Christopher Nassetta Hilton

In its first full year after completing one of the most successful initial public offerings in history, Hilton Worldwide has announced it enters 2015 “as the unmatched global hospitality leader” by continuing to be number one in rooms in supply, in rooms under construction and in development pipeline.

Hilton Worldwide also continues to lead the industry in net unit growth excluding portfolio acquisitions, with the addition of more than 36,000 rooms in 28 countries and territories in 2014 net of removals. This represents 6% growth of overall managed and franchised supply.

“Our goal is to serve our guests anywhere in the world, for any lodging need they have,” said Christopher J. Nassetta, president and CEO, Hilton Worldwide.

“Our success is reflected in our unprecedented growth and development of new hotels in all areas of the world, as well as launching category-defining brands that owners and guests prefer, driving cutting-edge digital innovation and advancing our extensive corporate responsibility commitments.”

Hilton Worldwide has 12 distinct brands at 4,300 properties that, as a portfolio, drive an industry-leading global RevPAR index premium of 15%. They comprise more than 715,000 rooms – more than any other hospitality company – and serve more than 139 million guests annually.

In 2014, Hilton Worldwide entered Myanmar, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, expanding the company’s reach to 94 countries and territories around the world.

Hilton Worldwide’s number of rooms under construction globally makes up 18.7% of the industry’s total rooms under construction, which is more than four times the company’s current share of open rooms.

The company’s pipeline increased by 35,000 guest rooms in 2014 and includes more than 1,350 hotels and nearly 230,000 rooms in 79 countries and territories.

More than half of the rooms in this pipeline are already under construction, and all are in the company’s capital-light management and franchise segment. Including all agvreements approved but not yet signed, Hilton Worldwide’s pipeline totals approximately 245,000 guest rooms, outpacing all other hospitality companies.

Around the world in 2014, Hilton Worldwide:
-Approved more than 500 deals representing more than 80,000 rooms with no portfolio acquisitions or major investments;
-Approved more than one deal per day in the Americas;
-Increased its U.S. pipeline by nearly 30% to nearly 100,000 total rooms, and opened its 100th hotel in Canada;
-Grew its pipeline in Asia Pacific by more than 15% to more than 60,000 rooms total, and signed an exclusive agreement with Plateno Hotels Group to develop more than 400 Hampton by Hilton hotels in China;
-Expanded its pipeline in the Middle East and Africa by more than 20% to nearly 25,000 total rooms; and
-Continued to build its pipeline in Europe with more rooms than any other company at nearly 30,000 rooms.

In addition to growing its established brands around the world, Hilton Worldwide introduced two new hotel brands, which are both planned to scale to hundreds of hotels in the next five years.

Curio – A Collection by Hilton was unveiled in June 2014 in “response to strong interest from customers and owners”, according to the company. It is a brand that includes hotels that retain their unique identity but also deliver the many benefits of Hilton’s system. Curio already has five hotels open with 15 letters of intent signed.

Canopy by Hilton debuted in October 2014 and is redefining the lifestyle segment by creating a more accessible lifestyle brand in terms of its upper upscale price point, distinct amenities and comfortable design in some of the most desirable neighbourhoods around the globe. Canopy represents a new hotel concept with high growth potential, a clearly defined guest offering, and a sustainable business model. Canopy has 11 letters of intent signed, and the brand’s first hotel is on track to open in late 2015.

Hilton Worldwide continues to pioneer innovation in hospitality with the introduction of digital solutions designed to give guests greater choice and control over their stay.

The company’s digital check-in with room selection technology is now available at more than 4,100 hotels worldwide. This was an industry-first deployed at an unprecedented scale. Guests are able to check in and select their exact room from digital floor plans and room lists on their desktop or mobile devices.

Additionally, in late spring of 2015, Hilton HHonors will begin to roll out the ability for members staying at U.S. properties across the Hilton Hotels and Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts, Conrad Hotels and Resorts and Canopy by Hilton brands to simply and securely use their mobile devices as room keys to access their rooms, with the entire global portfolio of brands following soon thereafter.

