In 1919, Conrad Hilton opened his first property - the 40-room Mobley Hotel - in Texas. A century later, Hilton Worldwide operates more than 5,200 hotels and is the second largest hotel group in the world. What has happened during these 100 years and what strategic choices have been made to build a hospitality giant?
Over the last 25 years Hospitality ON has borne witness to the evolution of hotel groups. In celebration of this quarter century, we offer a look at their history through the data we have collected.
If we were to summarize the history of Hilton, the quest for innovations to stand out and grow would be among the points to be addressed. Thus in 1927, the Waco Hilton opened and was equipped with an air conditioning system for its common areas. In 1955, the group launched a program to equip all its rooms with air conditioning. Four years later, the airport hotel concept was inaugurated in San Francisco, which would serve as a model for the airport zones as we know them today. Business clientele constitute a segment already known to the group, which is aiming to get closer to women travellers: in 1950, for example, guests received a booklet containing useful telephone numbers upon arrival and in 1965 the group opened the Lady Hilton, a hotel exclusively for women.
In 1964, the group split into two entities: Hilton Hotels Corporation, which would operate in the American market, and Hilton International, which would expand into other countries. The latter was acquired in 1967 by Trans World Corp. and then sold to UAL Corp., two companies operating airlines and asserting the possible links between the travel and accommodation industries. In 1997, the two hotel groups adopted a common marketing strategy, including sharing the same logos.
1999: Hilton Hotels Corporation absorbs Promus
The industry's main operation of the year is the absorption of the giant promoted by Hilton Hotels Corporation. With this $3.1 billion deal, the Beverly Hills-based group is climbing from 13th to 6th place in the hotel group ranking.
Hilton International is sold to Ladbroke Group plc and experiences a year of slow growth in its offer.
2005: The two Hiltons merge
Hilton Hotels Corporation acquires Hilton International for $5.7 billion. The result: the 5th largest group in the world operating more than 2,700 hotels or nearly 480,000 rooms as of January 1, 2016.
Hilton Worldwide is born with a new headquarters moved to Virginia in the eastern United States. The group will continue to rise in the ranking - via international growth - to second place in 2012.
2013: Initial public offering
Hilton Worldwide goes public (December 2013) and raises nearly $2.3 billion in funds. At the same time, Hilton develops its new lobby concepts and reviews its catering offer using new formulas in partnership with independent restaurateurs.
2016: Transformation of the group around three axes
A transformation of the group is underway with the creation of three entities for each of the business lines: hotel real estate, time-share and hotel operations. Hilton Worldwide continues to reduce its debt (-$1 billion over 2015) through the sale of assets, such as the Waldorf Astoria in New York.
At the same time, Hilton benefits from the support of the majority shareholder of the Blackstone group, which buys hotel portfolios and entrusts them to its subsidiary by changing the brands.
2017: Generational brands
Hilton is launching generational brands with the opening of the first Tru by Hilton for young people, Curio in lifestyles and the Tapestry Collection in personalised luxury.
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