Travel Trends 2003: We Will Miss Kemmons Wilson | My Family Travels

Feb. 2003: The inventor of "kids stay free" and other family travel concepts at the very first Holiday Inn has passed away.

FTF recently learned that Kemmons Wilson, founder of the Holiday Inn hotel chain (now part of InterContinental Hotels Group), died February 12, 2003 in Memphis, Tennessee at age 90.

It was there in Memphis, 50 years ago, that Mr. Wilson opened the first Holiday Inn. According to hotel industry mythology, after a difficult road trip with his children the summer before and deep dissatisfaction with the accommodations that were available to traveling families, Mr. Kemmons decided to open a hotel that would be the first to offer the public a "Kids Stay Free" policy, in-room phone and TV and free ice.

As travelers who take all of these perks for granted, we owe him our gratitude and remembrance.

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