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A ‘lodging legend’ speaks up

WS talks to Holiday Inn founder Kemmons Wilson

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in Human Resources,Leaders & Managers,Workplace Communication

Kemmons Wilson, 86, still goes to his Memphis office every day. The founder of Holiday Inn now buys lodging properties and oversees his own hotels, time-shares and other businesses.

We spoke with Wilson about his colorful career, work ethic and ability to motivate employees:

WS: You had the idea for Holiday Inn in 1951. How did you make that vision real?

I don’t know if I’d say I had a vision. To me, vision is a fancy word for common sense. In 1951, most motels weren’t that nice. And they charged an extra $2 per child. That made my Scottish blood boil. Common sense told me there had to be a better way to house families economically when they traveled.

WS: As your company grew, how did you hire the right people?

Most people I’ve hired came to me for advice. That’s how we met. They didn’t respond to an ad for a job. They just wanted to talk and share ideas and hear what I had to say. That’s why I advise anyone ...(register to read more)

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