Holiday Inn Gets $1 Billion Makeover

In the midst of the recession, Intercontinental Hotels doled out $1 billion to make over its Holiday Inn properties in the largest relaunch in the history of the hospitality industry.

While it seems counterintuitive to invest so much money in such volatile economic times, Intercontinental Hotels USA President Jim Abrahamson said there couldn't be a better time.

"What customers are doing today is not just trading about price, obviously, it's about value," Abrahamson said. "Customers aren't giving up quality as a tradedown."

As part of the relaunch, Intercontinental retrained Holiday Inn employees at all 3,400 hotels across the country, upgraded its bedding and added a higher-quality sound system, Abrahamson said.

Abrahamson said the leisure customer remained strong through the summer, and the company's focus will shift to business travelers in the fall.

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