Hilton Worldwide’s portfolio of brands has received more J.D. Power Awards than any other hospitality company, with 34 first place awards since 1999, more than double its closest competitor. The company continued to gain recognition for providing outstanding hospitality in 2014, with Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites both receiving first place awards in their respective categories.

Hilton Worldwide’s brands achieved extensive accomplishments and milestones throughout 2014, including:
-Hilton HHonors surpassed 44 million members, who continue to account for more than half of all system room nights;
-Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts broke ground on a new property in Beverly Hills and introduced its iconic luxury service to Amsterdam, adding to its portfolio of 26 hotels around the world;
-Conrad Hotels and Resorts welcomed guests to the Conrad London St. James, adding to its portfolio of 24 hotels. The brand also enhanced its award-winning Conrad Concierge mobile app with the new and intuitive Conrad Meetings, giving meeting and event planners the ability to research hotel capabilities across all Conrad properties from their mobile devices;
-Hilton Hotels and Resorts celebrated its 50th property opening in China, entered Myanmar by opening two hotels within three months and expanded its presence in Makkah in Saudi Arabia;
-Doubletree by Hilton opened its 400th property, celebrated its 350 millionth cookie milestone of its signature chocolate chip cookie and opened its 10th hotel in London;
-Embassy Suites Hotels celebrated its 30th anniversary and approved almost 20 new properties, a first for the all-suites leader. The brand also debuted a new hotel in Santo Domingo, its first property in the Dominican Republic;
-Hilton Garden Inn expanded into China with the opening of its first hotel in Shenzhen, followed by an additional opening in Lijiang City. In addition, the brand is taking an innovative design approach for upcoming projects in Africa with the introduction of a new modular hotel build solution;
-Hampton by Hilton was named number one on Entrepreneur magazine’s 36thannual Franchise 500 list for the fourth time in five years, achieved the milestone of 2,000 hotels worldwide, established a presence in all 50 states in the U.S. with the signing of a deal to build a hotel in Oahu, Hawaii and opened nearly 10,000 rooms globally;
-Homewood Suites by Hilton opened its 350th hotel and welcomed guests at its first hotel in Manhattan;
-Home2 Suites approved nearly 100 new projects, grew its pipeline by 67% and opened its second international location in Canada. Home2 Suites now has 210 hotels and 21,697 rooms opened or in the pipeline; and
-Hilton Grand Vacations broke ground on a new 418-unit vacation ownership tower at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort, slated for completion in 2017. More than 80% of HGV’s six years of interval inventory represents capital-light, fee-for-service agreements.

Hilton Worldwide approaches growth opportunities in a responsible and sustainable way as part of its corporate responsibility program, Travel with Purpose. In 2014, the company achieved ISO 50001 certification for energy management across its entire portfolio of hotels, banned the use of sharkfin globally and committed to impacting the lives of one million young people by 2019.

Additional initiatives in 2014 which strengthened the communities where Hilton Worldwide and its Team Members live, work and travel include:
-Global Week of Service: The company’s Global Week of Service united Team Members and franchise partners in 86 countries who joined together to participate in more than 3,500 projects designed to address social, economic and environmental needs;
-Global Youth Wellbeing Index: Partnering with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the International Youth Foundation, Hilton Worldwide introduced an impactful new tool, The Global Youth Wellbeing Index, which examines the quality of life for youth in 30 countries. This first-of-its-kind Index meets the need for better youth-related data to assess how young people are faring around the world; and
-Operation: Opportunity: Hilton Worldwide advanced Operation: Opportunity, its initiative to hire 10,000 veterans, military spouses and dependents by 2018. More than 3,300 veterans across the United States have joined the company at all job levels since the program launched in 2013.

Number one in rooms in supply, in rooms under construction and in development pipeline source: Smith Travel Research

James Wilkinson

Editor-In-Chief, Hotel Management