|Formerly||Hilton Hotels Corporation (1919–2009)|
S&P 500 component
|Founded||May 31, 1919Cisco, Texas, in |
(as Hilton Hotels Corporation)
Number of locations
|6,478 (Dec. 31, 2020)|
|Revenue||US$4.307 billion (2020)|
|US$−418 million (2020)|
|US$−720 million (2020)|
|Total assets||US$16.755 billion (2020)|
|Total equity||US$−482 million (2019)|
Number of employees
Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., formerly Hilton Hotels Corporation, is an American multinational hospitality company that manages and franchises a broad portfolio of hotels and resorts. Founded by Conrad Hilton in May 1919, the corporation is now led by Christopher J. Nassetta.
Hilton is headquartered in Tysons Corner, Virginia, U.S. As of June 30, 2020, its portfolio includes 6,215 properties (including timeshare properties) with 983,465 rooms in 118 countries and territories, including 690 that are managed and 5,405 that are franchised, with the combined managed and franchised properties having a total of 953,946 rooms, in addition to 65 that are owned or leased including 57 that are wholly owned or leased, one owned by a consolidated non-wholly owned entity, two that are leased by consolidated variable interest entities (VIEs) and five that are owned or leased by unconsolidated affiliates. Prior to their December 2013 IPO, Hilton was ranked as the 36th largest privately held company in the United States by Forbes.
Hilton has 18 brands across different market segments, including Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Canopy by Hilton, Curio - A Collection by Hilton, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton, Embassy Suites Hotels, Hilton Garden Inn, Hampton by Hilton, Homewood Suites by Hilton, Home2 Suites by Hilton, Hilton Grand Vacations, LXR Hotels and Resorts by Hilton, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, Signia by Hilton, Tru by Hilton, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Tempo by Hilton and Motto by Hilton.
On December 12, 2013, Hilton again became a public company, raising an estimated $2.35 billion in its second IPO. At the time, The Blackstone Group held a 45.8 percent stake in the company. In October 2016, China's HNA Group agreed to acquire a 25 percent equity interest in Hilton from Blackstone. The transaction was expected to close in the first quarter of 2017. Hilton's largest stockholders were until mid 2018 HNA Group, Blackstone, and Wellington Management Group, which as of March 2017 owned 25%, 15.2%, and 6.7% of Hilton common stock respectively. Hilton Hotels are now a stand-alone company.
Hilton was founded by Conrad Hilton in Cisco, Texas, in 1919 and had its headquarters in Beverly Hills, California, from 1969 until 2009. In August 2009, the company moved to Tysons Corner, unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, near McLean.
In 1925, the Dallas Hilton became the first hotel to use the Hilton name. In 1927, Hilton expanded to Waco, Texas, where he opened the first hotel with air-conditioning in public areas and cold running water.
In 1943, Hilton purchased the Roosevelt Hotel and the Plaza Hotel, both well-established high-end luxury hotels less than a mile apart in New York City's Midtown Manhattan neighborhood. With this pair of acquisitions Hilton established the first hospitality company to span the contiguous United States. The company incorporated in 1946 as the Hilton Hotels Corporation, and subsequently began public trading of shares on the New York Stock Exchange. In 1947, the Roosevelt Hotel became the first hotel in the world to have televisions in its rooms.
Hilton International was founded a few years later, in 1949, with the opening of the Caribe Hilton Hotel in Puerto Rico. Barman Ramon "Monchito" Marreno claimed he created the piña colada cocktail at this resort. Hilton purchased the Waldorf Astoria New York in the same year.
The Hotels Statler Company was acquired in 1954 for $111 million in what was then the world's most expensive real estate transaction. One year later, Hilton created the world's first central reservations office, titled "HILCRON". The reservations team in 1955 consisted of eight members on staff booking reservations for any of Hilton's then 28 hotels. Reservations agents used the "availability board" to track records. The chalk board measured 30 feet (9.1 m) by 6 feet (1.8 m) and allowed HILCRON to make over 6,000 reservations in 1955. Bookings could be made for any Hilton via telephone, telegram, or Teletype.
