Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport in 1971

Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport looked to its beginnings as the city’s first airport hotel to celebrate its 42nd birthday and the Holiday Inn brand’s 60th anniversary.

The Melbourne Airport team paid homage to a black and white photo taken in 1970, of a flight crew posing outside the then soon-to-open Travelodge Tullamarine.  At the time, the hotel was the only high-rise building in the area; today, it’s gone from being surrounded by paddocks and cattle to becoming part of one of Australia’s busiest international airports.

The two shots now hang side-by-side in the lobby of Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport.  While the trademark green Holiday Inn uniforms are a contrast to the thigh-high airline crew boots of the 1970’s, Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport general manager, Ryan South said his team were enthusiastic about the idea of resetting the shot.

“Holiday Inn’s 60th birthday was a celebration of firsts.  This hotel’s opening in 1970 was a milestone for what has today become a vital part of life in Melbourne and Victoria, and we wanted to pay tribute to that,” Ryan said.

Holiday Inn Melbourne Airport in 2012

“We’re also hoping to carry on that tradition of firsts.  For example, we’re working toward establishing the first rooftop hydroponic garden in the area, with the aim of growing food to use in our hotel restaurant.

Six decades after the first Holiday Inn hotel opened in Memphis Tennessee in the US, there are more than 3375 Holiday Inn brand family hotels around the world.  What began as a roadside inn has become a household name across the globe, and a pioneer of many firsts for the hotel industry – such as being the first to invite children under 12 to stay and eat free whenever staying at Holiday Inn, anywhere in the world.

Other innovations include being the first hotel brand to offer online bookings in 1995, and to introduce computerised reservations in 1965.  Most recently, Holiday Inn completed the biggest relaunch ever undertaken by a travel brand, with the investment of US$1 billion into upgrading more than 3300 hotels worldwide.

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management

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