Holiday Inn Express is a mid-priced hotel chain within the InterContinental Hotels Group family of brands. As an “express” hotel, their focus is on offering limited services and a reasonable price. Standard amenities lean toward the convenient and practical which cater to business travelers and short-term stays. The brand was first launched in the U.S. in 1991, with its first European location in Scotland in 1996, and now there are nearly 2,200 Holiday Inn Express hotels worldwide. In Europe, the hotels were known as Express by Holiday Inn, but this variation was phased out during the Holiday Inn Global Brand Relaunch which was announced in 2007.
The first Holiday Inn Express locations opened in 1991, with three hotels opening in that year; plans at the time called for 250 locations to be open by 1995. The Holiday Inn Express concept was intended to target the “upper economy” market segment, offering limited service, low-price lodging.
Typical Holiday Inn Express hotels are built from corporate architectural prototypes, and tend to consist of 60-80 rooms, with a mix of suites and standard rooms in North America properties. Because the chain has been undergoing tremendous growth, the majority of Holiday Inn Express hotels are brand new or newly renovated.
Most hotels in North America offer a fitness center with various equipment such as treadmills, indoor swimming pools and a hot tub.
Most Holiday Inn Express hotels offer a business center with equipment such as computers, printers, and fax equipment for use by business travelers. Additionally all Holiday Inn Express hotels in the United States offer free local calls and free wireless internet for business travelers who bring their laptop computer.
On-site restaurants and lounges are not present in most U.S. properties, but many international locations offer food and beverage service.
Holiday Inn Express North America locations offer the company’s “Express Start” breakfast bar. The self-service buffet generally consists of common breakfast offerings, including cereal, a hot meat product, a hot egg product, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, bagels and muffins, fruit, yogurt, and the brand’s exclusive cinnamon roll. Beverages consist of milk and juice, along with its own “Smart Roast” coffee. European locations offer a continental breakfast style buffet.
Starting in 1998, Holiday Inn Express started an ad campaign called “Stay Smart” ads that featured ordinary people achieving superior feats, such as averting a nuclear disaster or performing like rock stars. When questioned on whether or not they are professionals, they reply “No, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express,” attributing their skills to their stay there. These ads have received positive reviews, and have been so successful they have crossed over into popular culture, being features in late night comedian jokes and political cartoons.