The Growth Story of Hilton: Management and Service Innovation
The Hilton hotels corporation was founded in the year 1919 by Conrad N Hilton in Texas. Since then, the world famous hotel brand has seen a lot of growth and expansion. It owns and franchises more than 4700 hotels worldwide. In less than 100 years, the Hilton worldwide brand has come to define hospitality and has raised a portfolio of 13 world class brands. The company’s international arm is known as Conrad hotels which operates hotels across several countries, including Belgium, Australia, Turkey, Hongkong, Singapore and Egypt. The foundation of the brand was laid with a 40 room hotel in Texas.
In most of its history, the hotel brand has been owned and managed by the Hilton family. However, things have changed a lot with time including management, style and even the business structure. Since its foundation, the chief focus of the brand has been on innovative practices in hospitality and giving the guests an unforgettable experience. It is this consistent focus on convenience and hospitality that the brand is ranked among the world’s best hospitality brands. Now, based on its world-wide fame, Hilton would not need an introduction. Whenever, people think of luxury hotels, the name automatically flashes in their mind. Hilton has continued its focus on hospitality, visitor comfort and excellent service quality.
The road to its destination however, has not been absolutely smooth for Hilton. It has been full of several surprises and twists. Just 21 years later than its foundation, the company owned a global chain of premium hotels by the 1940s. However, during the 1960s it sold its international operations so focus could be placed on management contracts and franchising. Most remarkable thing about Hilton is that its growth has been based on innovation. It initiated the practice of joint ventures in hospitality which soon became the industry standard and was followed by other brands. Hilton also made its entry into casino hotels which became a major source of revenue for it later. It entered the gaming business in 1971 and by 1989, it had 44% of its revenue being generated from gaming.
The first ever non-Hilton who became the president of the company was Stephen F Bollenbach. He held excellent credentials and experience. Bolenbach took some bold steps that energized the Hilton brand. With his entry as the CEO came new and important high profile deals. Hilton merged with Bally Corporation to give birth to the world’s largest casino gaming concern. Now, casino gaming was the largest source of revenue for Hilton. The other moves by the new CEO were aimed at expanding the hotel chain. Next came the Promus deal in 1999 that expanded the brand’s portfolio to more than 1800 hotels.
In 2000, efforts to expand the Conrad Hotels unit overseas began. The economic turmoil and terrorist attacks affected the brand to some extent. However, Bollenbach was in no mood to sit and watch. He was doing everything to ensure that the brand remained on the right course and set for future growth. Its franchising business had started in 1965 with the corporate headquarters of the brand at Virginia. Now, Hilton operates 13 world class brands. At several famous destinations throughout the world, the visitors can have quite unforgettable stays at Hilton’s Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts. Conrad is famous for its intuitive style and luxury.
Similarly, Hilton Hotels and Resorts are known for their luxury and style. Other important brands operating under Hilton are the Curio Group and the Double tree. Curio is a chain of hotels in cities around the world where each of the hotels has its own unique heritage and history. Double Tree is known for its warmth and friendliness. Homewood suites as their name suggests give a home like feel to the visitors. The Hilton story is not limited to these brands. There are other ones too with their own unique style and approach to hospitality. All the thirteen brands operate under the Umbrella brand of Hilton. These brands are also known for luxury class services and exquisite food quality. If Hilton has become a name renowned for its luxury and home like stay then there is a near hundred year long story behind it. The best thing is that it does not just cater to the needs of the luxury travelers but also those on business trips.
Today, the brand has spread its wings across 104 countries and territories. Its hotels resorts and timeshare properties together have more than 775,000 rooms. The award winning customer loyalty program named HHonors started by Hilton has more than 55 million members. It has more than 300,000 employees or team members working for Hilton Worldwide. Not just food and service, Hilton is also well known for its unique and innovative approach to management. The brand has also showed exceptional focus on Human Resource management and uses unique tools to manage its people effectively. It uses best in class HR systems like People soft and Success factors for recruitment and retention of the most talented and the finest. The brand also maintains strong relationships with some of the best hotel schools around the world to hire fresh talent. It is also the leader in hospitality industry in terms of electronic applicant tracking as well as internet recruitment. Not just this training is also a key focus area at Hilton. The employees need to be trained well so they can fit into the Hilton culture and offer the visitors the best quality services.
Hilton can be classified as a luxury hotel or as a casino hotel. Mainly it is known for its unmatched luxury and convenience. Its international wing Conrad keeps smart luxury as its main focus. This is also a reason that internationally Hilton is a popular destination for the new generation travelers. There are more surprising and exciting facts to know about Hilton which you can learn from this fact sheet. Conrad has 24 properties across 18 countries and territories at key destinations.
CSR also figures importantly on the management agenda of Hilton. The brand has focused both on reducing its energy consumption as well as on preserving natural resources. It has partnered with World Wildlife Federation (WWF) in areas of water stewardship, sustainable seafood production and reducing food waste. Forbes recognized it as one of the top 50 green brands in the entire world in 2016. There are several areas in which the Hilton brand has continued to live up to its name. Innovation and excellent service are the key mantras it employs but there is more behind the Hilton Story. Excellent management practices have also helped it gain faster than the competing brands. From its humble beginnings in 1991, the brand has come very far to grow into a global brand known for style and unmatched luxury.