Nick Smart is Vice President Development - North and West Europe for Hilton. He does an assessment of 2022 and share his strategy for the North and West Europe to keep growing and developing the portfolio.
Can you give an assessment of your portfolio development in 2022?
Globally, Hilton opened nearly a hotel a day in 2022, totalling more than 58,000 rooms, and celebrated the opening of our 7,000th hotel. Throughout 2022, Hilton’s portfolio grew across the European region, introducing new brands to key markets like Greece, Italy, Ireland and more, strengthening the presence of our brands on the continent.
Last year, Hilton opened the first Motto by Hilton outside of the Americas, Motto by Hilton Rotterdam Blaak and, with this opening, there are now 12 Hilton brands trading in Europe. On top of Motto by Hilton in Rotterdam we also opened amazing properties in 2022 such as Le Hameau des Pesquiers Ecolodge & Spa, Curio Collection by Hilton, Se Catedral Hotel Porto, Tapestry Collection by Hilton and The Emerald House Lisbon, Curio Collection by Hilton. These are all also great examples of adaptive re-use projects, from former banks, as with Motto by Hilton Rotterdam Blaak, to historic beachfront hamlets, as with Le Hameau des Pesquiers.
Additionally, while newly developed properties are still strong in Europe, we are seeing a lot of appetite for conversion opportunities, particularly with our DoubleTree by Hilton brand.
What is your action plan for 2023 and what are your objectives?
We will continue to progress our development agenda. Globally, in the first quarter of 2023, Hilton opened 64 new hotels totalling 9,200 rooms. Coming back to Europe, France, Spain and Portugal are particularly strong markets for us this year. In 2023, in France we have opened two hotels so far in Bordeaux and Marseille and plan to open more hotels this year than ever before.
There is still a lot of opportunity for growth in the country; we want to develop our presence in Paris, Lyon, Lille, the Riviera, to name a few locations, and we’ve got the right brands for each location - from midscale, lifestyle to luxury. With exciting properties like Canopy by Hilton Cannes and Sainte-Anne Dijon Curio Collection by Hilton, we’re excited for record growth in France.
In the Iberian Peninsula, we’ve opened properties in Porto and Barcelona so far this year, both under our Tapestry Collection by Hilton brand. Tapestry, along with our other Lifestyle and Collection brands, have really strong momentum in these countries and more generally in Europe.
What do you see as the strengths of the group and its brands to continue to develop its portfolio?
We have a strong collection of 19 brands worldwide and an award-winning guest loyalty programme, Hilton Honors, which boasts almost 160 million members. Hilton is one of the most recognised brands globally and this drives performances for our owners, who in turn are excited to do more deals with us.
Despite various economic headwinds, we are confident with the future of travel and with the growth of our portfolio. Pent up demand means that people are excited to travel and meet with their colleagues, friends, family, discover new place and have great experience in our hotels.