After reading Mr. Wilsons background below it made my wife and I laugh when the blogger states “from biographer David Halberstam states: Wilson "vows to his wife, 'I'm going to go in business and build a chain of 400 hotels.' She says, 'You're just crazy.' He does it." My wife always says to me you are crazy for wanting to own a Superior Small Lodging. She is in the hospitality business and likes the security for working for an owner. I do not see Oigidecht with 400 Superior Small Lodging ever but our business plan does max out at 4 or 5. I think the down fall was Mr. Wilson grow too fast to quickly and he lost the pulse on his brand. He stated the reason he decide to get into the Superior Small Lodging business was “Mr. Wilson sates; In 1952 and a roadtrip gone bad. Driving to Washington D.C. on a family vacation, Wilson grew frustrated at the lack of quality he found in roadside motels.” Well, we know by the mid to late 80’s Holiday Inn was failing and most of his guests where “frustrated at the lack of quality they found at Holiday Inn’s throughout the chain” this in turn opened the door for Marriott and Hilton brands to become popular mid 80’s through today. Honestly when you get that big you cannot keep quality and it shows in all hotel brands today.
As a kid growing up in the 70’s and 80’s my family and I would on occasions stay at a Holiday Inn or Howard Johnsons. To us this was the Ritz Carlton because I had never heard of Ritz Carlton until I went to hotel school. The Holiday Inn had the coolest video games/ arcade and had the best pools. As a kid that was all I needed to have the best time in the world with my family. When I consult for Superior Small Lodging I always walk in and say this is the coolest place. Many owners and managers think I am being sarcastic but if you look at a Superior Small Lodging and see what I see from my childhood they would understand. Just like Mr. Wilson saw potential in Motor Lodge, motels, and hotels in the 50’s I see potential in Florida Superior Small Lodging industry today. If we get back to the basics of hospitality and renovate these hotels with what a guest wants for amenities today you have a winning combination. What banks and some owners do not see is YOU hotel/ motel has potential but you need to open your mind. The kids of today have not changed from the kids of the 80’s and the family of today is not that far from the family of the 80’s. Your Superior Small Lodging is relevant to today’s traveler you just need to invest in your future. That is where Wilson of Holiday Inn failed in my option. He never asked for forced his franchise to hold a CapEx fund and after 10 or 15 years of no renovations well quality of the hotels fell apart and so did his guests perception and trust in the brand.
I have worked and work for some of the biggest chain branded hotels out there. They all want the same thing to be the biggest, to have the best return on investment for their owners and somewhere about the 3rd or 4th mission statement bullet point they through in “employees”. These large hotels do not care about the employee but offer such great benefits that when a Superior Small Lodging offers the same job to an employee looking to be hired by both the chain hotel and the Superior Small Lodging the employee choses the branded hotel. That is sad because honestly the Superior Small Lodging will teach them more and care about them more than a branded/ chain hotel if the Superior Small Lodging is run correctly. When managing Postcard Inn and La Siesta in the FL. Keys many of the employees got to experience the resorts go from rags to riches. The resort went from a day time state park atmosphere to a mid-scale resort guest. Those employee’s I still stay in touch with today and they say they take the greatest pride from that experience and many are trying to find that same sense of accomplishment again.
Oigidecht’s business plan is to bring this back the Motor Lodge to Florida for starters. Here is a link from the same site at the blog from San Jose State University http://www.sjsu.edu/faculty/wooda/motel/florida/index.html and has some great pictures of some of the coolest Motels, Hotels and Motor Lodges only in Florida. So many of today’s millennials want a cool hip place that is not cookie cutter but has modern amenities. Old South Beach Hotel owners have done an awesome job knowing if you renovate this dilapidated hotel/ motel and put modern amenities into an old hotel and market it as a cool place to hang out it equals dollar signs. If you want your Superior Small Lodging to be around for years to come and not end up like Mr. Wilson’s brand give us a call and we can take a look at your Superior Small Lodging for a free consolation.
About Kemmons Wilson: Holiday Inn began as the vision of Kemmons Wilson (1913-2003) in 1952 and a roadtrip gone bad. Driving to Washington D.C. on a family vacation, Wilson grew frustrated at the lack of quality he found in roadside motels. Dingy courts and dusty motor hotels may have been satisfactory when Americans first set out on the road but Wilson was sure that the interstate-age would call for new kinds of amenities: air conditioning, restaurants, in-room telephones, and - most of all - standardization. Within a year, Wilson commissioned blueprints from his hand-drawn diagrams. The designer, Eddie Bluestein, wrote "Holiday Inn" across the bottom of the plans after seeing a Bing Crosby film. The name stuck. The first Inn, built on Summer Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee, was so successful that Wilson followed up with identical ones on three other roads leading into Memphis.
Recalling an interview with Wilson for his book The Fifties, David Halberstam states: Wilson "vows to his wife, 'I'm going to go in business and build a chain of 400 hotels.' She says, 'You're just crazy.' He does it." Part of Wilson's success may be attributed to his work ethic. He was known for his advice: "Only work half a day. It doesn't matter which half you work -- the first 12 hours or the second 12 hours." By 1972, Wilson was featured on the cover of Time Magazine - his company by that point franchised 1,405 inns in the United States and around the world. The cover story, dated June 12, 1972, describes Wilson's love of travel that inspired his hands-on involvement in the development of Holiday Inn: "For that kind of man, no job in the world could offer more: a chance to chase daylight round the world, clambering over hills, slogging through rain forests, stalking through prairie grass in a never-ending hunt for the perfect motel site" (p. 77+).
By the 1970s, Wilson's 300,000 beds outdistanced his nearest competitor in the same market more than three-fold. Companies like Quality Inn, Howard Johnsons, and Ramada Inn found that keeping up with Holiday Inn required matching the company step by step. The results are apparent even today with each room in every motel looking pretty much the same as any other room.
All the best,
Oigidecht Hotels and Resorts
Below are some of the great road side motor lodgings of the day. Let's big back the simpler times and true Americana!