for an answer."

source: www.fortune.com

 

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