Why Hilton Worldwide Australasia is surging ahead in 2010.

Hilton's Ashley Spencer

This year, 2010, has been an exciting one for Hilton Worldwide with the company going from strength to strength in Australasia, especially for its market leading brand Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

Highlights so far include the launch of a meetings and events carbon offset program, the impending opening of a flagship hotel in Surfers Paradise, a recent name change from Hilton Hotels to Hilton Hotels & Resorts, to better reflect the nature of the company’s global portfolio, and once again being chosen as the ‘Number One Hotel Brand’ in Australia, based on the prestigious Asia Pacific Business Hotel Guest Survey.

Conducted by the esteemed UK consultancy group BDRC Continental, the annual survey is based on a brand ranking index that takes into account a hotel’s scores for prompted and unprompted awareness, usage of a brand in the last 12 months, preferred hotel choice, loyalty ratio and intention to recommend the hotel to others.  Based on these combined scores, Hilton was ranked the ‘Number One Hotel Brand’ in Australia for 2010, a title Hilton has held since 2005.

“We are absolutely delighted to be recognised once again by the prestigious BDRC Guest Survey as the ‘Number One Hotel Brand’ in Australia,” said Hilton Worldwide Vice President Operations – Australasia, Ashley Spencer.

“This is now the sixth year in a row that we have retained this honour, which reflects the dedication and commitment of Hilton’s team members to exceeding the expectations of our guests,” he said.

Hilton Surfers Paradise

Late 2010 will see the opening of Stage One of the landmark new Hilton Surfers Paradise.  This will be the latest Hilton to open in Australasia after successful launches of Hilton Melbourne South Wharf and Hilton Lake Taupo in 2009. The project will feature a dedicated Hilton hotel as well as residential apartments.

Hilton Surfers Paradise

Brookfield Multiplex is expected to complete construction on the first stage, the Boulevard Tower (featuring 186 residential apartments), in December 2010.  Stage Two, the Orchid Tower, which will include 224 apartments and a dedicated 169 room Hilton hotel, is due for completion in the second half of 2011.  Hilton will begin taking its first bookings for the Hilton Surfers Paradise from October 2010.

“The Hilton Surfers Paradise will be a landmark hotel for the company in Australia,” Spencer said. “We believe it will be as iconic a property for the brand as Hilton Sydney.

The hotel and residences will be state-of-the-art with the highest quality finishes along with the usual impeccable service standards for which Hilton is renowned.  It will be a striking new addition to the Hilton portfolio.”

Residents of Hilton Surfers Paradise apartments will have the option to utilise, on a user-pays basis, exclusive hotel services such as concierge, valet parking, in room dining and housekeeping services.

Facilities available at the purpose-built Hilton Surfers Paradise when it opens in the second half of 2011 will include a luxury day spa, a signature restaurant, an executive lounge, a state of the art fitness centre and swimming pool.

Purchasers of residential apartments in both towers have the option of placing them under the management of Hilton hotels. It has been estimated that when complete, the project will inject AUD$2.2 billion into the Gold Coast economy over a period of 22 years.

Innovative Environmental Initiatives

“Hilton Worldwide has always been a market-driven and innovative company responding quickly to changes in the market and customer demands,” Spencer said.

One of those changes is the increasing implementation of environmentally sustainable practices within the hospitality industry.  Recently Hilton Hotels & Resorts in Australasia began offsetting the carbon emissions generated from every meeting and event held in every hotel in the region at no additional cost to customers.

In a market-leading initiative, Hilton’s new carbon-offset program offsets carbon emissions generated from the meeting rooms themselves, as well as all the food that meeting and conference delegates consume during their event.

“Meeting and conference organisers both in Australia and globally are increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of their events and conferences,” he said.

“Conference and event organisers can now feel confident that they are making a sustainable choice when they hold their next conference or event at one of Hilton’s hotels in Australasia.

“We are absorbing the cost of the carbon offset programme, so there will be no increased cost to meeting or conference organisers,” Spencer said.

Hilton has chosen Climate Friendly as its carbon offset provider for the initiative.  Carbon offsets purchased on Hilton’s behalf through Climate Friendly will contribute to a 150MW renewable energy wind farm in India.

Leading Human Resource Management Programs

A critical factor in the company’s success is its approach to its most important asset – its people. The company continues to be a hospitality leader in innovative human resource management programs.

“One of the things that give our hotels a competitive advantage is the quality and motivation of our team members,” Spencer said. “We invest a great deal of money in industry-leading human resources programs which help us attract and retain the best people in the industry.”

Hilton’s global talent strategy is to deliver a strong leadership pipeline and to develop organisational capabilities and highly skilled and motivated team members who can assist in growing the business.

This is especially important given the speed with which the company is opening up new hotels and resorts globally.  Hilton’s unique ‘Esprit’ program allows employees to continuously evolve and develop their skills through a system of rewards for service excellence. The program leads to higher levels of employee satisfaction which translates to higher standards of guest service.

Online learning is available to all staff through Hilton University, the company’s award winning e-learning facility that offers a wide range of learning options, from management skills to personal development courses, to Hilton-specific training in systems, processes and products.

Hilton also has partnerships with eCornell (owned by the prestigious Cornell University) for senior leadership development, as well as The Hague Hotel School offering online courses for team members in Food and Beverage, Housekeeping and Front Office.

Hilton emphasises coaching and mentoring, project assignments and rotations or cross training.  High performing team members are identified and encouraged through leadership and management training programs and the development of career paths. As well as being offered opportunities to further develop their skills at Hilton Worldwide properties in overseas markets.

With strong brand recognition, a robust regional development pipeline and award-winning human resource management programs generating skilled and motivated staff to serve the company’s expansion, Hilton Worldwide in Australasia is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities presented now and in the future.