In 1965, Hilton launched Lady Hilton, the first hotel concept created specifically for women guests. To appeal to female travelers, a number of properties offered floors occupied by only women along with distinct amenities for their usage.
Hilton Honors (formerly Hilton HHonors), the company's guest loyalty program, was initiated in 1987. In 1994, the Honors surpassed competing hotel loyalty programs by offering members both hotel credit points and airline credit miles.
Two chains with one name
The company spun off its international operations into a separately traded company on December 1, 1964, known as "Hilton International Co." It was acquired in 1967 by Trans World Corp., the holding company for Trans World Airlines. In 1986, it was sold to UAL Corp., the holding company for United Airlines, which became Allegis Corp. in an attempt to re-incarnate itself as a full-service travel company, encompassing Westin Hotels and Hertz rental cars in addition to Hilton International and United Airlines. In 1987, after a corporate putsch, the renamed UAL Corp. sold Hilton International to Ladbroke Group plc, a British leisure and gambling company, which, in May 1999, adopted the name "Hilton Group plc."
As a result, there were two separate, fully independent companies operating hotels under the Hilton name. Those Hilton Hotels outside the U.S. were, until 2006, styled as "Hilton International" hotels. Because the two chains were contractually forbidden to operate hotels in the other's territory under the Hilton name, for many years hotels run by Hilton International in the U.S. were called Vista International Hotels, while hotels operated by the American arm of Hilton outside the U.S. were named Conrad Hotels.
In 1997, to minimize longtime consumer confusion, the American and British Hilton companies adopted a joint marketing agreement under which they shared the same logos, promoted each other's brands and maintained joint reservation systems. At that point, the Vista chain was phased out, while Conrad has been restyled as one of the luxury brands of Hilton (along with the Waldorf-Astoria Collection) and operates hotels within the U.S. as well as abroad.
In 2001, Hilton agreed to sell Red Lion to WestCoast Hospitality.
On December 29, 2005, Hilton Hotels Corporation agreed to re-acquire the Hilton International chain from its British owner, Hilton Group plc, for £3.3 billion ($5.71 billion). As well as bringing the two Hilton companies back together as a single entity, this deal also included Hilton plc properties operating as Conrad Hotels, Scandic Hotels and LivingWell Health Clubs. On February 23, 2006, the deal closed, making Hilton Hotels the world's fifth largest hotel operator in number of rooms. Scandic Hotels was sold the next year on March 1 to EQT Partners.
On July 3, 2007, Hilton Hotels Corp. agreed to an all-cash buyout from the Blackstone Group LP in a $26 billion (including debt) deal that would make Blackstone the world's largest hotel owner. At $47.50 per share, the buyout price was 32 percent higher than the closing value of a share of Hilton stock on July 3. The deal was the culmination of a year of on and off discussions with Blackstone. In October 2007, Christopher J. Nassetta was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Hilton. In February 2009, Hilton Hotels Corp. announced that its headquarters were moving from Beverly Hills, California to Fairfax County, Virginia.
While Blackstone saw an opportunity to streamline the company and push Hilton's expansion overseas when Blackstone pursued Hilton in 2006 and 2007, the buyout saddled the company with $20 billion of debt just as the economy was turning down. The debt had very liberal terms, so there was no danger of default, but when travel slowed, the company suffered. In April 2010, Hilton and Blackstone restructured the debt. Blackstone invested a further $800 million of equity and the debt was reduced to $16 billion.
Hilton returned to being a public company on December 12, 2013. This second IPO in the company's history raised an estimated $2.35 billion. The Blackstone Group retained a 45.8% stake in the company.
In February 2016, Hilton announced its intention to spin off its timeshare and real estate businesses, creating three independent public companies. The spin-offs of Park Hotels & Resorts and Hilton Grand Vacations were completed in January 2017. As of 2018, the company is a fully independent publicly traded company (just like in the pre-buyout days) after the exits of Blackstone and HNA.
