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Exclusive: Hilton’s Fry on how affluent millennials are fuelling luxury hotels

Millennials are splashing out on luxury experiences during their travels, research shows.

Against the backdrop of Asia Pacific’s dynamic growth, the region’s travellers of tomorrow – young, discerning, and adventurous – continue fuelling the luxury momentum, writes Matt Fry, Senior Vice President of Development, Asia-Pacific at Hilton.

Affluent millennials travel abroad for leisure an average of three times a year, and they are willing to spend more on one-of-a-kind, exclusive encounters or in-depth discoveries.

Increasingly, luxury travel is seen as an integral part of the next generation’s aspirational lifestyle. Across Asia Pacific, luxury hospitality tends to be part of mixed-use projects, including high-end retail and residential living. The synergies benefit all components because the mixed-use development offers a more holistic view of luxury consumers’ expectations today.

South East Asia’s first Waldorf Astoria in Bangkok, for instance, is situated within the 60-storey Magnolias Ratchadamri Boulevard in the heart of Bangkok’s prestigious shopping district. The legacy of Waldorf Astoria elevates the development’s proposition by combining world-class design by André Fu and New York-based AvroKo with outstanding culinary establishments.

Matt Fry, Hilton

As a pioneer in opening doors for international travel, Hilton was among the first in the industry to foresee the global growth of luxury travel. Today, our luxury development team works closely with ownership groups to identify markets and tailor the respective brands’ presence.

This helps us grow our portfolio through a finely curated pipeline that is diverse in terms of destinations and market types. We currently have 15 luxury properties in the pipeline across Asia Pacific, and we plan to add three to four more each year.

Owners recognize the weight that award-winning luxury brands like Waldorf Astoria and Conrad carry, so they want and expect to enter into management agreements that leverage our expertise. We will also explore opportunities to franchise LXR, our luxury collection brand, though only to existing hotels with a proven track record of delivering a high-quality luxury experience.

Going forward, we will continue to grow our luxury portfolio selectively and carefully to ensure that each addition is as good as, if not better than the last.

We want to ensure that we bring the right luxury brands to the right locations, particularly prime locations in key urban cities and resort locations, where the right level of demand and price expectations help to drive the success of luxury hotels.

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