Hilton uses various tiers, as seen below, to distinguish its properties.
- Hilton Hotels & Resorts (Flagship Brand of Hilton Worldwide)
- Canopy by Hilton
- Curio Collection by Hilton
- Signia by Hilton
- Embassy Suites by Hilton
- DoubleTree by Hilton
- Tapestry Collection by Hilton
- Tempo by Hilton
- Hilton Garden Inn
- Homewood Suites by Hilton
- Hilton Grand Vacations, independently operated company under Hilton Grand Vacations Inc.
As of June 30, 2020, about 98% of the rooms branded under Hilton were managed or franchised to independent operators and companies. During its 2007–2013 ownership of Hilton, Blackstone Group pursued a strategy of predominantly expanding Hilton's reach through franchise agreements, while relatively few new properties were actually operated by Hilton. Hence, the proportion of franchised rooms grew significantly during this period. The practice of franchising is popular within the hospitality industry among most major hotel chains, as the parent company does not have to pay for the maintenance and overhead costs of franchised properties. Franchisees must follow strict brand standards in order to maintain a licensing agreement with Hilton. Many of Hilton's flagship properties, airport properties, and largest resorts, however, are corporately managed.
Hilton Honors (formerly Hilton HHonors) is Hilton's guest loyalty program, through which frequent guests can accumulate points and airline miles by staying within the Hilton portfolio. The program is one of the largest of its type, with approximately 71 million members. There are four levels of elite status within the Hilton Honors program including Member, Silver, Gold and Diamond.
Hilton renamed the Hilton HHonors program to Hilton Honors in February 2017.
The company has its headquarters in Tysons Corner, Virginia and an operations center in Memphis. Its Asia-Pacific operations are managed out of Singapore, its Middle East and Africa operations are managed out of Dubai, and its European operations are based in Watford, UK.
According to Careerbliss.com, Hilton ranked first in the list of "2012 Happiest Companies in America", with a score of 4.36 out of 5. The survey looked at job reviews from more than 100,000 employees, with such characteristics life as work-life balance, company culture and reputation, and the relationships employees have with their bosses. Hilton has scored 100% on the Corporate Equality Index each year from 2014 to 2017.
In 2019, Fortune ranked Hilton number 1 in their list of "The 100 Best Companies to Work For".
Hilton in popular culture
- Keith Richards and Mick Jagger performed in the East Penthouse on the 45th floor of the New York Hilton on October 28, 1965.
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- John Lennon and Yoko Ono honeymooned in the presidential suite at the Hilton Amsterdam, where they hosted one of their famous "Bed-Ins" for a full week in 1969.
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- On April 3, 1973, Dr. Martin Cooper made the world's first cell phone call in front of the New York Hilton Midtown. A press conference was held at the hotel later that day to mark the milestone.
- In 1976, during a music tour, Ike and Tina Turner were staying at the Statler Hilton (now the Statler Hotel & Residences) in downtown Dallas when Tina decided to leave Ike. Her moments of getting away from Ike and fleeing the hotel were included in her book I, Tina and in the movie What's Love Got to Do with It.
- The Bodyguard with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner was filmed at the Fontainebleau Hilton in Miami in 1992. On February 11, 2012, Houston died in her bathtub in Suite 434 of the Beverly Hilton after a drug overdose. Hotel management has since renovated the room.
- In 1995, the James Bond movie GoldenEye was filmed at the Langham Hilton.
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- In 2006, several movies including Spider-Man 3, Michael Clayton, and American Gangster were filmed at the New York Hilton.
- Conrad Hilton (played by actor Chelcie Ross) features as a major character in the third season of Mad Men, as lead character Don Draper creates a series of ad campaigns for Hilton Hotels. The Drapers travel during one episode to the Cavalieri Hilton in Rome, though the scenes were actually shot at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles.
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